BOOMING HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL TERRORISM IN INDIA
This happened 20 years ago. I had developed a sudden pain on the left side of my stomach.When it had grown intolerable, we consulted a doctor. After initial checking he announced: “It is Appendicitis – a surgical emergency…Get admitted now, we don’t have much time…”
I was really shocked. My wife began crying. She went to nearby telephone booth to call our relatives. After few moments, she came back running and said: “Let’s have an alternate opinion from another doctor….”
The nurse who was about to take me to the x-ray room (scanning was not popular then) refused to leave us. Somehow, we forcefully came out of the hospital.
We went to meet Dr.TLP Prabhu, a popular physician in the community. After a general check-up he said: “It looks like gastric disorder, let us see…” He had prescribed a tablet. And in a couple of hours I was okay.
I told this incident to my friend John Panikulam. John’s remark: “Uday, do you know why Kerala doesn’t have terrorists? Here the doctors make terrorist look silly…” Now, after 20 years, situation has gone from bad to worse with corporatization of health care sector and hospitals.
Reflect on this story: A rich doctor – who owns a hospital – sent his son for higher studies in medicines in UK. When his son came back after his studies, the latter took a week’s off and made former in-charge. After three days, the son told his father: “Dad, I have news for you…It’s about Mr., your patient…”
“What happened to him? I have been treating him for the last 12 years!”
“Congratulate me dad! I have treated him and he is fully cured now!”
The father slapped his son and said: “You idiot, you think I couldn’t cure him? You just lost a loyal customer! You killed the goose that was laying golden eggs…”
“I am sorry dad, I don’t understand…”
“The patient should not die and should not be cured. If he dies, we lost a customer. If he gets cured also we lose…”
A friend told me: “Intensive care ventilator is a big business -steady income on daily rental. Even if the doctor is damn sure about the patient’s (especially older) death, the hospital puts him in the ventilator for at least for a week. Which sons or daughters would tell the doctor to remove their parents from the ventilator?”
– Welcome to the cut-throat and unethical world of hospitals and health care industry!!! Now people approach a specialist doctor even for a small fever. The doctor would recommend from blood test to scanning, telling you “to be on the safer side” or “to rule out all doubts”. And, the hospital bill would be huge.
Recently, a rich person from our locality has gone in for routine executive health check up in a famous five star hospital. The doctors certified him as “fit” and healthy. On the way back from the hospital, he died following a massive heart-attack. Doctors may say, “It can happen, it is not in our hand.” That means, it’s all depends upon your luck and fate. But we go for regular check-up, because we are scared and made to believe that doctors can save us from death – both are false assumptions. And if there is any medical expert among readers please let me know which medicine can cross blood–brain barrier (BBB)?
Why India is severely hit by medical terrorism? The capitation fees for MBBS admission is around INR one crore (ten millions). The college fees are extra. The ROI (return on investment) is either from dowry or from exploiting the patient. Today (most) doctors see a patient like an automobile or machine. Hospitals also need huge investments for its buildings, infrastructure and medical equipments. They expect huge ROI. The only source of income is the patient. They employ MBAs to develop market for them.
A famous hospital gives free treatment for select poor people. It also arranges for free cremation, in the ‘unfortunate event’ of death. What a great service to the society! It is not just publicity stunt. The hospital pays commission to get such patients. It also donates the patients relatives “solace money”. What’s the catch? A journalist friend told me that the hospital removes available organs from the body of the patient!
Of course, there are very good humane doctors in today’s world too. A doctor should be dedicated to his karma. I can tell blindly that, a horrible terrorist is far better than most of today’s medical doctors with plastic smile.
If you think doctors from other medicinal systems (Ayurved/holistic) are better, you are living in fool’s paradise. How many Ayurved doctors can tell the names of the herbs used in Dasamoolarishtam? They also prescribe the branded medicines. And please be informed that lot of rare herbs are disappeared from the earth. The commercial cultivation is done using pesticides and fertilizers. Recently a lab test shown that Common sida, the commonly used herb used for fever, asthma and cough, is polluted with high carbon content as it was grown near a railway station.
To prepare effective Ayurved drug, a doctor need to be like a saint – his entire life need to be dedicated for the health care. Even to pluck herbs, the vaidya (doctor) should follow some procedures and customs, taking into account the season, time, location, soil, weather etc. Some herbs are not available now. The medicine has to be prepared with utmost personal care and dedication. There are specifications regarding the clay pot, fire wood and jaggery while preparing the ayurvedic medicines. The commercial and large scale production can kill the ayurveda.
Chavanaprash was a very effective general ayurvedic tonic. Its major content is gooseberry. India’s gooseberry cultivation should increase 100 times to match the current volume of Chavanaprash produced here. So some producers need to use something else, adding the artificial gooseberry essence.
The bottled branded kashayas and other ayurvedic liquids can be preserved for years together. The original kashaya that you prepare at home will not last even for a week. So how can they get longer life without adding preservatives? And how does the preservative act on the delicate combination of herbal medicines? Talk to any urologist – they will tell you how many patients with kidney failure approach them after taking some ayurvedic medicine. Please find yourself about exploitation in the name of holistic healing solutions! It is yet another huge industry!
Our family doctor is Dr.Unnikrishnan, an ayurved physician. He is a retired. He doesn’t go for practice. At the most, he would see one patient a day, only based on personal friendship, and not for money. “The patient is god. When a patient comes to you, it is like a god is visiting you…”
People like him can feel the pulse in your wrist and tell you about your sickness. That was our Indian tradition. A tradition that we followed for more than 3000 years! They can tell the symptoms and body condition, just by looking at a patient. For, they had the divine blessings – you may call it a sixth sense or Extrasensory perception (ESP).
Of course, today’s doctors also have a specific sixth sense. They can see the number of currency notes hidden inside your purse!
© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org