Question-mark on credibility of doctors

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 14 Oct 2018 10:02:10






Vijay Phanshikar


l The patient came in with a swollen left palm. One-fourth of the palm had become hard. A few days ago, the boy had run his palm along a rough wooden block, and a little splinter had pricked him. His mother had tried to remove the splinter with a needle and felt that she could do it. Unfortunately, at least a little of the splinter had stayed put. The resultant abscess was very painful. When the boy was brought to a private hospital, the doctors suggested various tests -- which could be conducted in their own premises. Were those necessary, the mother, a generally educated person, asked. They said, it was their protocol. So the tests -- that cost quite some money, of course. Then an “operation” that actually took only some time, but the boy stayed in the OT for much longer. Everything seemed all right -- for an abscess is not a big problem, anyway. At the time of discharge, the mother saw the bill and was shocked to the bone. The bill was Rs. 7,000/-. “So much?”, the woman asked incredulously. The nurse at the front desk said, “Of course. It was a serious matter. We had to do so many tests. ... 


l In another case in another private hospital, an old patient was taken straight to the ICU and suggested to be put on ventilator. But one of the doctors, with having been trained abroad, felt that there would be no difference in the outcome since the patient was really bad. The doctor opposed ventilator idea and suggested that the patient be brought out in a special room where she could be allowed to spend some time with the relatives. The idea was that in her last days, she could at least be with her own people and pass away happily. In the ICU with the ventilator on, that could not have been possible. Senior doctors did not like this ‘interference’ because the hospital would not be able to ‘make’ money. However, the family had understood the reality and refused to let the patient be
taken to the ICU. ...

l A patient was admitted to yet another hospital, rather critical but not out of control. As the treatment started and prescribed medicines started coming from the hospital’s own pharmacy, the bills, too, mounted. One day, with the patient’s wife sitting next to his bed and getting bored picked up a medicine carton and started playing with it. She picked up a pen and started making a little drawing in the empty white space at the bottom of the carton. A little while later, that carton was picked up and taken inside the nurses’ room, obviously to be administered to the patient. The next day, a fresh pack of the same medicine came. The wife suspected something, and picked up that
carton to look at its bottom. She was shocked, because the same carton on which she had made the little drawing with a pen, was staring at her. Obviously, the medicine was not administered, and returned to the patient. The woman raised a stink, and the hospital authorities hurriedly offered to her all sorts of concessions in payment etc. ...


THESE are small representations of a big issue -- commerce -- in the so-called pious medical profession that deals with life-and-death situations all the time. Countless such stories are available if one looks for those. Cases of unnecessary medication, cases of unnecessary surgeries, cases of unnecessary angioplasties, cases of uncalled for subjection to ventilator, cases of wrong medicines, cases of uncalled for stay in hospital even after the patient has improved and could be sent home, cases of totally unnecessary tests that consume literally thousands of rupees, cases of ‘administered’ medicines returning to the patient’s bed, cases of unnecessary visits of doctors to the patient finding their reflection in the shockingly bulging final bill ... ! These are regular experiences of the community of patients and their relatives day in and day out particularly in private hospitals.

Some stories are so gory and so cruel that it is better to avoid telling those here. And the worst part of it is that the medical community also knows all those stories because its members script all those episodes -- in their quest of better

Some stories are better left to people’s imagination -- and also factual perceptions. ...!
Of course, there are black sheep in all professions!