By Shaifali Agrawal:
“Go see a Doctor!” These four words sound familiar, don’t they? That’s what you say to your friend who is suffering from fever, someone who has been coughing since morning, someone who had a minor fracture, or just someone who has been having headache since last night. Doesn’t it show our faith in the divinity of doctors and medical care? But is this trust or blind faith?
On August 27, a sanitary worker in Chennai, who lost his 12-day-old infant and went to collect the body from Government Kasturba Gandhi Maternity Hospital in Triplicane, found the infant’s left cheek completely damaged. Family members of some children admitted to the hospital alleged that rats had gnawed on the baby’s cheek. In June, a three-year old toddler died at Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Kasarvarne-Pernem due to negligence of the hospital staff. Medical practitioners have been in news recently for being in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies and prescribing expensive pills and medicines of these companies in return for favours and money. Patients have also complained of being subjected to unnecessary tests. Aren’t these incidents shameful in the name of deific doctors?
It was in the year 1996 when the Supreme Court had held, in the path-breaking case of Indian Medical Association V/s V.P. Shantha, (AIR 1996 SC 550), that a doctor can be held liable under Consumer Protection Act 1986 for deficiency of service. According to Rajesh C. Shah, medico-legal expert who is the president of the Indian Hernia Society and International College of Surgeons, hardly one per cent of the verdicts go against the doctors in medico-legal disputes.
One of the Satyamev Jayate’s episodes, which focussed on health care services, sent across a rush of emotions when the immoral deeds of doctors were brought to daylight.
Indian Medical Association has decided to study illegal drug trials, severely punishing the accused. Stringent steps to maintain the minimum level of standards need to be taken. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh announced that a committee would be constituted soon to inspect the facilities at the hospitals and the collectors have to make visits to the government hospitals in their respective district once every week.
Don’t you think we need to set our trust on doctors and hospitals on some solid grounds? Probably that’s why people prefer a family doctor, because by looking at the abovementioned incidents it’s hard to say that we would be assured of our well-being by going to the nearest hospital.