A BITTER PILL

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Dec 2017 10:58:20

CANCELLATION of the licence of Max Hospital in Delhi for declaring one of the twin babies dead even though it was alive, is a tough message to the swanky hospitals across the country that are indulging in crass commercialisation under the garb of providing world-class medical services to the people. With an increased awareness about personal healthcare among the masses and an increase in purchasing power of the people, who are ready to shell extra money to get better facilities, swanky hospitals have started sprouting at every nook and corner of the country. These hospitals have massive budget, at times running into several thousand crores of rupees. Their entire scale of operations is mind-boggling. Doctors employed in these hospitals have hefty pay package besides other perks, which are invariably linked with a target set for them to earn a specific revenue for the hospital. And this is the root cause of the ills that are being committed at most of the hospitals.

Though the goof up by the doctors the Max Hospital attracted wide attention of the nation, forcing the authorities to come down heavily on it, it was not an isolated incident. Such wrongs continue to happen with uncanny regularity in several big hospitals in almost all the cities. However, they are often suppressed by the hospital authorities using money power and pulling strings at right places. The ultimate sufferers are hapless patients and their family members, who fall easy prey to the machination of the hospital staff.

Once a patient enters the portals of a hospital, it’s like a money bank walking-in for many. Advising costly medical tests that are not at all necessary, has become another way of fleecing gullible patients. Thousands of rupees are spent on tests ‘only to remove some suspicion in the mind of the doctor.’ And one does not have to run around for the tests as hospitals have everything available under one roof! The medicines prescribed are also available only at the shops set up in hospital premises and not anywhere else. All these and many more malpractices have brought a bad name to one of the most noble professions in the world.

It is ironical that hospitals, that are supposed to cure patients of all ills, are themselves afflicted badly with the disease of decay and moral degradation, caused due to their wrong approach of crass commercialisation. Hospitals themselves are in dire of a bitter pill. Hence, the action of cancellation of Max Hospital’s licence by the Delhi Government is welcome. However, this should not become a solitary case. Because, the malaise is so deep rooted that single dose of medicine won’t suffice. A strict regulatory regime is required for private as well as Government-run hospitals to ensure that best treatment is provided to all the patients, irrespective of their paying capacities.