Tag Archives: Criticaldiagnosis

Can Anyone Solve The Mystery of Atmaram’s Courtroom Death?

Can Anyone Solve The Mystery of Atmaram’s Courtroom Death?

©️Dr. Rajas Deshpande

A hungry poor man named Atmaram went to a big hotel, had a nice big meal, and told he had no money to pay. He was beaten up and handed over to the police. He was released after a warning and a slap.

Next day he filled up petrol in his bike, and said he couldn’t pay. He was again beaten up, handed over to the police. Then he went to the medical shop, bought medicines and mineral water, ate the medicine, drank water from the bottle, and again said he couldn’t pay. He was now jailed for a week.

Next week his house was damaged by heavy rains, so he went and requested to be allowed to sleep in the house of the chief minister. He was arrested again, thrashed up.

As angry Atmaram shouted at the police, he was beaten up by them, another crime was added to his offences. In the court, Atmaram insulted the lawyers and judges and accused them of accepting bribes and charging too much. The judge punished him extra for his behaviour. Atmaram was angry and threw his shoe at the judge. His punishment was extended.

“You must respect the authority “ the court said.

“But I am poor, I need free food and petrol and medicines. I need sympathy too” Atmaram argued.

“You should have begged and applied for favours and eaten in places that provide charity meals. Petrol, however essential, has the same price for everyone. You can sleep on the footpath, and above all, you are not allowed rudeness and violence because you are poor and needy” The court said.©️Dr. Rajas Deshpande

When released from the jail, Atmaram drank a lot of desi alcohol, had an accident and fractured many bones. He went to the best private hospital, got operated and refused to pay his bills that crossed one lac rupees. When the hospital insisted, the operating doctors were beaten up by Atmaran’s relatives, the hospital was vandalised, the police arrested the doctor who saved Atmaram’s life, the government closed down the hospital, while the media and the society kept villainising the entire medical profession.

The headlines next day reported the sympathy expressed uniformly by wag addicted tongues: some said the entire profession was tainted, some blamed the greed of the doctors, even some doctors desperate for attention shed crocodile tears about the ethics in this profession. ©️Dr. Rajas Deshpande

In the courtroom, during the trial, Atmaram sat facing the doctor, still heavily bandaged.

The hon’ble judge, kind but surrounded by security, told the doctor accused of negligence and malpractice in the court: “You as a doctor carry more responsibility for ethical behaviour upon your shoulders. You should never turn away the poor”.

The doctor, defending himself, asked “but Milord, doesn’t our constitution insist on equality? Why do you yourself or ministers get security but not the doctor? Why isn’t everyone supposed to stick to ethics in every profession including politics, police and judiciary? Why are others exempt? How do you explain beating up of doctors while also saying that the society treated them like gods?”.

There were no answers. The kind court asked if the doctor had to say anything else in his own defence.

The doctor said

“Yes Milord, but the real answers will hurt:

Jealousy against medical professionals across society and many other professions is a reality. Why else will anyone who couldn’t qualify to become a doctor try and teach the qualified doctors what they should do?”©️Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“A culture of exploitation of non-votebank groups

and a complete failure of government healthcare with no one accepting responsibility is well known to everyone, but even judges have no courage to suo motu question this and correct it, even when they see the poor dying”. ©️Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“In a country with never ending poverty, how much free can a healthcare facility provide? For how long? This is already forcing closure of hospitals and exodus of good doctors out of the country.”©️Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“Milord, can you assure that every doctor will get his/ her fees as per his service to every patient, and if the patient can’t pay, that much charge will be exempted from the income tax of that doctor? How else do you except a doctor to meet his needs and dreams? Just because there are millions of poor patients, is the doctor’s life and hard work taken for granted? If there has to be financial sacrifice, why not have everyone contribute to it by creating a national health tax fund for treatment of poor patients? Why healthcare is subsidised only at the cost of a doctor?”

Just at this point, Atmaram, who sat in front of the judge, collapsed unconscious, almost blue black.

The shocked judge requested the doctor to examine him.

“He is no more” said the doctor.

“What could have happened ?” asked the kind but sweating judge.

The doctor told the court about three possible reasons. Two of them were scientific and medical: a sudden cardiac event or a large blood clot in the lungs common after fractures and trauma.

The third non-medical, unscientific cause made the Judge seriously ponder.©️Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“Will this court be now closed down, Milord? Will your efficiency be questioned, will you allow the relatives to attack you and understand their sad situation at the cost of your murder?”

“I understand what you mean” said the kind judge.

Needless to say, the doctor was released without a blame.

Can anyone please solve the mystery of the third non medical, unscientific possible cause of Atmaram’s death?

(C) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Please share unedited

The Morphine That Killed a Hospital

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“He fell down while checking the patient”, said the panicked Dr. Mrs. Sane about her husband, “and became unconscious”.

Dr. Sane tried to maintain his calm. A sick doctor has the curse of knowing the worst of everything, and has a perpetual feeling of sitting upon a ticking time-bomb. It was a sad feeling to see this middle aged brilliant general practitioner fighting tears.

“Sir, the OPD numbers have shot up because of these epidemics, especially dengue. I see over a hundred patients every day. The Inpatient beds are full. There are daily problems: medical, administrative and medico-legal.. those I am used to. But now there are too many politico-social and press-related issues that worry me”.

Dr. Deshmukh, a senior practitioner and a common friend, accompanied Dr. Sane. He cautiously poked him “You must tell the doctor what happened the day before”.
“Oh that’s a part of our profession” Dr. Sane replied.
I insisted that he must tell me.

Reluctantly, he disclosed: “Some goons came in with a municipal councillor and threatened to waive off the bills of a dengue patient. He was in the ICU for five days, quite bad, but went home walking. Till the time he improved, they kept on threatening us to break the hospital and thrash us if something went wrong. Upon discharge, they didn’t pay a single rupee. There’s nowhere to complain, as the hospital requires many municipal permissions”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Dr. Mrs Sane lost her cool. She started sobbing. “No one blames those who dump garbage, keep their surroundings unclean. No one is blamed when epidemics spread and thousands die. No one is held responsible for failures of almost all preventive services and lack of basic facilities at government’s healthcare institutes. But the already overworked general practitioners must bear the brunt of everyone’s anger: the public and press are always free to bash the last face they see: the doctor who is actually helping every patient,.. Dr. Sane has not had a proper lunch, not spent a full day with kids in months.. That hospital has become our curse“ She broke down.

It was so logical! The offices responsible cannot even be reached. The court does not see any of these system failures that cause millions of deaths all across India, happily ordering lakhs and crores and imprisonments for doctors, for trivial mistakes.
Whom to blame? Oh yes, the doctor who has studied to treat the sick!

Anyway, in a country fond of muscular heroes and billionaire godmen, who expects a brainy analysis? © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“I had a dream of making best health facilities available for my area. I have taken a big loan. We treat poor patients free anyway. Many rich are sent by local politicians, leaders, administrators with instructions to attend immediately and free too. Paying patients are mostly suspicious because of all the negative things publicised by press about all doctors., they also expect immediate and positive outcomes. I have not slept for many a nights. “

I examined him.He had obvious features of being fatigued mentally and physically.. A syncopal attack, where the BP drops down suddenly and makes the patient unconscious, was likely. I advised him tests and told him to take rest for there days.

“Not possible, sir! Even now the OPD is waiting” he replied. An angry Dr. Mrs Sane requested me to intervene.

