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All is Not Well

| September 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Pursuit of profits is encouraging corporate hospitals to indulge in unethical practices. Often medical practitioners have their eyes on
pockets and wallets rather than hands on pulse. Commercialisation of hospitals and medical profession is emerging as a big challenge on the health front in India. With no regulatory authority still in place, the mushrooming private and corporate hospitals around the
country are making hay while sun shines. With public health system and government hospitals in disarray, the people are compelled
to depend on the private healthcare institutions. There are a number of ways these corporate hospitals cheat the patients, overprice their services, bypass code of medical ethics and indulge in corrupt practices. Sample this: l Even as a patient is
brought to a hospital, he may be recommended a series of totally unnecessary diagnostic tests. For instance, when a 17-year old boy was taken to a corporate hospital for having fever, he was recommended ECG even while he had not complained of chest pain. When queried by the aware attendants of the patients, the reply was: This is the normal procedure here. l Patients are asked to get
the diagnostic tests done at a particular lab. The internal nexus allows the hospital to receive share in the testing fee. l Some Hospitals go still further. They ask the labs to doctor the diagnostic result and exaggerate the intensity and severity of the disorder. This then
is used to scare the patient to seek admission into hospital. In a subsequent test, the lab is advised to bring down the intensity of
the disorder thereby allowing the doctors or hospitals to claim considerable improvement and effectiveness of their cure. For
instance, the lab may be asked to show high glycerides for blood sugar and frighten the patient into following the ‘advice’ of
admission into the nursing home. l Some hospitals and doctors receive ‘rewards’ from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing high-priced branded medicine even while cheaper alternatives are available in the market. These rewards may not be always in the form of the cash. The doctors may be promised ‘orientation’ programme in Switzerland which may be just a holiday or picnic for the doctor,
and may be his family. l Smaller nursing homes and private clinics serve as touts for bigger, more flashy and specialty
hospitals. They refer patients to these corporate hospitals and collect a fee for the same. l There are however grey areas. Some patients are kept clinically alive in order to raise bills. Although it will not be fair to accuse the hospitals for this plight, the doctors should advise the patient’s family whether such a life is a machine-assisted life or it will be more advisable to withdraw the machine and allow
a peaceful passage out of the painful existence. l Billing system is not always transparent. Jargon-ridden language is often used to obscure the real nature of treatment.  A hospital in Hyderabad used to couch anaesthesia in such a language while no anaesthesia was being administered. l Some medical institutes  subject their patients to clinical tests for coded drugs. Currently, India is a major destination for trial of drugs on patients. This commercialization of the medical practice and healthcare is chiefly the outcome of mounting avarice and greed in the society. People who pay millions of rupees to buy a seat in medical colleges—some even incurring
debts—are compelled to make a quick buck by engaging in such malpractices. Administering the cure to the patient becomes secondary for them and ethics take a back seat. All they care about is how to recover the cost and gather resources for a seat
in a medical college for their offspring in future.

Category: Global Affairs