Tuesday, September 4, 2001, Chandigarh, India



Doctors & common man: lack of trust

The Tribune dated August 13, 2001, carried a doctor’s view in the article Sudden death is a doctor’s nightmare supported by another doctor in the Editor’s Mail. Then there was a news item Civil hospital lacks basic facilities on page 14 and another item Medical negligence victims not consumers on page 17. I offer the point of view of a common man.

* Rajiv Kumar walks on his own feet into the operation theatre for a simple surgery of an elbow but is brought out dead on a trolley after a few hours.

* Suresh Kumar is operated for gall bladder, develops complications only to be found later that some surgical instrument was left inside during surgery.

* Sushma Rani was operated upon for a gyne problem, administered spinal anaesthesia by an unqualified doctor who left her during surgery for another assignment, developed post-anaesthesia complications and died for want of an anaesthetist and so on.

In towns and cities of this region, unethical medical practices are going on by doctors. The age-old faith between the patient and the doctor has been shattered. There is mutual suspicion and lack of trust. The doctor is no longer treated as a saviour. In turn, the doctor is also not treating him as a patient but a client. The nobility of the medical profession is eroding fast. Old qualified service-minded practitioners have been isolated by so-called qualified specialists maintaining nursing homes individually.


After getting degrees, they join government/civil hospitals, work there for some time, make rapport with the public and simultaneously start private practice at home. At times surgeries performed are charged for unofficially. While serving in the civil hospital when they are recognised in public, they take leave and start their independent practice. The little garage is converted into a clinic which later on takes the shape of a nursing home. In the next step a good looking building is constructed as the new nursing home. Loans are arranged and the doctor becomes the owner of a nursing home of his dreams in which he is the only doctor, boss as well as the manager.

Then he serves in his own building as a businessman who furnishes his private rooms well with an eye on clients. In the so-called nursing home, the doctor attends to OPD, performs surgery under various stresses of management, financial constraints with assistance from ill-trained staff in an operation theatre which is totally ill-equipped. In the circumstances there is every likelihood of the patient being neglected and that negligence at times proves fatal.

Even if a doctor commits any negligence or blunder, he is likely to get away with the power of money which he has generated in due course from the clients at their cost. No doubt, these days there are instances of doctors being booked for medical negligence and a number of complaints coming to various consumer fora for compensation, but these are getting defeated for want of expert medical opinion.

Till date it has been an unwritten norm that no doctor will give evidence against another doctor. Therefore, the poor patient is bound to suffer till clear-cut laws and rules are framed.

It is the need of the hour that the institutions of civil hospitals are strengthened in the interior areas as are in Chandigarh. The government doctors getting non-practising allowance should be stopped from private practice. Surgeries should be allowed either in government hospitals or in big institutions. The haphazard growth of so-called nursing homes must be stopped.

Our civil hospitals have huge buildings, sufficient equipment, qualified doctors and trained staff. A small pill of will and medication of dedication can change the scenario for the advantage and benefit of the common man.



How to solve Kashmir problem

General Musharraf’s contention “that without a solution of the Kashmir issue (first) progress in the relations between Pakistan and India is not possible” is like putting the cart before the horse.

The Kashmir issue has cropped up because of the unethical and undesirable partition of India. The partition was mainly the result of lack of faith between the two major communities. To solve the problem, the first priority should be to cement bonds of love and understanding between the two nations.

Towards this end there should be (a) a no-war pact (b) ceasefire (c) cessation of border intrusion and (d) opening of the border for free or concessional trade and travel.

The option is between the present ruinous war situation and a sagacious peace plan. Fortunately in India we have our Prime Minister who can lead the peace process. The choice lies with General Musharraf.

Brig HARDIT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


Nation’s pride

In the recent past we have seen eminent personalities of our country opting for foreign orthopaedicians for ailments ranging from knee replacements to as innocuous as hairline fracture of a toe. This does not augur well for the doctors of our country who have no dearth of expertise. Maybe the nation’s well-being or pride rests on such knees or toes, but then the pride of the local medical fraternity is also at stake.

The very fact that Indian doctors who migrated to other countries are doing better than doctors of those nations proves that it’s not the talent that we lack, its just a matter of facilities and opportunities provided that brings out the best. Make provisions for better and planned infrastructure, make institutes result oriented with incentives, make rigid quality regulations, and soon we will have heads of states or sports personalities from other nations rushing to India for consultation or treatment.

Dr G.S. BATTU, Patiala

Violence in J&K

Given the escalation of violence against Hindus by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, an urgent need exists for a concerted action led by India and the USA for containing and driving back these forces. A Gulf war style operation needs to be planned and implemented without delay against Pakistan and Afghanistan. Once Pakistan deploys the many nuclear devices it is building, it may be too late to contain the coming fundamentalist explosion.


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