“Your duty to the society does not free you from the duty towards your own health and family” I requested him. But Dr. Sane agreed only when Dr. Deshmukh offered to send over a junior doctor to his hospital to take care of the OPD.

“How have you been, Sir?” I asked Dr. Deshmukh. He is one of the most respected and busiest general practitioners in town, with a big hospital. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Dr. Deshmukh smiled.
“I had an angioplasty three months ago. The only risk factor was high BP and stress. There is no use fighting or explaining our situation to the society, government or press. I have closed down my hospital. I only see OPD patients now. Anyway many patients thought that I worked day and night for earning more money. Let them go to the corporate or government hospitals.”

The death of his hospital was not a surprising news, many small private hospitals and nursing homes are either closing down or converting into profit-making franchises. Many doctors are suffering high BP, cardiac and neurological problems and even dying due to excessive stress.

The meaning of this nightmare will soon unfold upon our society.
Till then, this is a heartfelt appeal to all the over-stressed doctors to rethink about their priorities, rearrange life and make sure stress does not kill.

For the morphine of “medical social service” is only good in small doses, it kills when overdone!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“Get Out, Doctor! You Are Finished!”

“Get Out, Doctor! You Are Finished!”© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Doctor, it’s this way or highway. We have many from your specialty in the waiting list. Do you accept to go by our policies or do you want to resign? Mind well, if you disagree, we will see to it that your name is blacklisted in every hospital in this city”.
As Dr. Sumeet stood there thinking, one of the administrative doctors, always a first class bottom licker, commented “These days doctors are like W*****, throw money at them and you get them to do anything you want”.
One junior doctor, still hot blooded, walked away. Dr. Sumeet asked that medical superintendent to mind his language. There was no reply. The bosses had really enjoyed the comparison, and while eating their pistachios at the hands of their secretaries, laughed aloud.
Dr. Sumeet felt devastated in that super luxury office, among the administrative officers and his own senior doctors from that hospital. He had returned from Germany a year ago, and joined this corporate hospital that was recruiting specialists. They had also offered him a decent salary, and accepted his condition that no patient will be sent back from his OPD for lack of money. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
However, he had had to face a lot of jealousy and hatred from his senior doctors as he was looked upon as a competition. This is extremely common in India, and however stifled, a major truth. But no one ever stood against the bosses of corporate hospitals, so they had to accept his appointment.
The same corporate also owned other industries, namely Gold, Cement, Cloth, Petroleum etc. They were a “closed” community, all in the administration belonged to a particular caste. This hospital was another of their ‘profit oriented investment’, and did really well as most of the public can easily be fooled by the words “Free, Concession, Accreditation, World Class etc”. Medical illiterates (read general public) are really taken for a ride by healthcare advertisements of corporate hospitals.
Few months after Dr. Sumeet joined the hospital, the CEO changed, and another “extremely loyal invertebrate profitmaker insider” came in as the new CEO. From prehistoric period, he was considered as the best pet of that corporate family. The new CEO started by applying all the labour and profit criteria of cement industry to this hospital. If anyone argued, his famous dialogue was “If Sirjee (the owner of the corporate) wants, he will make the sun rise from the west. You are not aware that his reach is beyond the highest in India”. Anyone who uttered a word against any policy was isolated, humiliated and finally thrown off. Various allegations and ‘proofs’were easily furnished by a dedicated ‘execution panel’.
The new CEO changed the conditions that were accepted when Dr. Sumeet had joined. He was now given a target that his patients have to increase by 25 percent every six months, so should his tests, surgical referrals, etc. Free cases were cancelled. Many doctors spoke in private about this, but no one wanted to lose their job, as it is very difficult to get attachments in multispecialty hospitals. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
As Dr. Sumeet had argued, he was given this ultimatum. He appealed to the senior doctors in that room, most of them looked away. Some told him they had always warned him not to be ‘over-smart’.
“I will reply in three days” said Dr. Sumeet and left the room.
He had nowhere to go. He had shifted his family to this new city and his children were already adjusted in their school. He had chosen this city after long deliberation, and had recently bought a flat with a loan, so he needed a stable income. His parents were teachers, he did not have the kind of money required to make his own hospital. All his friends had one answer: “Adjust “. He decided to plead once more to the management, to allow him to provide free consultation to really poor patients, and to continue a contract not based upon income generation. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Next morning, as he entered the hospital, one of the servants (being from the inner caste, his title was ‘General Manager’) came to see him with a huge grin upon his face. “The CEO sahab has asked you to empty your belongings by afternoon. This office is given to another doctor”.

He went to the CEO, who refused to see him.

The same medical superintendent came out.

“Doc we do not require your services any more. Get out, You are finished” he said.

“Why?” asked Dr. Sumeet. “I want an explanation”.

“We have many reasons. You do not fall in line with our policies. You are insubordinate. Also, some staff say you are having an affair with another doctor in the hospital. We also had a complaint about you yesterday from a patient”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
The complaint was obviously custom-made, and there was no way to argue about the affair allegation. Medical staff working together in an extremely orthodox country has to face those allegations very commonly. How such allegations disqualified him as a doctor was beyond him.
There was no argument now. He was escorted by security team out of the hospital, in full view of many specialist doctors (his friends), patients (treated by him), and others, but no one had a word to say. After he came out of the campus, one doctor friend accompanied him home silently.
He wrote to many senior doctors. There were no replies. He wrote to the medical councils. There was no reply. One senior member of the medical council told him in confidence: “ All the Medical Council rules are only for doctors. Medical councils in India have zero control over private hospitals, especially corporate hospitals”. IMA and other doctor’s bodies are clueless and directionless about the open exploitation, humiliation and destruction of doctor’s careers, especially new-coming specialists. In a country devoid of specialists, it is paradoxical that so many specialists are continually fired / thrown off / made to leave corporate hospitals which take advantage of the competition among doctors. Sadly, the doctor community, with too many self-proclaimed geniuses, has failed to unite and protect itself from this corporate onslaught. It is pathetic to see some greedy doctors competing to see each other down. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
His practice was super-specialised and required a multispecialty set up with inpatients. There are very few government set ups in India like those. The rules, conditions in most govt. hospitals are idiotic, age-old, and the payments are laughably low. Also, the govt institutes are mostly headed by you know whos.There are indeed some charity super-specialty set ups, but most are religion / cult / faith based.
Dr. Sumeet decided to work it out his way. The corporate hospital which fired him made sure that his name was defamed in every possible way, they left a many pronged negative feedback everywhere. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande. There is no remuneration for the career murders of the intellectuals in every field in India, caused by two-faced systems run by invisible hands.
Gradually, he picked up, losing years of his career. He found out a hospital that respected his wishes to treat the poor free, and did not insist on numbers.
The complete ignorant and irresponsible stance of senior doctors when someone wrongs the junior doctors, the complete lack of any control over the policies of corporate hospitals by any medical council or governments, and the impotent stance by many a doctor’s organisations has spread the healthcare-toxic corporate medical culture all over India.
Doctors should at least make directories and online lists (maybe anonymous to begin with) of hospitals which force doctors to accept malpractices, or do not respect terms of agreement and sack doctors without any mistake. These should also be reported to the medical councils. Any hospital sacking any doctor should have to send an explanation to the Govt., medical council and IMA for the reason of dismissal, and the doctor should also be able to explain his / her side of the story. Hospitals which “use and throw” doctors as per wish, without reason or logical explanation must be brought to the book. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Most corporates have excellent backup and protection from the government, and all they will do is to shift the blame on the doctors’ fees, hiding from the patient, media and society the umpteen other profiting headings that the patient thinks are benefit to the doctors. This is a tough war.
Another joke is that while the educational qualification and training of any doctor is strictly scrutinised by medical councils and media, the qualifications of those who own hospitals, run them are completely neglected. No wonder illiterate politicians, “Business Class” corporate houses and CEOs bully doctors into practicing policies which are often against the best practice principles of healthcare.
Very few non-medical CEOs actually have a good knowledge of medical ethics and principles, agree to logical arguments.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
The media and society who advise umpteen things and expect a lot from the doctors never stand up for a good doctor. Everyone who has met one bad doctor cries all his / her life about all doctors. As if there were no bad apples in their field! The ‘hyper idealistic’ population expects that the entire healthcare comes under the heading of ‘charity practices’., unwilling to spend upon their own health. If malpractices and backdoor incomes are to go, the public should realise that the actual fees will increase.
Governments will always make populist, ultra-short term policies in healthcare, without involving the brainy specialists in practice. If the Medical Council or IMA do not take a firm stand, any doctor who takes a stand against existing corporates / medical malpractices will be orphaned by his / her own community, often boycott, and categorically defamed: until their career is destroyed or they leave the country.
Many Dr. Sumeets are actually suffering this right now in India, with no respite.
Doctors must also realise that this war will never be won fighting alone. If the subsequent generations are to get better quality healthcare, we should start by identifying the problems first.
An easier, nay, wiser option for every super-specialist is to leave India.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
PS: The “Chamcha Doctors” who line up with the corporates to compromise in healthcare principles must do some soul searching. Earning profits is not a crime, compromising medical principles is. A real “Doctor” will never do so.
Dedicated to the thousands of young medical specialists who are right now suffering this hell.

