Doctors should not victimize patients

Salil Gewali

Humanity should not succumb to the insincerity and hypocrisy of the over-commercialized health profession

             It’s not strange these days that many people fear doctors as much as cats fear cold water. This fear is rooted in the perception that some medical practitioners mercilessly prescribe medicines and treat their patients with a monetary profit motive only. The increasing cases of adverse “side effects” of excessive and wrong medicines leading to irreversibly deteriorating patients’ health have further disappointed the general people. 

            It is noteworthy that “certain” unscrupulous doctors even have a penchant for recommending many unnecessary “medical tests” to poor people struggling to make ends meet. Those poor people, clad in tattered clothes and worn-out slippers, not having even a five hundred rupee note in their pockets, are compelled to spend between Rs 3000 to 5000 for the minor ailments of their child. As they are completely illiterate, they have no option but to borrow money from their relatives or friends. Their only concern is to get their child cured. Only God knows how they finally manage to repay their loan. This case has become very normal in every town and village in India.

            A headmistress and the mother of three children from West Bengal laments how dare those doctors prescribe tests and a plethora of medicines for a mere fever that would otherwise vanish on its own in a matter of days. I wish these physicians possessed the ability to comprehend the financial struggles of the destitute!

               Mr. Agarwal, a social activist and naturopath hailing from Mumbai, raises an intriguing question: “Why aren’t there any doctors these days suggesting “impoverished” patients from avoiding expensive medications for minor ailments such as cough, cold, and dysentery, which typically get cured themselves within a few days? Fasting, a scientifically proven method, possesses a great ability to cure numerous kinds of ailments. Shouldn’t natural healing be considered the ultimate solution? By embracing the body’s inherent processes, we can significantly enhance our immunity and become healthy. Why do doctors not provide such sensible advice on compassionate grounds, at least to the underprivileged?” 

             But in contrast, a new breed of entrepreneurial doctors has the knack for recommending a number of medical tests from particular nursing homes and medicines only from “specific pharmaceutical companies” despite the fact that similar medicines with the same combinations from other companies are available at far cheaper rates. Very few doctors prescribe generic medicines from the government’s “Janaushadhi.” Is this not an inhuman act?

          Undeniably, greed for money has made those crooked doctors engage in activities least expected of them. Such doctors discreetly establish cozy relationships with nursing homes and diagnostic centers. This is predominantly prevalent in major cities. These alliances are grounded on a foundation of kickbacks and commissions. The doctor gets a hefty cut, and the diagnostic center gets a steady stream of patients. Videos clippings of such outrageous racketeering involving doctors and nursing homes often go viral on WhatsApp on a regular basis!

          No wonder doctors from private hospitals in Guwahati (Assam) point out the faults of doctors from Shillong nursing homes, while doctors from Apollo Hospital and CMC Vellore accuse the private hospitals in Assam and Kolkata of wrong treatment. Most patients complain of being heartlessly exploited by a number of medical practitioners and nursing homes before receiving adequate care in CMC Vellore at a meager cost of a few thousand rupees.

Pathetic Conditions Of Government Hospitals. | IMPACT TOGETHER

              It is concerning to hear that patients declared as suffering from cancer in Meghalaya, Assam, and Kolkata were diagnosed without any trace of the disease at CMC Vellore and Apollo Hospital in Chennai. This situation raises serious concerns about the accuracy and reliability of the initial diagnoses. 

        A disgruntled gentleman from Delhi says that we are practically in the most distressful situation when the ones sworn to protect humanity become the very ones poised to squeeze the sweat and blood of the aggrieved. During COVID, many medical institutes across the country were exposed to how low they could stoop to make a quick buck.

           Given all these outrageously unhealthy situations, it’s high time these medical practices were brought under the “microscope” and scrutinized for what they truly are. Breach of trust and greed-driven overtures should not be allowed to deal a death blow to the fundamental essence of medical ethics and the profession. The medical fraternity should always uphold the Hippocratic oath in letter and spirit. Humanity should not succumb to the insincerity and hypocrisy of the over-commercialized health profession of modern times. 

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