Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Unholy prescriptions

Unholy prescriptions

By Meghna Nair

“Medicine is a profession where one can play God.” That is probably the most clichéd statement one can come across.


In time of health crisis, doctor is synonymous with God to us. But what happens when the doctors have other plans?

A huge doctor-diagnostics centre nexus has been exposed in the North-Eastern state of Assam. According to a report published by Assam Tribunal, many doctors prescribed unnecessary tests to the patients in exchange of huge commissions.

But, this isn’t the first time it is happening. In the past few years, several cases have come to the limelight wherein people have been prescribed expensive tests for no substantial reason.

A very grave instance was reported in Assam wherein a couple was forced to sell their newborn because they couldn’t handle the medical expenses owing to the caesarian section the mother underwent. The height of irony is the fact that the incident happened in a government hospital in the capital city of Dispur.

The incident, although occurred in 2012, had brought up the issue of various kinds of nexuses existing between doctors and pharmaceutical companies, diagnostic centers etc.

According to the same report, doctors demand 30-50 per cent commission from the diagnostic centers by cash every month on MRI and CT scans.

Everyone knows that the field of medicine is well paying and that is one of the many reasons why it is one of the most sought after professions in India. Why then, are the doctors getting greedy and exploiting the common man?

“It is true that doctors get paid well, but there is a huge disparity between how much a doctor practicing in the city earns, as compared to his rural counterpart. The difference is not small. For example, if in cities like Delhi, a doctor is earning Rs. 60,000 a month, in rural areas the earnings would amount to as low as one third of this, i.e. roughly 20,000 rupees a month. That is a big disadvantage,” says Dr. Abhishek Shankar, who is currently practicing in AIIMS, New Delhi.

Be it Delhi or Andhra Pradesh, these nexuses are omnipresent. A nexus of an Ahmedabad based pharmaceutical company and 40 doctors from Telangana was exposed in 2013. The doctors were pushing the sales of certain drugs in exchange of expensive gifts from the company.

A sting operation conducted by a private media outlet in 2014 revealed shocking details about the issue.

As reported by the media, the doctors struck deals with the pharmaceutical companies and provided monthly stats and details about the patients they tended to and took bribes ranging in lakhs.

“There are many frauds in this profession. Many people with fake degrees open up clinics and prescribe useless tests to the unassuming patients to rake in the commission. They are maligning the profession and are responsible for the distrust people have,” says Dr. Rakesh Gupta, a practicing Orthopedician.


With power comes responsibility

Are doctors alone responsible for this problem?

It is true that doctors do have a share in this, but the blame rests equally on the masses.

With changing times and the information available on the internet, there exists a general distrust among people towards doctors.

But, as they say, “half knowledge is a dangerous thing” and that is exactly the problem.

A headache becomes a migraine, a migraine becomes a cluster headache, and there is really no limit to the ever escalating presumptions of people. Then such a person goes to the doctor and he gets treated for simply a headache and not a cluster headache, the patient starts doubting the doctor’s competence because he has already assumed the worst.

“These days the financial status of the middle class has improved and people now have less patience and increased paying capacity. They can afford to pay the consultation fees and the cost of the treatments.

When the middle-class man comes to government establishments like AIIMS, he has to wait for his turn among the working class people. This requires patience. Now, the thought process has become such that if at all they can escape the wait, and get things done, they’d not really mind paying a few bucks. That is where the problem starts,” says Dr. Abhishek Shankar.

But how much is too much? How can the patient be more aware?

Diagnostics is a crucial branch of medicine. Today, the progress of this very branch has resulted in the possibility of curing myriad diseases which were a huge threat to mankind in previous days.

The advancement of diagnostics has been a boon. In government hospitals, the number of patients is huge. But the job of a doctor becomes easier with diagnostic tools.

Earlier on, the doctor used to talk to the patient, take detailed history, use his/her clinical acumen and then if needed, uses diagnostic tools.

But now, the number of patients has increased manifold and government hospitals do not let you devote too much time on one patient when you know there are 99 others waiting outside for their turn. This is where diagnostic tools come in handy.

“Diagnostics is very important and it helps you be efficient and accurate. With the help of these tools, diagnosing is easier and the room for error is significantly reduced. But then, some people misuse these facilities and scandals arise,” Dr. Shankar says

But what should a patient do in case he/she isn’t satisfied with the doctor’s advice?

“When in doubt, go for a second opinion! And preferably go to a government run institution if you are afraid that the doctor is prescribing unnecessary tests,” Dr. Gupta adds.

Each illness is different and different diseases also affect different people differently. One can only keep his/her eyes and ears open and try to approach government hospitals to avoid being victims of commercialization.


Popular

wikimedia commons

A Jain monk offering ablution to Bahubali in Shravanabelagola

Atop the Vindhyagiri hills in Karnataka, a 57-foot-tall statue stands. This is the statue of Lord Gomateshwara, or Bahubali, as he is known to the local patrons. The surrounding area is filled with temples where each of the many Jain Tirthankaras sits.

Sharavanabelagola is named after a pond that is located at the foothills. 'Bel' in Kannada means white, and 'kola' means pond. This is a sacred water body to the activities of the temples. It is a tourist attraction and a pilgrim destination located 85 kilometres from Mysore, and 145 kilometres from the capital, Bangalore.

Keep Reading Show less
IANS

The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash

Clean and maintained hands boost confidence in daily life activities.

If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.

Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:

* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.

Soap bars organic You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash

Keep reading... Show less