RD

Female Foeticide versus Lifelong Socio-cultural Sadism?

 © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Whenever female foeticide is discussed, many self-crowned intellectuals run the horses of their pseudo-western philosophy against the entire medical profession. Some irresponsible media asks opinions of the very same majority people for whom our desi government has to run billion dollar campaigns, educating them to shit in the toilet. Might as well ask them the solutions for global warming, terrorism and corruption!

What does our society do once a female child is born (again with the help of doctors)? 

Daughter, Sister, Wife and Mother: almost every female around us (except probably a girlfriend) is taken advantage of, ordered around, made to compromise, told that she must accept the limitations of being a woman, and in general made to live an enslaved and dependant life, under sweet names of love, responsibility, security and a “bad world for women out there”. Who makes this bad world?

In many cultures, the girl child is fed poorly: typically the ghee and sweets and “costlier” food goes to the male child, especially in big poor families. Even the rich and educated are seen having many daughters in a hope to have a male child, and after having one, spending far more on that male child. The girl child has little freedom to dress by choice and play, and is forced to believe from pre-adolescence that kitchen and bedroom are her workplaces for life. Many parents are averse to the idea of their girl child going to parlours or theaters and opting for friends, hobbies or even hairstyles of her choice.

Many parents do not spend upon the education of a female child, the “prime investment” goes in educating the male child even when the female child is smarter, intelligent and hard working.  A girl wanting to pursue higher studies is mentally raped by umpteen relatives who pressurise her parents into shame if she is not “married away” before 25 years of age. (RAMP syndrome: “Relatives Affected with Marriage Psychosis). The dreams of a female child are killed every moment, almost all her active life.  Most men in all fields opt that their wives “look after the kids and home” even if equally educated or better in some cases. While some recent generations encourage equality, this is only urban. A girl is trained to think and say “ I enjoy staying at home and looking after the family as this is what a woman is supposed to do. It is okay for the husband to come home tired or drunk, hit me if angry, and in general to take me perpetually for granted”.

Let a grown up girl walk on any street in India and watch our “manly” public’s eyes following her. You will understand how many of them truly respect women. Let a woman grow socially or at work, and observe the comments of her colleagues about her character. Let a woman decide to marry for love, and there are open decrees to kill her. In a country which runs local trains with one out of ten coaches for women, and reserves four out of twenty seats for ‘ladies’ in a bus, how many people really care for equality of a female foetus and it’s life? In a country where women have to be elected by reserving electorates across male-dominant cultures, who will enforce respect of a poor girl child?

In a society which wakes up to graphic contents of rapes and murders of females aged few months to upto seventy years, how many will stand up actually when a female is being raped or murdered? It is easy to shoot hate content against an educated, civil, non-violent community of doctors. It is easy to blame an entire profession for the faults of a few greedy doctors. Do these “pseudoactivists” have enough courage to stand up against their own female-enslaving culture? Do they have courage to treat their own wives, sisters and daughters at par with men in their own family/ community?

 On every street in every metropolis, hundreds of children – girls and boys- are made to beg naked, dancing, cleaning cars and ever hungry. Where are all the activists who fight for the agony of unborn female foetus? What are your plans for the already born female children begging insecure across the country on every street? Also, one wonders about their views on “male foeticide”, a common abortion. How come male child murders are forgiven? Some of these “pseudoactivists” are like typical orthodox husbands, who flirt with their female colleagues at work talking about freedom, but take an offence when their wife talks to other men.

Female foeticide is ugly, bad blot on our society. It must end. But please stop pinning the entire blame on the medical profession. The facts mentioned above are enough proof that even without the doctor being involved, our society continues to be extremely unjust and cruel to women. Introspect. The female foetuses must be saved. But after their birth they must also be nurtured, loved, respected, treated with genuine equality and given equal socio-cultural freedom. Do these activists have guts to fight for that? There should be a precondition for every “activist” of this cause to adopt at least one girl child, and look after her proper food and education giving her complete freedom.

Activism for females should not stop once they are born.

PS: The radiologists and gynaecologists / obstetricians have a lot more practice beyond and unrelated to abortions, and are far more human in caring for women than most of the society. None of the doctors starves without this “abortion business” as claimed by some activists and media. In a country where there is huge shortage of expert doctors, it is ridiculous that they have been made the easy targets for everyone’s mudslinging.  

Jai Hind.

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

 

Negligence cases deserving severe punishment.

Negligence cases deserving severe punishment.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

A police sub inspector in civil dress, his wife and three kids aged 8, 5 and 1 were brought to casualty. All profusely bleeding. My job as an intern was to secure IV line and stop bleeding. As the CMO questioned the PSI, we all realised as suspected from the stink that the police officer was drunk. He had run into a braking truck from behind. One kid and the wife died the same night. He created a ruckus in his drunk state, threatening to kill everyone in the casualty. “If my wife dies, I will see to it that your life is ruined” he threatened to the CMO. The CMO kept on doing his duty, stressed and hurt. We were all real scared next few days. Everyone sympathises with such a loss. No one will aid or enjoy anyone’s death in a hospital.
Then why this curse of blames?

“This happened due to that doctor’s wrong treatment” : common words now heard in many clinics daily. Who causes maximum deaths due to negligence? Can only a doctor cause medical negligence? No.

These medical negligence cases must be punished too, with bad press, crores of rupees in fines, and public humiliation. You be the judge who is guilty:

Teenager son of an MLA. Played with wild snakes as a hobby, proudly encouraged by this MLA. Bitten by a cobra, landed in icu critical. A patient on ventilator was ‘shifted out early’ to accomodate the MLAs son.

Doctor advised a blood thinning medicine to prevent clots after diagnosing clotting disorder,. Patient went with her husband to a quack, took unknown herbal medicine and stopped blood thinner. Developed strokes, now in a vegetative state.

