Society & Lifestyle
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Our Sick Health Care System
|by Prof. Shubha Tiwari|
Continued from "The Idiocy of The Big, Fat Indian Wedding"
The importance of the show is that it is highlighting issues worth our attention. It’s an everyday, common utterance or may be, it is already a proverb in my part of the world, ‘Vaakeel aur doctor se bhagwan bachaye’ (God Save us from the lawyer and the doctor). The ‘chakkar’ (rounds) to these two start but never end. Such is the collective wisdom that people usually share with each other. But it is not a practical advice. Going to the doctor is often not in our hands. People do get sick. When all the treasure of thousands of years of healing in the form of ginger, turmeric, fig, neem etc fail us, there’s only one way to go. The presence of a doctor is inevitable in our lives. And what do doctors do? They scare us. They cheat us. They present an aggravated version of our problem and force us to get operated. In the process, they make big bucks; unethical, immoral bucks.
Venkatesh lost the fingers of his foot for undergoing an unnecessary operation. He of course lost money as well. For him, the lesson has come at a heavy price. Arwind was about to undergo a tragedy when a second opinion saved him from a ‘not required’ appendicitis operation. The women of one complete village of Andhra Pradesh have their uterus removed because the doctors told them if they live with their uterus, they’d die.
The greed is rampant. About 50% commission (bribery) for pathological testing, doctor to doctor reference and then for medicine prescription - the final package of treatment comes at least twenty five times higher to the patient. Instead of hundred, we’re forced to pay two thousand and fifty. And we don’t even realize it. We do it with gratitude. Dr. Amol from London left India after witnessing the dire scene.
The case of the former chief of MCI, Ketan Desai was already in public domain. All of us know how he and his gang looted the nation. For, college affiliation, money flows like water. When inspections are held, patients and doctors are hired on rent. The MCI never cancelled any doctor’s license permanently whereas in England, every year about fifty doctors lose their licenses because of ill practices. Aamir also talked about ‘basin’ pathological tests where the doctor tells the pathologist to throw the patient’s blood in wash basin and give the report as ‘normal’.
We are encouraging private colleges and hospitals by ruining the government system. Dr. C.M. Gulati said that health care is not a priority in our country. I, with my two and half decades of university teaching often say that education is not a priority in this country. Listening to a doctor saying the same thing for health-care was a bit strange. What are our priorities, by the way?
Many noble doctors came on the show. Dr. Anil Pichad, an honest pathologist from Mumbai; the very famous, Dr. Devi Shetty, the cardiologist from Bangalore; and Dr. Samit Sharma, the generic medicine crusader from Chittod, Rajasthan shared their positive effort. In fact, generic medicines can solve our problems to a huge extent.
It will look utopian to believe that doctors will change with an appeal. But we can’t stop appealing to their conscience. At the same time other disciplinary, legal and social measures will go a long way in improving the situation. We just cannot stop trying.
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05/29/2012 14:32 PM
05/28/2012 10:10 AM
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