Wednesday, April 11, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dr Simmons stresses on pre-natal care
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 10
“Due to unavailability of proper medical facilities and lack of awareness among people about the health and care of pregnant women, the infant mortality rate is high in the cases of pre-term delivery”, this was stated by Dr G. Millard Simmons Jr, Director Maternal-Foetal Medicine Division, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, West Virginia University, USA, while talking to Ludhiana Tribune today.

Dr Simmons is on a week-long visit to the Department of Gynaecology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital as a part of an educational exchange programme.

Dr Simmons said over one third of babies are born premature (before 37 weeks). At times, during such deliveries, the pre-term child dies due to brain haemorrhage, breathing problems as the lungs are not properly matured and several other factors. The reasons that jeopardize a normal delivery can be many like the slow development of the child, premature labour, slow heart beat of the child, sudden bleeding and various other health issues.

Dr Simmons said premature births can be prevented by taking proper pre-natal care, planning of pregnancy and assessment of maternal condition.

In answer to a query about the pre-natal paediatric surgery, Dr Simmons said the technique was still in experimental phase since it required paediatricians, obstetricians, genetic people and anesthesists at the same time.

Dr Simmons said he had been practicing ‘Cordocentesis Technique’ to detect and treat various foetal diseases. He said the technique was useful and successful. Dr Simmons said, " a needle is put to the umbilical chord of the foetus with the help of ultra sound. It is done to access the foetal’s condition, poor foetal growth and other genetic disorders. Through this technique, blood transfusion of the baby can also be done”.

Dr Simmons, while commenting on the rise in the number of ceasarian cases, said it was convenient for the patients and doctors to do ceasarian deliveries. He said sometimes, the mothers choose to have a baby through operation. However, he stressed that mothers should be educated properly and told that it was best to have a child through normal delivery.

Dr G.M.Simmons today also delivered a lecture during a conference on ‘Pre-term labour’ at the Dumra Auditorium. The conference was inaugurated by Mr Prem Nath Gupta.


Doctors & diagnostic labs
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 10
Despite all the progress made by medical science, medical treatment is becoming increasingly costly. Medical education is very expensive, particularly for those who pay capitation fees for seats in medical colleges. New diagnostic procedures require costly equipment. So the doctor and the person who owns a diagnostic laboratory are both in a hurry to recover the expenses on their education and equipment. It is the poor patient who suffers.

It is common for doctors to prescribe a series of tests at diagnostic laboratories where they are known to have a cut. The practice started in Ludhiana when a diagnostic centre offered a marginal cut to doctors, but the cut had to be raised when other similar centres came up. The number of investigating centres have since shown a steep rise and the doctor’s cut in some cases has gone up to 50 per cent. Even quacks and dais who bring patients to these centres are offered a percentage.

Mr Ram Parshad, a villager, came to Ludhiana to consult a specialist who suggested an ultra sound test. The RMP of his village took him to a diagnostic centre from which he received a commission. The patient was grateful but he got the wrong diagnosis.

Many surgical centres offer a big commission to the referring doctors. This is leading to a number of unnecessary operations. Rekha, an expectant mother, was being looked after by a midwife who convinced her that she needed a Caesarean section. She had to spend Rs 10,000 out of which Rs 4,000 went to the midwife, says a senior doctor on condition of anonymity.

Cardiac centres have contributed further to the woes of the patients. Mrs Sudesh Rana developed a pain in her chest. The cardiologist advised her to go for angiography which proved fatal. Her family has filed a case against the cardiologist for professional misconduct.

Sometimes, the doctors do not take the incentives in cash and prefer expensive medical books or paid holidays abroad. There is the case of a midwife who was advanced Rs 1 lakh by a diagnostic centre to send her son abroad and the amount was adjusted later with the commission payable to her.

Patients are now getting wary of the tests and procedures recommended by doctors. Here again it is the patient who suffers. In some cases the family of the patient takes time to decide and the delay causes harm. However, there still are doctors who uphold high ethical values and do not prescribe unnecessary tests.

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