Patient advised to quit alcohol,,as it caused fits. Counselled with family and friends. In a week had alcohol with same friends, had fits, died in casualty.

Diabetic, told to control diet, continued to binge-eat sweets, lovingly cooked by wifey. Landed in coma due to very high blood sugars.

Pet dog, unimmunised, bit many on the same day, the dog died in three days. One diabetic patient bit by this dog died of sepsis / infection (not rabies). Immense horror among the ten-odd families of bitten members till date after a year.

Kid aged 14, parents allowed him to ride two wheeler on road without licence, killed on spot colliding with a truck. Toddler unwatched on the road died, run over by a truck.

60 year old Mother has giddiness for three days, son and daughter in law not free till fourth day to take her to hospital. Dies in casualty due to stroke.

Patient advised not to fast as it may increase chances of having fits. Fasted and landed in ICU with status epilepticus (a series of continuous fits).

Traffic police at a crowded junction busy with his “routine” away from his spot. Head on collision, two dead.

Unfortunately, in almost all above cases, the treating doctors were beaten up, casualty staff and hospitals vandalised, doctors sued, bad press judged an entire profession almost like a criminal, for not saving the victim.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Often the relatives refuse to take patients to higher centers, expecting “big, advanced treatments and impractical outcomes” from low-cost, small nursing homes not equipped with specialty facilities, then end up vandalising or blaming such set-ups upon inevitable disappointment. Missed medicine, overdose, unobserved children, helpless neglected elderly parents, smoking, alcohol, traffic accidents all cause millions of deaths. So do delayed admissions, some herbals and “unknown” medicines, hunger, poverty, stress at home and workplace.

But it is the “death in hospital” that alone matters, and by default the blame is pinned upon the doctor!

Some actors can kill, rape, go naked, smoke, drink, race, gamble, pee in public, set records for drunken misdemeanours on and off screen, knowing that most illiterate and immature populations imitate them blindly. But they will tell the nation how the medical profession (for which they themselves did not opt in spite of excellent merit in school or in some cases even college) should behave and treat patients!

The few honourable judges who have now realised the “blackmail potential” of medical negligence cases, have fortunately started referring these cases to panels of medical experts before concluding and fixing charges. The only maturity issue that remains is about local goons and politicos with flitting loyalties looking for publicity at the cost of the harmless and intellectual population of doctors. These goons turn the helpless frustration, panic reaction towards tragedy and poverty of our society into anger against doctors and hospitals. As long as there are sane people in the responsible media, there is good hope.

Doctors must start recording without bitterness, any hostile tendencies, lies, deviation from duties towards the patient, advised and declined tests and treatment, neglect and avoidance patterns to provide adequate care for the patient by the relatives. Also the exact circumstances of onset of the problems (patient was drunk / drugged / under medication effect / fasting / missed medicine) etc. and relevant past that may have contributed to the event. This will minimise the allegations and misrepresentation of facts.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Ofcourse the doctors must also discharge their duty with the highest standards of practice possible in their set-up. They must communicate well and explain the condition atleast once to the concerned relatives. They must behave courteously, sympathetically and try to understand and forgive the panic states of relatives within the sphere of civilised behaviour. We all love our patients. But like in every other relationship, we fail to say it aloud and make it clear with our behaviour, thanks to heavily stressful and inadequate lives we lead. Let us make an effort on our side to take one more step in the direction of kindness and understanding, in a hope of saving this profession from defamation at the hands of middlemen.

Let us make a greater effort to tell the society that it is only a doctor who will never intend harm. The only reliable rescue from the clutches of death, even a doctor fails sometimes. The effort has to be recognised if not always rewarded, but never suspected.

Negligence, you see, is easy to pin only upon the doctor.
All others are forgiven any number of deaths in all other types of negligence.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Please share without editing and with credits.

“Why can’t the doctor be more compassionate, spend more time with patients?”

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“Why can’t the doctor be more compassionate, spend more time with patients?”

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Ms. Bonnie Wilson asks:
“When are doctors (not all) going to grow some compassion or least show some and listen to what we actually have to say and maybe spend just a few more minutes to get to know the patient a little bit???? Then maybe more patients would appreciate their doctor more. I’ve been fighting a disease for 16 years now and a lot of doctors don’t even spend five minutes with you. Only speaking from many years of experience as a patient”.

Dear Ms Wilson, thanks for asking this question, it helps me introspect.

Simple answer:
Give the doc a patient who pays as per time and skill required for the consult, and they will spend an entire day with that patient. Give the doc a patient who writes down “Doctor, I have complete faith and trust in you, do your best to treat me, I promise not to sue you or blame you if in the course of my treatment something goes wrong. I respect your intention, and know that you are a human being capable of mistakes, I will be compassionate to you too.”, and they will cross all barriers to help / satisfy that patient every which way medically feasible.
Also add “I will endlessly wait in the doctor’s waiting room till the earlier patient smiles and leaves”.

Not possible? There you are!
In the 15 years of medical training, we hear innumerable sermons about being compassionate and “Listening to and Understanding” the patient. We have always learnt and taught in medicine to “Listen” carefully, so most doctors attempt this in practice, not all keep it up. Some learn the knack to “extract” the correct info to work faster.

Now imagine the Doctor’s side.

How long is “Little longer”?
75% patients really don’t have the sense of time when they talk about their illness. Instead of being to the point and realizing that this is a “professional consultation”, they go on to recite unnecessary over description / umpteen repetitions of the same complaints, even after the doctor jots them down, with confused details of their own symptoms, changing them often. Some tell their own interpretations about each of the symptoms, and complete detailed conversations that they had with their family / other doctors about those symptoms. Many ask the doctor to repeat long explanations, then some relatives ask it again. Many revise prescription medicines at least three-four times, in spite of writing down correct instructions. Many keep blaming the doctors and crying in our cabin for “incurable” disease diagnoses, thinking that the doctor is hiding good treatment for want of more money! We sympathize and explain, but cannot go on all day, especially if other patients are waiting anxiously for their turn.

Many patients fumble, forget, come disorganized (this is super-exaggerated in India, where there is no unified health record system, and patients carry messed up bundles of test reports / case sheets from many different specialists). Most (even literates) come without even the list of currently ongoing medicines, then call their family from doc’s cabin to enquire about these, and then the huge discussion about spellings, content etc. consumes double the scheduled time of consult, while other patients wait and complain. There is total lack of awareness of one’s own health responsibilities, even those who spend hours chatting in the waiting room don’t organise their thoughts or make notes for the consult, wasting time with the doc in “recalling” things!

In the western world too, there are many patients who go on describing the “unnecessary detail”, some talk too much, some talk slow, take a long time to recall and answer, and mostly come “unprepared” for the consult, without noting down questions they want to ask, and symptoms / medicines they want to discuss. Then the innocent “recalling” in the doctor’s cabin is quite irritating for the overworked doctors.

The third and the most difficult category of patients: the “over-prepared” patients / relatives, who have hyper-googled every symptom, every medicine and then come with a huge (and mostly irrelevant) list of questions about their minor symptoms. Stupidest of the claims on the internet are then discussed unnecessarily, and the frightened patient / relative really test the patience of the doctor. They are seldom satisfied with anything or anyone.

At what price?
Enter medical insurance. Enter the “Charitable Labelling” of healthcare in India, where iPhone will cost the same as in USA and UK, but the superspecialist doctor trained in USA/UK/Canada/ Australia etc. (with his own life, merit and money) must charge as per the basic general practitioner and local socio-political expectations. So the doctor has no freedom to charge the consult as per time required.

