Defuse This Time-Bomb

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Dec 2017 10:58:07


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us not run away from this ugly reality -- that our present healthcare system has failed to deliver the desirable results simply because forces of commerce have started dominating our thought and action. The so-called modern dhanwantaris (a divine representation of a medical doctor) have allowed themselves to be fattened by half-baked knowledge of what healing is and what our country and society with limited means requires.

“License of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, cancelled in connection with twins case.” -- News Agency Alert

THIS news alert came almost on expected lines. When authorities at a major multi-speciality hospital behave in such a casual manner, when their doctors declare two little ones -- twins -- dead when one of them is still alive, then the common man’s faith in the overall medical services system gets shaken to the bone. And when the little one who was alive also passes away, then even the remnants of the faith just melt away.


We all know that countless such cases of medical neglect, of casual treatment to matters of life-and-death importance in medical services, of wrong medication, of wrong diagnosis, of absolutely commercial approach coming to fore across the Indian landscape everyday. We all know that the common people are beginning to build a silent rage against the medical community a majority of which is getting driven by forces of commerce. And this is one time bomb which we, as a nation, must work hard to defuse. And if we do not initiate action in right earnest, we might see a social explosion of the worst order in a few years all over the country.


This is one caution we can only ill-afford to ignore. We must recognise that for too long a time, we have allowed our medical services system to get rotten by crass commercialisation, and that it is our primary duty to start taking steps of rectification.


In fact, the rot begins in medical education. In the name of spread of medical education, we, that is our Government and our political community, decided to launch private medical colleges. What followed was a crass political process in which money played the dirtiest possible role. For, in that process, everything came for a “price” -- and we all know who paid and to whom. Naturally, forces of commerce made it mandatory for the managements of private medical colleges to recover the money from students, giving birth to the system of capitation fee whose size has continued to grow in a shocking manner over time.
Then, who could send their wards to such colleges? Only the very rich, or only those who could compromise on their values to make huge “investments” in their wards’ medical education and later recover the “costs”.


But when Government medical colleges were still operating well, private medical colleges could not attract many people. For, in their standard of teaching-learning process, in their standard of laboratories and libraries, in their standard of giving the students actual hospital-service experience, Government medical colleges were always far ahead of the private institutions.


So, interested parties, including those in the Government, devised another plan -- of lowering the levels of Government institutions in this or that manner. So dubious the plan was that the Medical Council of India (MCI) started even derecognising Government medical colleges for this or that reason, and the State Governments that controlled those institutions did nothing concrete to rectify the situation.


Naturally, this helped private institutions a great deal.
The rest is history -- replete with examples of what we saw at the Max Hospital. Countless such examples come to fore in every Indian city, every Indian town -- either in Government hospitals or in private institutions.
What a terrible dumbing down of medical services system in the country! What a diabolic arrangement to convert a noble profession into a commercial one!
There can never be an atonement of this sin and a pardon to whosoever allowed this to happen for decades.


We all know how medical healthcare system in the country became a hand-maiden of forces of commerce. Let us take example of a massive and grand national conference of certain medical speciality in a big city. Hundreds of well known personages in the speciality zero in on the place. When such a massive collection of experts in a certain speciality is available in one place, the pharmaceutical companies jump into the arena. They sponsor such events with financial support of literally lakhs of rupees, depending on the facilities that the organisers offer.


This money these pharma companies do not “waste” for a good cause. They do so because they expect “returns” from the specialists by way of their subsequent prescriptions of the medicines and tools from the sponsoring companies. And to make them do that, the pharma companies offer delegates all kinds of lures, which is a common knowledge, so to say.


This is how forces of commerce flow into our veins and arteries when that treatment might not be necessary for us. That is how came into effect the dirty practice of suggesting knee-joint or hip-joint replacement at the snap of fingers. The dirtiest practice of suggesting “exploratory angiogrphy” also has come into effect in every place. Every patient and his relatives realise that they are being looted at will by the commercially-established hospitals. Yet, helpless and hapless as they are, they cannot do anything. For, what is at stake is the patient’s well being, or life.
This is common experience of every common Indian across the Indian landscape, and let me see who can challenge this perception.


There certainly are very good doctors even now, and they are treated like demi-gods on Earth. But as each one of us knows, their number is shrinking, their tribe is vanishing under the massive commercial juggernaut now invading the filed of healthcare and medical services.


That is also the reason why people are seeking alternative systems like Ayurved, Homeopathy, Unani Medicine or other methods of healing. And when they come to know of this, the allopathic doctors -- from this end to that end -- debunk those services. Damn such people. For, they have never tried to understand the reasons why this is happening. One reason is that most alternate pathies have their tremendous plus points, proven by research and empirical experience. Another reason is that the so-called modern medicine, represented by allopathic medicine mostly, has failed to earn people’s faith in good measure, the Max Hospital case being one such example. There are many such reasons, of course, and they can be discussed subsequently.


Let us not run away from this ugly reality -- that our present healthcare system has failed to deliver the desirable results simply because forces of commerce have started dominating our thought and action. The so-called modern dhanwantaris (a divine representation of a medical doctor) have allowed themselves to be fattened by half-baked knowledge of what healing is and what our country and society with limited means requires.
If our society ignores this reality any more, we will surely be headed for a social explosion of the dirtiest variety in a short while.