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THE FUTURE OF INDIAN DOCTORS AT STAKE ? !

Please permit me to draw the attention of the readers to the items, "MCI goes in for strict medical code, The Hindu, 6 / 5 / 2002" and ready to include 'non-medical' members, MCI tells apex court, The Hindu, 27 / 11 / 2003. Let us not undermine the fact that MCI is 100 % aware of all the delinquent activities of doctors ranging from medical negligence, un-ethical, advertising, monstrous fleecing in the name of investigations-cum-hospitalizations-cum-treatment procedures, unethical nexus with pharmaceutical industries to more severe and bizarre crimes in the capacity of touts, rapists, pornographers, inhumane experimenters with special reference to ART CLINICS and etc.

Therefore, the development of strict socio-ethical standards of experimentation with mankind becomes a very vital need and equally important is the need for stringent social and ethical supervision of such standards or else in the absence of a scientific religiosity that blends reason and devotion smoothly, the conflict between man and science will continue till either of them is either exhausted or totally wiped out. ART ( assisted reproductive techniques ) in India should be brought under legal supervision.

Body :
During one of my recent and very friendly conversations with a powerful politician I was shocked to gather from his spill as to how he would check himselves into a 5 star hospital when all the 5 star hotels in Chennai would be full with guests at the time of the Assembly. He went on to further irk me by revealing as to how he would take advantage of the revolving door facility offered on request under the various so called master health check up programmes to the in-patient clientele with several bonuses in the form of attractive nurses measuring his BP and Pulse in several turns. His mocking revelation bolted me from the blue both in the capacity of an individual and as a medical practitioner.

Nevertheless, I could not refrain from appreciating his subtle approach in expressing a valid truth about the denigration that our Divine and Noble profession had undergone to the point of an intellectual prostitution. I saw to the most satisfactory disposal of my friend-cum-politician and instantaneously summoned a like minded colleague of mine to indulge in a collective soul searching. The following were revealed as we opened ourselves to each other.

Gone are those days when doctors were worshipped as Gods in the community. Such Gods never hesitated to present themselves whenever summoned by their devotees and they happily treaded the path along with their devotees upon foot, in bicycles, in public transport and in lower class train compartments. On the contrary, doctors of the present are addicted to technology, super - luxuries and pleasures, wealth and prominence in the community. Thus they are slowly evolving into a greedy and a corrupt force potentially capable of unimaginable chaos inspite of the fact that the majority of doctors are still noble but a weaker force on account of their virtues and despite all their virtuosity.

Divine and noble doctors have always believed in the one and only marketing mantra, that behind every single patient that they drew into their chambers there were the accumulated experiences of several such patients that had been meticulously and religiously treated by them in the past. Pursuing any other form of direct and or indirect marketing mechanisms shall amount to punishable contravention of the medical ethics code. In keeping with the commercial tornado that is sweeping across a portion of the medical fraternity much against the 'Doctrines of Hippocrates', where in, to many simple, noble and divine doctors that believe in quiet and honest down to earth medical work there are the few others that indulge in seductive marketing gimmicks amounting to their very intentions having become highly questionable and yet they continued to remain and flourish as a force left untouched by the MCI.

Please permit me to draw the attention of the readers to the items, "MCI goes in for strict medical code, The Hindu, 6 / 5 / 2002" and ready to include ' non-medical members, MCI tells apex court, The Hindu, 27 / 11 / 2003.

Let us not undermine the fact that MCI is 100 % aware of all the delinquent activities of doctors ranging from medical negligence, unethical advertising, monstrous fleecing in the name of investigations-cum-hospitalizations-cum-treatment procedures, unethical nexus with pharmaceutical industries to more severe and bizarre crimes in the capacity of touts, rapists, pornographers, inhumane experimenters with special reference to ART CLINICS and etc. and that MCI is also aware that it cannot punish the offending doctors without washing its own dirty linen in the public and without inviting and earning the wrath of the so called "Corporate Mafia" also known to the common man as "Medical Mafia".

Thus MCI had volunteered to share its disciplining baton with elite representatives of the public and it is also quite justified in doing so for want of more teeth.

Doctors are no longer noble public servants and instead they are a law unto themselves with self-professed rules and thus it is automatically implied that they deserved to be controlled by members of the public. Let us also understand that the integrity of people are to be measured by their conduct and not by their professions. Ethical questions in response to the news about a 63-year old woman having been delivered of a test-tube baby in Erode, Tamil Nadu have been raised by the Press, TV and lay public.

In the recent times medical profession as a whole has come under a lot of scrutiny and criticism by people belonging to every walk of life and the index incident is enough proof to the sheer abuse of science and technology to suit the whims and fancies of the individuals concerned. This incident is likely to send wrong signals into our people and other doctors by rule and not by an exception, which in all likelihood would misfire and boomerang upon us under the guise of mis-placed expectations, un-realistic demands, more unethical efforts and highly traumatizing / trapping consequences.