Result: more time translates into less income, worldwide.

Reaction of the society: So what if you earn less? You are a doctor. You are a spiritual saint who just earns in goodwill and respect, converts that by magic into money and then we charge you everything including taxes in cash! We all can dream luxury and good life, you can’t!

My question: What’s in it for the doctor in spending more (extra) time with the patient?

It is a pleasure for the good doctor to spend more time, explain in detail and compassionately listen to each patient, but then he/ she returns home to piles of unpaid bills and an unhappy family. Most Indian specialists don’t even afford their own home by the age of 40! Most western doctors are frustrated by the dictat of insurance companies that for a decent earning, they must see higher number of patients. No insurance company pays a good doctor better.

As for Compassion issue:
I have some really innocent questions to ask patients / society:

1. When any doctor was prosecuted for medical negligence in some case, how many times has any patient openly said “This doctor was very good to me”? Many doctors prosecuted must have saved hundreds of lives. Who stood by them when their careers were ruined by single mistakes? How many patients whose life they saved offered to help with the compensations the punished docs had to pay?

2. How many times did society / luminaries / media show compassion to the needs / plights of medical profession? Underpayment and Overwork, Victimisation and Insecurity are universal in this profession. Who showed any compassion ?

3. Can you be compassionate to someone who is being a “Customer” with the right and threat to sue you for an amount that will ruin your life, reputation, career and family? Can you be compassionate to someone who suspects every motive of yours, cross checks everything you say, argues with you, threatens you, does not have faith in you and will forget you the day their health problem is over, only to return when they need you again?

4. Can you be compassionate to someone who records your words of reassurance and uses them against you as a legal proof of “misguiding”? Can you talk nicely to someone who treats you arrogantly, mannerlessly and looks down upon you as a “Money maker” rather than a respectably educated hardworking Doctor?

Indian Docs carry the whole burden of the country’s mismanaged healthcare system upon their shoulders. Millions of poor, unaffording patients are RIGHT NOW being treated by thousands of doctors FREE. Most patients get better than not.
But
When the uneducated filmstars rubbish the whole profession to prove themselves tall, some movie claims that doctors treat dead bodies to earn more money, no one speaks a word against it. Why?
When senior doctors who spent lifetime serving the poor are wrongly suspended by politicians without any enquiry, not a peep from the society.
Why?
When doctors are killed, attacked upon, and abused, media justifies / glorifies such events.
Why?
Some of the senior doctors cannot stop talking ideal, even at the cost of their children’s lives. “Spend more time with the patient, be more compassionate” they say. I agree.
But we never hear from them when a doctor is killed. They are never seen defending those doctors who faced 12 crores worth compensation punishments, when laws like PCPNDT send young and old doctors directly to jail for documentation errors. It is very fashionable and hip to be a hypocrite and speak what people like. To understand any issue, there is a simple formality: think of both sides. Who thinks about the Doctor’s side of the story?

There is a worldwide notion: that doctors are guilty of earning more money by wrong means like hurrying. For those who think this, I have one question: Which Doctor in the world has more money than the price of YOUR life? If they save you, they are blamed for high charges. If they don’t save you, they are sued for unbelievably stupid compensations. This is the paradox: that lost lives have become costlier, saved lives don’t matter anymore.

There of course are a few greedy doctors, who need to improve. These are few and a shame.

The real tragedy of our faithless lives is this: Nobody ever thinks that a doctor may really be working faster and harder to help more patients rather than to earn more money!! He/ She may be struggling with his / her loans, sacrificing his/her own health and family time, fighting frustration, but still listening day-in and day-out to crying, complaining people merely out of the wish to relieve their agonies.

What price is the time you are away from your family? What price is years of sleepless nights? What price is the mental trauma of seeing dead bodies every day? What compassion did any doctor get for these, from media, judiciary, society, anyone?

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

PS: Less time does not mean wrong diagnosis or approach. Mostly it means “Cut off talk to bare minimum interaction necessary for this consult”.

@ Bonnie Wilson, thanks for the opportunity you created for me to answer this concern. While this is not a personal reply, I agree with you that more time and compassion will go a long good way, but then both sides need to introspect and change.
RD

The Critical Diagnosis of the Indian Doctors

The Critical Diagnosis of the Indian Doctors: Doctor’s day special.

This article is also a test of how our society tolerates truth.

Recently read a flash news about Eminent Doctors taking cuts / referral fees. There cannot be any justification. But if a whole system based upon corruption, a whole society facing inflation expects only one of its components to be sane, it’s insanity. Hence these thoughts.

I apologise in advance if this hurts some feelings. This isn’t a placebo though.

For the “Nautanki” people who appear so shocked to hear about corruption in the Medical field, here’s the naked truth:

There is corruption in every aspect of every field including religion, law and judiciary, government, politics, police, press, military, film industry, YOUR FIELD, and also medicine, as the doctor is a part of this very same society, not from Mars. There is corruption in every aspect of medical field: referring a patient, lab tests, CT/MRI, Surgeries, Cross referrals, almost everything.

But as in every field, there are people who do it by choice, there are some who have to be a part of the system to survive in India, and some who refuse to be a part of it all, facing many other problems including a perpetually low income.

Think Simple: why would a person with highest of merit, hardest of hard work, tendency for helping others want to become corrupt? Not by choice. No one becomes a doctor for greed (Someone might attempt, but these people drop out in the first six months or a year: Those not dedicated to a hard life cannot endure medical education in India).

Every doctor wants to do good to his patient and also live a decent life. After a lifelong meritorious career, why should he be expected to toil in villages / rural areas without any rewards for it? Why should he not want his kids to go to the best schools? Why should he not want a decent lifestyle? Why should one give up a lucrative career in the west and return to the homeland feeling patriotic, to just be told that in your own country you are doomed to a life of sacrifices just because the society expects so?

“Someone who wants money should not become a doctor” said a dropout actor who is seen doing all immoral things (from peeing openly in a garden for press in real life to cruel crimes and revengeful murders on film: while running a show to change India to an ideal country.. I hope he and his family only use Indian things, medicines etc.). Why?

Why should a doctor not want money for a decent life? Why should he endure the humiliation of so many non-meritorious people from his class livin in luxury because they chose not to be  a doctor, while he chose the noble profession?

Listening day-in and day-out to patient’s problems, tears, cries, allegations, threats, and expectations, not ever having a peaceful sleep for a week at a stretch, not eating in time, not having enough time for family, why should a Doctor NOT want to earn well?

We are not supposed to refuse a case in emergency. Do the Judiciary or Police or Politicians do that?

We are fined crores for medical negligence. What if the Judge is wrong? What if the police are wrong? What if the politician is wrong? What do they pay even when proven wrong? Why the presumption that the negligent doctor’s intention was bad? Negligence is possible in all fields (reactors/ bridges/ buildings/ food/ trains/ public transport), can cost life in many, how come the doctor alone pays in crores for a life that he was attempting to save, while in all other cases the motive was profit, not saving life…?

How come the judges decide the amount of fine? In a recent case, the fine was in crores. If the patient had survived, would the court have ordered the same payment for the doctors? Doctors  save millions of lives. Some through heroic / exceptional efforts, without thinking of rewards. If a young patient is saved, shall we charge according to all the income he can make all his remaining future? Than why this criteria for fines?

World has become a global village. People travel to the developed world often. Highly specialised doctors in India are expected to be at par with their western counterparts. They often are, because half the world travels to India for medical advice.

