Corruption and Remedy:
Could Doctors Ever Be Gods Again?! (Part 3)By Dr. S Selvakumaran, Erode.
Having had an upright and an imposing IAS officer in my maternal grandfather several decades ago, I feel helplessly angry with myself and totally ashamed of being a doctor today. And very proud that my children have conscientiously and emphatically opted to never become doctors of tomorrow.
Before I proceed any further, let me remind you of 'Sensations Of The Recent Past' :
Coming back to my interest of corruption in the medical fraternity, the present is a clear witness to the blatant reality that the doctor-patient relationships have come to be seen by the common man as wolf-sheep relationships and sheep-wolf relationships in more than 9 out of 10 cases and in less than 1 out of 10 cases respectively. It is also very strongly believed that doctors were driven by evil in the shapes of envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth and wrath instead of empathy and compassion for their patients, passion for their work and adoration for aesthetics. Living in highly decorated palatial residences, working in marble-coated hospitals and driving in fast and furious cars have all amounted to an ugly exhibition of wealth instead of one's commitment for aesthetics. How could doctors manage such a negative metamorphosis? This could be a very interesting question worthy of a multilevel dissection, for all those in pursuit of answers. Could a systematic teasing begin?
1. Somewhere in the history of mankind it had come to be understood that the medical profession poured tons and tons of money to its practitioners and thus began an end-less and a thoroughly competitive race of becoming a highly qualified doctor at whatever cost it involved. Politicians made good use of this human appetite and endeavor and thus came a point when medical education became a huge financial burden and commitment upon all those that pursued it. Thus the ball of corruption was set in motion. Quality of medical education took a severe beating with it.
2. The vicious cycle of corruption was well fed by technology and competition slowly gave way to rivalry amongst medical practitioners. Thus came the abuse of hospital medicine and with it the concept of 5 star and 7 star hospitals whereupon clinical medical science was replaced by investigatory medical science and camouflaged under the banner of preventive medical science. Consumerism and litigation were perceived as a blessing in disguise by all those hard-core and corrupt proponents of preventive medical science and thus began the art of fleecing patients in the name of master health check-ups and several other invasive investigatory and surgical treatment procedures.
3. Having developed an addiction to a system, sustaining the same became the next ordeal. It was imperative, that for the system to last a steady flow of patients were required. In the mean time several smaller hospitals had up-dated enough on their strategies based on the experiences of the corporate giants in the industry and thus began the overt rivalry between several smaller hospitals and corporate giants. Patients became confused and began to scatter under their efforts of hospital-shopping. Thus came the advent of un-ethical marketing by doctors and a fresh battery of evils with it, much to the annoyance of scores and scores of decent medical practitioners. The very same collection of doctors that were anything but novel in genuine patient-care were otherwise unimaginably novel at their marketing approaches.
4. Pharmaceutical industries were all too pleased by the developments in the doctors' camp and they could easily grow to their present stature of dictating terms and conditions to the doctors. All they needed to do in the bargain were to through a few pieces of bones here and there to the so-called doctors! This has now grown to a point of doctors having become totally dependent on pharmaceutical industries for running all their daily-shows despite all their stinking wealth. No wonder are doctors being considered as those worthy of bones by them!
5. All these recent developments having occupied the helm of the so-called hospital industry, the age old-cum-orthodox-cum-time tested concept of family-medicine and the role of family-doctors in sustaining it became visibly oblivious much to the disadvantage of gullible patients and to the provocation of family-doctors / general medical practitioners and all other doctors that were proponents of ethical medical practice.
6. Having made the patients to thus knock on their doors, hospitals began to manage them beyond their scope of medical expertise with a self-imposed title of jack of all trades that which was originally vested with the family-doctors. The only advantage these hospitals had were their technological superiority. In a fair amount of cases it had only ended up as technology in the wrong hands and devastation. People gradually became aware of this too and the corrupt hospitals had to come up again with something novel.
7. Corrupt independent doctors, scan-kiosks, medical laboratories, pharmacy outlets, quacks, unqualified paramedical personnel, touts and pimps were already ruling in organized pockets and yet in their own small ways. They were all too eager to widen their net. Thus smaller hospitals and even larger giants slowly began to make use of their services in order to retain their clients and the practice of demanding and offering commissions thus came into vogue. Money, kind, sexual and other favors have been the shapes of these commissions. The phenomenon of Date - Rape - Drugs has slowly begun to include doctors in its system of perpetrators and much to the annoying knowledge of the public. For instance, a 19 year old nurse was raped in the Shanthi Mukund Hospital by a ward boy and a 13 year old patient was gang raped in the Holy Angels by the attending team of doctors recently and such incidents have become the order of the day everywhere.
8. These developments have now slowly begun to tempt a larger circle of otherwise morally intact members of the medical community and some of them have already chosen to fall down as perpetrators / victims of this "corporate mafia" also known as the "medical mafia".
It is extremely pathetic to gather, that the only defence currently available with the public, against this organized assault being systematically unleashed by the community of doctors against them, is plain-honest-disorganized anger.
1. The first step in the
direction of remedy should be simply two-fold:
2. The next step shall be on the “already corrupted medical force". It is a sad story that most of the people running the IMC and the several branches of IMAs are not aware of its respective constitution and the powers vested within it to eliminate corruption. In a good number of cases such office-bearers are themselves thoroughly corrupt and hence the present ugly scenario. It thus becomes imperative for all the ethical doctors to come together as one big force and feel obliged from within to chip in their contributions, however small it may seem, to a noble cause such as this. They need to meet regularly, talk at great lengths, hit upon several clever working strategies, pool money and then begin venturing on such strategies one after the other. Their approach also needs to be within the legal frame-work at all times.
"If Good People Are Not A Part Of The Solution, Then They Are The Biggest Problem" -Shiv Khera.
3. Should steps 1 and 2 be ignored by the doctors, public anger could soon teach them valuable lessons for their life-time. Societies formed by the public to monitor health delivery systems have already come into vogue in India too.
Good doctors not having been recognized and protected by the community have no doubt made them bad and evil in the long run. Subsequent generations have had more and more lousy doctors as their role-models and with it grew the system of corruption. Patients and their families irk doctors to the core. Given their physical and mental vulnerabilities they may not be capable of anything else and better towards their doctors. Doctors owe their rights to retaliate by being tough and strict towards such clientele and yet that does not empower them to be vindictive and cause literal destruction in the lives of such people. It has come to be accepted the world over that doctors were more sought after for their professional skills-cum-honesty and not for their capacity of compassion. In a nut-shell, being a doctor is no picnic and doctors are expected to have known this much before they set foot to become one.
Anti-Doctors like me exist all over the world in fairly well organized pockets. I have also come to be nick-named as A Devil's Advocate as I test the very proposition of modern medicine by arguing against those that practice the same unethically.
Mahatma Gandhi won his proposition on Ahimsa when he succumbed to the bullets of Goetze.
I shall be telling this with
a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence:
-Robert Frost in The Road Less Traveled
The above is from a series
of "Letters to the Editor" by