It is very disturbing, alarming and frightening to foresee the bio-psycho-social implications of a futuristic world, filled with people born out of 63 year old wombs to fathers in their mid-seventies ?!

Man in the name of science and technology is free to venture out to solve all the puzzles and riddles of nature, yet, he should not be permitted to take on the obligations and duties of nature and let us also sadly remember that the admirers of medicine are slowly turning into it's vigilant observers in large numbers and this is not a healthy sign for our doctor community. IMA / MCI / ICMR should now intervene and conduct an enquiry into this nauseating breach of medical ethics.

The disturbing, alarming and frightening news items, "drug firm used orphans for HIV trials ( The Hindu, 05/04/2004 )", "terrorist dawood undergoing cosmetic surgery ( The Hindu, 05/04/2004 )" and "donor milked his blood for a living, battles for life ( 03/04/2004 )" are further serious insults to our medical community. Breach of the universal medical code of ethics, evil and twisted manipulation of medical science, knowledge and technology, gross neglect of safety and concern of the subjects seeking medical treatment, callous handling and disposal of blood and tissue donors and inhumane concern for those being used in medical experimentation are rampant all over the world and such incidents do not happen without the connivance of mediocre doctors that lack in originality, scientific temper, religious beliefs and socio-ethical considerations. These unfortunate developments in medicine shall pose more complex problems for the thinking common man in general and philosophers in particular.

Scientific temper upholds evidence and reason whilst religious belief values introspection and intuitive experiences. For a holistic understanding of life both approaches are necessary and complementary. Scientific progress and experimentation shall be responsible for mankind's annihilation as and when it occurs, but, that will happen only when man forgets that science is a method and an approach, to be necessarily regulated by ethical-moral principles of truth, justice, compassion, universal welfare and fair-play, which, though battered beyond recognition by man's ulterior motives, are still being recognized as legitimate aspirations by all right thinking men across the globe.

Therefore, the development of strict socio-ethical standards of experimentation with mankind becomes a very vital need and equally important is the need for stringent social and ethical supervision of such standards or else in the absence of a scientific religiosity that blends reason and devotion smoothly, the conflict between man and science will continue till either of them is either exhausted or totally wiped out.

Differences in opinion within the medical fraternity thus surfaced in a very ugly manner amounting to their having projected an image in the community that doctors are no longer a cohesive force. Therefore all doctors have to blame themselves for having directed their internal affairs in such a way that it had come to be seen as a mess requiring a third party interference.

Under the pretext, that as much as doctors are privileged to market themselves the public too have their entitlement to knowledge and information about them, third parties have already begun to rate doctors in the media under several categories that they can imagine of and this exercise is likely to take several shapes in the ensuing future thereby contributing to several unpleasant and alarming repercussions in the society. Consumerism and litigation, cinema themes and moves like students having to assess the performance of teachers in Kendriya Vidyalayas could all be more encouraging to such third parties awaiting to rate doctors besides poking their noses in all affairs concerning doctors.

For the cause of integrity and morality within the medical fraternity MCI should wake up with a lion's heart to eliminate ugly and mean bones within itself. Every branch of IMA should induct a powerfully vested disciplinary committee to swiftly police all those that flout medical ethics within their territory. Peer pressure can have a great and a corrective stronghold on one's professional ethics and thus it becomes the duty of every doctor to boldly put pressure on erring peers. This comes as another reminder that doctors alone should fight corruption within their fraternity before public anger takes over. Brand names within the medical fraternity have time and again been misused by unscrupulous doctors and this needs a lot of policing.

Doctors need to prove that they are no longer selfish and greedy cats to all those third party monkeys waiting to prey and scratch them red. Any amounts of provocation from the domains of time, place, persons, immediate
society and distant society should not be construed by the doctors as excuses to slip away from their courage, conviction and responsibilities towards the welfare of their ethics hugging colleagues and clients. As a group ethical doctors devoid of fear can be too hot to be handled by their unethical counterparts besides their potentials of becoming a very powerful force to reckon with in the society.

As doctors shall we all strive to become Gods once again in the eyes of our society ? "
Thank you for your kind co-operation and patient reading.

References :
a) Replicative nature of indian research, essence of scientific temper and future of scientific progress, Mens Sana Research Foundation, Mumbai, India ( Nov - Dec 2003 ).

b) Gandhiji on religion, faith and conversion........secular blueprint relevant
today, Mens Sana Research Foundation, Mumbai, India ( Jan - Feb 2004 ).

c) " Could doctors be gods again ? " series of articles on the internet by
Dr. S Selvakumaran.
http://antidoctor.crimsonzine.com
http://www.coimbatore.com
http://www.commerceindia.com

d) "Trick or Treat" ( post-mortem in Tamil ) by Dr. K R Sethuraman.

By

Dr. S Selvakumaran,
Psychiatrist,
Erode, Tamilnadu,
India
638 003.
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Future of Indian Doctors at stake || Scholars Scarce ||
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Accidents to Crimes ||