But the Indian community is yet to awaken to the Doctor’s fees. An average specialist in the developed world charges between 10,000 to 30,000 INR for the first consult. Appointments are very difficult to get. They don’t work out of 8 am -4 pm slots except in emergencies (some honourable exceptions).  And yet they get so many benefits from the hospitals they work at, and also from the government. THEY SEE NO FREE PATIENTS. Most doctors live in luxury in the western world.

An Indian doctor on an average charges 300 rupees for an OPD patient. Sees many free patients (almost 40-50%) everyday. Continuously has to be occupied with:

  1. Patient’s health and benefit
  2. Relative’s expectations, their anger (many think that every patient must get well irrespective of his / her health status). Many hold the doctor responsible for their illness / failure to improve/ complications.
  3. Continuous suspicion: Many patients think Doctors are out to loot! Every investigation is with an intention to get more profit out of the patient. They want the best, but like “sabji”, they want to bargain.
  4. There is also a widespread belief that pharma industry is actually serving the doctors, not patients.
  5. Google searchers who think they know better medicine just because of what they recently read about a tiny drop in the ocean of medicine. They eat up a lot of time, but don’t want to pay for that additional time.
  6. The very relatives who shout at the doctor seldom know what medicines the patient is taking: it is all supposed to be the doc’s responsibility.
  7. So many Toms, Dicks and Harrys coming over and threatening: this is everyday nuisance in ALL casualties in India. There is no sensible Director in Bollywood to have realised a Doctor’s plight while working under threat in casualty. Everyone loves the populist “Doctor-Threatening” hero!

Then the seemingly innocent weapon (The secret bleeding wound in many a Doctor’s heart!!)

“But Doctor, You are like God / Next to God. The whole society respects you”

That respect is divine for us, that respect and the satisfaction of doing something godly by saving lives, helping people live better lives alone keeps us from going on and not quitting the profession for better incomes. Don’t you think we had the options of making more money had we used our talents elsewhere, especially in today’s IT world?

But that respect does not substitute for our children’s fees. Not for our rents, electricity, travel ANY expense. Almost all doctors and their family members end up paying full bills for themselves at the very hospitals that they work in… some minor exceptions. Everywhere a doctor goes, he pays the same money that any other citizen. There isn’t a separate queue for a doctor anywhere in any office just because he / she has patients waiting. There is no pension. There is no security. I can show you some highly successful (in patient care) ethical doctors who can’t pay for their own treatment TODAY!! If a doctor is sick, his / her income is zero as long as he does not work: No one cares if he has treated hundreds for free.

The respect does not substitute for the stress a doctor bears: of years of listening to and attending pain and tragedy, years of sleepless life, fasting days, lost precious time with dear ones.. as with anyone else, the DOCTOR ALSO HAS ONLY ONE LIFE… WHICH HE CHOOSES TO SPEND HELPING OTHERS.. is it a crime to be living well for such a person?

As for the other side:

There are corrupt doctors, corrupt practises. But please understand, a single doctor did not create them, nor did a group plan them These developed over time as the system evolved.

Like in every field, there are greedy among doctors. They ruin the reputation. But a single doctor cannot do anything. Those who try to change the system are boycott, thrown away, maligned.  There are some continuously fighting this.

Every doctor cannot afford to start a hospital of his own. He has to choose a specialty hospital which has all the facilities to practice his specialty. These come at a price. I appeal the people who feel bad about investigation prices to just enquire the rates of the machines/ skills/ licences/ manpower/ maintenance required to make these facilities available. The government makes it compulsory to attend many of its employees free / at subsidized rates, and never pays.. who will pay for them?

So hospitals have their systems. A single doctor cannot change them.

The Medical councils do not have any protocol / system to protect a doctor who faces vindictive attitude from hospitals if he / she wants to argue. Many specialists DO NOT RETURN TO INDIA OR HAVE ALREADY LEFT INDIA AFTER RETURNING due to this one reason.

Doctors who want to run their own hospitals face same bribery, same licencing scams, same corrupt government practices that any other business does. The rates are probably higher, and the regulations stricter.

Doctors are a weak vote bank., hence not on priority of any party. It is more practical for the politicians to openly criticise the doctor / profession in hope of gaining public sympathy / attention. No one wants to attend to their problems, which are many.

The medical council never protected any doctor against court cases or hospital victimising them for fighting against corruption. The regulations made are ancient, primitive. When a whole medical system is corrupt in almost every step, they have taken the approach of superficial actions against individual cases: typically populist. The medical councils KNOW every aspect of corruption, but have opted to fit in some screws where the whole building needs extensive repairs. One’s degree and education of fifteen years becomes meaningless in the eyes of medical council just because there is delay in renewal of licences. How can rules be applied only partially in a system? While many people practice without degrees or knowledge, the councils choose to target the qualified for not renewing their licences: a process that involves acquiring CME points, the money for most such events, travel etc comes from pharmaceuticals, the patient pays: they do not have the online option of CME / licence renewal like most western countries, even in this advanced age! So a doctor is expected to leave his town and practice, get involved in events sponsored by pharmaceuticals, travel with help from pharma companies, stay in hotels with their money so as to renew his licence. But not online. And there is no compulsion that he has to attend the event for his specialty. So a Neurologist could attend a gynaecology event just for CME points and its ok for the renewal!! One can easily get such CME credits without attending the event!  There has to be an online option, or a rethinking of this whole business.

The whole Mediclaim business in India is a fraud: they don’t pay for

  1. OPD consultation / investigations of a patient.
  2. Patients with genuine illness, but without injectables or surgery.
  3. When they do not understand the diagnosis or the fact that some cases do not have a proper diagnosis.
  4. Emergency / Critical care / Specialist charges etc.
  5. Even when they pay, it is their choice how much.

This results in many a wrong practices.

So in a mediclaim case, no one benefits except the company: Patients, Hospitals, Doctors all lose. Still, the Medical councils do not want to do anything. In fact, they don’t have a say.

Add to these:

Incessant calls / emails/ wtsapp messages for any enquiries that pop up in the patient’s or relatives (usually the cousin in America) mind at any time of the day or night: and bitter words to follow if reply is delayed. (That doctor has advised so so… what is your opinion?… I just read on google about stem cell therapy to improve my anger… what say? Etc. etc.).

Then there are sons and daughters who stay in US / UK etc., but leave their parents back in India. They expect the same care but at a low price, and also a daily update by the treating doctor. NO WESTERN DOCTOR GIVES OUT HIS CELLPHONE or EMAIL ID  TO PATIENTS, THEY KNOW THIS, but they talk from there as if fron the top of a mountain..They don’t want to come and attend their dying parents, but vent out this guilt in form of anger towards the treating doctor: Do everything doctor, don’t worry about the money.. I am unable to come to attend my MOM because of business meetings/ no tickets / kid’s exams etc. I lose my patience here often.

If a Judge / lawyer is ever reading this article, Your Honours, please consider these when you next fine crores to a doctor (even if insured, he has to pay huge:

A doctor should not be held negligent if

  1. The patient does not follow advice as written
  2. Patient continues to drink / smoke / eat tobacco/ does anything that the doctor has prohibited.
  3. Does not follow up as directed (most patients miss their follow up dates: doctors are supposed to jump from illness to illness).
  4. Does not show the same care towards his own life that the doctor is expected to take.
  5. Has not given all correct information about himself / herself / his/ her illness
  6. Hidden some information from the treating doctor.
  7. Has lost treatment details.
  8. Self medication / cross consultation without knowledge of the earlier doctor, resulting in multiple medications.
  9. Has had unknown allergies / reactions in the past.

There should be a doctor’s board for each specialty which opines about every particular medicolegal case before the court makes its final decision.

I always wanted to be a good doctor, like most other colleagues I know. I have always heard the courts of justice demand that one speaks the truth.  Here it is. Hope I am not punished. I am not always correct, I am sure some of my friends will correct me. I will keep learning too.

A warning. When the whole medical system becomes non corrupt, patients will end up paying far higher consultation / surgical fees than what is paid now. This is inevitable. Add the legalities to everything, and many specialists will become non-affordable / non available to most. The many many who get free treatment now will be denied that.

Or the next generations will see less and less specialists opting to settle in India.

I love my profession. I Love my country. I love my patients too.

But I also deserve a good life. It is time I stop thinking I am God because the society has presumed so.

May God confer best of health upon all humanity.  May I always do good to my patient.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Question from a young Indian doctor who just passed out MBBS:

Question from a young Indian doctor who just passed out MBBS:

GM Sir.
I am pursuing PG after MBBS. I follow your posts regularly. I have a question: Does the passion we have to actually become doctors and serve society and those who need us actually fade away? Many of my friends tell me that there’s nothing like passion, only money matters after a while, and I should choose a degree which ensures good income. If so, sir, then the corporate culture must be right… the more you earn the better.. Then I would be happy to not pursue the PG and start clinic in villages and be happy with it.. Sorry for the long question but I feel I could get an answer.

Dear nextgen doc:
This answer is going to hurt many within and outside the profession. It will also expect your mature interpretation of what is being said. I beg forgiveness of those who find this unpleasant. In the first part I will mention some established facts, in the second I will offer my suggestion to the ever intelligent younger generation, which is always known to fight and improve upon the situation.

Facts as of now:

1. There is a huge difference in talking “Ideal and Good and Moral and Ethical” and actually doing it, and unfortunately we are in a society which blinds itself to this difference. Our society likes people who confidently talk about good and moral, while it harshly punishes / destroys those who try to unveil truth or hypocrisy. This is why the concept of “service to the society” is to be carefully interpreted.

2. By saying “ I want to do social service and help the poorest of the poor patients”, we also accept and sanction that this class will always be present in the society. It is a class created by the failures of society and government, not the doctors. If this class was not there (as in if the rural healthcare policies were worked upon and implemented without only the doctors being held responsible for them.. doctors don’t create patients or poverty), most Indian population would see dramatic evolution of better healthcare in India.

3. I do not see many passionate doctors now. Most who started out with the golden dream of living a respected, settled life and social gratitude for serving humanity are frustrated coping up with their rents, children’s school fees, mid-size car loans, restrictions and new rules by governments that leave the rich and powerful doctors and corporates out but shred the careers and lives of individual / small / middleclass medical practitioners.

4. The society or the government does not care if a doctor who has served it dies of poverty/ sickness / accident / occupational risk etc. There is no example of a good doctor’s family having been helped by society after his / her death. There is no insurance / protection / retirement benefit in return of medical social service of a doctor.

5. If it was only a question of serving and earning respect, let me tell you that patients make their own selfish choices always, and there is nothing wrong in that. But they will seldom stand by you in case of any mistake / problem you face, beyond curiosity and sympathy. On top of this, you are at the wish and whim of different laws, rules, regulations etc made by those who neither studied medicine nor practiced it especially in villages (from IAS to clerical class). They can call/ humiliate / dictate/ transfer / ask for bribe / disrespect/ ask personal favours / and still treat you like servant irrespective of whether you have done Nobel-prize-worthy social service.

6. A culture of choosing high-earning postgraduate seats has been encouraged in India, a nation of perpetually poor / low income intellectuals, who often have to avail of loans for education, and grow up with the natural desire of living a good, respectable and comfortable life, like everyone else. Government, Parents, teachers, senior doctors, etc., everyone has silently witnessed this process over years. However, we also have a highly pseudomoral society which expects service and honesty at the cost of a doctor’s life, without providing for his/ her needs according to his / her socio-intellectual standing, hardwork and skill. So whatever your education be in medical field, if you follow all laws and criteria of patient satisfaction, the equation is pretty screwed up: that you cannot see more than 20 patients in a day, you cannot refuse a nonpaying patient, you cannot advertise as an individual and so have no way to compete with hospitals who can advertise as they wish, the ethics and morals that individuals must follow do not apply to hospitals. There are umpteen impractical restrictions by governments, medical councils, even upon the most critical surgeries / procedures. This all restricts the income way too much, thus encouraging malpractice. Lower income PG seats are the last choice, and the PGs which have procedues / surgeries have become a choice because of multimodal incomes in these. Naturally, medical care is becoming more invasive. Also the pseudoawareness of the educated about medical procedures makes things worse as they think that the “best” must also come cheapest.

7. Very few of our earlier generation doctors feel responsible in any way for not having fought the evolution of medical profession to the state it is in today.. Success is measured by many a desperate doctors as medallions from the government, money and big hospital buildings, social and media image of a “Godman or Messiah” etc.. they have the money (how? Does not matter), they have the fame (for being present longest in the field… from a time there was no competition or even rules), so they go on advising moral and ethical floral bouquets to the younger generation docs publicly, but aimed at pleasing the media and the low intellect masses that highly depend upon the media to form their opinion. I would like to know how many “Rich and Famous” doctors from earlier generations have helped younger generation needy doctors with money / scholarships for higher education. Most PG seats have been created to earn more by selling degrees.

May I suggest:

Never underestimate your passion. It is the most important thing in life to pursue. But first, know your correct passion/ calling without thinking of something to impress others: you should be able to live with it irrespective of what people say about it, and you should be able to accept perpetual failure for that one passion: then alone it qualifies as your true passion. Finances / fame and social acceptance are not the aims of any passion.

The decision to live a life of low income / poverty is not easy, and is to be made only with the consent of your dependents / family: they did not sacrifice their active life so you cannot take care of them in their needy times. Your duty to take good care of your parents / children cannot be neglected. You may choose to pursue your passion without compromising upon your responsibilities. You will have a husband or wife and kids to grow, and it will be great injustice to your kids if you don’t provide them with a good and healthy childhood and education. Which Indian village has this? Also, for a good married life, you need to spend time with your spouse, otherwise you are doing him / her injustice.So if you have to do social service, do not marry or have children.

If your passion is for medicine, do not combine it with social service. Take your degree, go for higher education or research (both of which are pathetically lagging atleast 15 years behind the developed world, and no one is ashamed of this) and make India proud by working in a developed country which does justice to your medical talent.

If your passion is to medically serve the Indian poor patients, do not expect any financial remuneration, recognition or respect. I will personally respect you as a form of God, like the thousands who are actually doing this right now, all over India, without any recognition. Some of these are in govt service, some small individual and some hospital practitioners. Few with good connections get prizes / medallions / recognitions etc, and most of them either at the fag end of career (not because of their work, but the years they spent), or if they are rich. But then be prepared like myself to have to apply for loans, beg financial favours from people who will advise you about career and take advantage of you every which way they can.

I had made a conscious choice to return to India after the highest education as a passion towards serving poorest of the poor, and I have been made to regret this choice by silent earlier generation doctors who didn’t care what happened to next generation (In fact, it is the senior generations in private practice who kill most of the active practice of their next generation by various tactics), an inert government which really does not care about public health or doctors in general, a corporate culture that works purely as a profit making business, impractical rules / regulations not contested by medical bodies, and a society which prefers not to look beyond immediate selfishness.

There is hope, I am optimistic still (that’s why I am still writing this, staying here). But we now need a medical revolution.

(C) Rajas Deshpande

PS
I absolutely do not mean any disrespect towards the senior generation, including my teachers, who made me what I am today. I only mean that most of those who were in a position and power to make changes, did not do so. I have seen closely the financial and social (sometimes legal) frustration of many teachers who had abilities, and skills of a world-class doctor, but had to live perpetually in a state of financial insecurities. In spite of this, they have always encouraged ethical and moral behavior from us students. I must mention at the same time that if I give an impractical advice, which will push my students into a life of desperation, frustration and dependence, I will feel guilty about it.

Please feel free to share on any platform without editing and with credit.

The Murdered Angels of India

The Murdered Angels of India

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande​

This simple looking girl in her early twenties walks into my OPD with her parents. They all are dressed up typically worker/ lower middle class, just enough to avoid obviously torn clothes. Everything humble, barely touching middle class, but very well behaved. She starts telling her father’s complaints in perfect English, and as good as a medicine resident doctor would perform in exams, she relates proper history in the correct textbook format, with a polite comment about examination findings. Definitely better than some US / Canadian / European students I had known would present.

“Are you a Doctor?” my curiosity was awakened by the accuracy of her medical description.

“ Yes Sir, I passed out MBBS from BJ, now doing my compulsory Medical Officership, then will try for PG”.

A hot knife cut my heart.

She will start PG in mid-twenties. She will marry sometime then, have children, raise family while slogging as a doctor, while girls her age fully live their life, proud and rich being a doctor, in most of the developed world. This lady will continue to carry the country’s healthcare burden till some arrogant minister / govt. officer / local politician or general public gets her suspended for not delivering results expected by them: like saving their alcoholic / smoker / aged/ chronically diseased, drug-defaulting, multi-pathy medicating relative admitted at the last moment at midnight after their party is over.

Or else she will keep on begging / applying at multiple corporate set-ups for a decent salary and opportunity, where fresh degree holders from all other nonmedical streams who couldn’t get enough merit to get into professional courses will make her stand in a queue, ask her for different certificates and proofs of ability, and some perfume-suited insulting CEOs will ask her of possible income she can generate, and any “procedural gimmick advantages” she has over others.

Or her teachers will give her sermons on social service being service to God, it being her duty lifelong to serve poor and illiterate helpless patients like they had done, neglecting any of her own desires, especially that of a good life. Or her own richer / well settled colleagues who earned wealth from prior generations will tell her to “Chill and take things easy”.

Or some court will send her to jail for documentation mistakes. Or peel off her degree as if it was bought undeserved by money.

Or worse, some bollywood or other celeb with a devastating past and glycerine tears will preach her how a doctor should be a good human being, and never think about money having chosen this profession.

And like a girl at night in the streets of our country, nobody will protect her.

Among billion-some population, mostly poor and illiterate, of a disease-ridden country where everyone in government, police, business continues to get richer by the day, judiciary and lawyers take eternity to conclude cases while millions keep on paying both handsomely, the medical fraternity is pushed into hell by all of these : PG students are exploited under the “teaching-learning phase” excuse, then medical officer in remote villages as a “social binding duty” (which lawyers, judges, engineers, ministers, IAS, IPS, all others can skip) without proper salary / remuneration (all other classes above have multiple “helpers” and other benefits). And when one emerges from all this “Hell”, they are left out in open, without any insurance / health or retirement benefits / holidays/ loans/ any form of help from any source, but a compulsion by law to attend all emergencies they may encounter, anytime, anywhere, lifelong, with punishment for not attending that emergency.

Why not apply the same to all three: ministers, judges and police: that you must attend to any emergency (state, legal or criminal) immediately, anywhere, anytime, all your life, punishable if you do not immediately act accurately and produce correct results always (judged by public!)? Also, write in capital letters accurately everything that happens, and handover a copy immediately, without being provided a clerk for assistance? Also, let people decide the salaries for ministers, judges, lawyers etc all professions, based upon people’s satisfaction, just as in case of doctors. Then again, let people file cases when they are not happy with the outcome. Let doctors also participate in the decision making of such cases.

Doctors understand law and administration as much as government and legal systems understand complicated, critical, superspecialty & specialty medicine!!

It is ridiculous that people who have no idea of what hardwork goes into making of a doctor make laws about medical profession , and have the audacity to suspend doctors at their wish and whim. The IMA / Medical Councils must strongly stand by and defend doctors who face threats, suspensions, injustice and unfair treatment by all and sundry. This is their first duty.

If the govt. spends upon the making of a doctor, it is not obliging the doctor, it is doing this for the society whose poverty, illiteracy and ill-health is the govt.’s failure, not the doctor’s responsibility. The govt. should learn to respect the merit of its own best students, extraordinary talents who also have the heart of gold to serve humanity via their talent and hardwork. It should encourage their well being and provide for their basic needs without pretending to do them a favour. There is nothing more shameful than this: that thousands of “MADE IN INDIA” doctors leave the country every year never to return, while it is being urged that the world must “Make in India”. Indian doctors practicing in other countries earn name, fame and wealth far beyond possibilities in India. They are far more productive in clinical, academic and research areas than those who stay back to tolerate Gutkha /Paan-eating, Gold-laden, Abusive Corrupt Free-monger Tyrants directly or indirectly in power!

It is a big joke that while most of the doctors slog in rural / backward India to fill up the govt’s failures with their blood and sweat, govt encourages corporate cultures and business houses in medicare, and accredition bodies further make things glittery so as to earn more! As if the millions of doctors practicing in small villages / towns/ cities on their own, (each one of whom is no less than any Nobel-winner as they spend an entire lifetime serving the poor) are worthless without such accredition! Who handles the thousands of epidemics / vaccinations / tubectomies / mother-child care and emergencies at the rural / grassroot / PHC / RH level? Do they have any accreditions? Does any govt hospital qualify for any accredition? Then why this new accredition business has suddenly cropped up where the patient and doctor are both harassed while others including mediclaim companies earn crores? On top of this, while everyone acts harshly against individual doctors and suspends them at the drop of a hat, the medical bodies are magically and tragically silent about corporate hospitals owned by big business houses, quoting that there are NO RULES against them, and medical councils are not authorised to take action against these big set- ups. They can get away with false advertising , harassment of doctors and even medical negligence without being acted upon by any medical body in India!! How pathetic and mean!! So anyone with money can form a medical company and start open advertisement about diabetes, heart disease etc., while the medical bodies will act only agsinst individuals who do so.

Even the few rich doctors in our country earn less than a tenth of what they could if they had chosen to practice in a developed country. Still almost everyone doubts the intentions of most doctors.

Coming back to the lady doctor in my OPD, I told her that her father may require an MRI as stroke was suspected. She hesitated for a moment, then her father asked in a shaking voice “How much will it cost? We have one thousand rupees only.” As I begged our kind Radiologist for another free MRI (Which she granted as always!), I avoided eye contact with the embarrassed family.

If a young meritorious MBBS doctor passing out from a premium government medical college (indicating highest standards of medical education in India) has to beg for basic medical facilities, while not being able to properly provide for her own parents, not only us as a profession that has failed to stick together to deserve respect and financial security, but the government, administrative bodies, medical bodies should all be ashamed of the state of affairs of medicine as a profession in India.

It is high time we demand “IMS” (Indian Medical Services) as an autonomous body to develop and control the medical services in India.

After all, Resuscitation is our prime duty.

(c) Rajas Deshpande

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