The KHAMIR poison.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Doctor, we think that doctor treating my mom is giving her the wrong treatment. She is in the ICU, unconscious, for last three days” said the angry and crying son.
A 55 year old nice farmer lady with epilepsy, well controlled with two medicines, without fits for last three years had suddenly developed many fits / convulsions at home, and was now in ICU, ventilated because of the necessity to paralyse the patient to control fits (a common recommended treatment). Her brain had suffered damage due to lack of oxygen as breathing was compromised during fits.
As per their request I called to talk to the doctor treating her. She courteously explained that the patient was admitted after many convulsions, in an unconscious state, with dangerously low oxygen levels. The management since admission that she narrated appeared the correct one recommended in this case. “We will try to wean the patient off venti tomorrow” she said.
10 days later, the patient visited my OPD with her sons. Having known me earlier, the emotional lady held my hands and cried a while, thanking God for her rebirth.
“What happened on that day?” I asked her.
“Oh I had missed my antiepileptic (fits) medicine for five days.” She said.
“Why?” I asked agitated, as we clearly explain to every patient the importance of taking medicine regularly, in time, and stocking extra too.
“I live in a village. My son sends me this medicine from Pune. This time I told him a month earlier, but he couldn’t send it as he was busy”. Said the ever forgiving Mom.
I looked at the son. He said, semi guilty, “Doctor, I thought four five days of break in treatment would not make a difference. Also some people tell us that sometimes doctors prescribe unnecessary medicines for years, so we were confused whether she should continue. She had not had a convulsion for three years too”.
“Then why did you blame that ICU doctor?” I asked, still sizzling inside with hurtful anger.
“You can understand, Sir, we were emotionally disturbed as Mom was critical. Also, we had to spend a lot for her treatment”.
A case of brain cancer, stage 4. Headache neglected for years. MRI was delayed for months after the doctor advised it for headache. Then done at a free center by long awaited appointment. Multiple secondaries had caused block to the flow of brain water (CSF). Operated by one of the best reputed neurosurgeon, only to restore the lifesaving flow of CSF and obtain biopsy. It proved stage 4 cancer. Patient by now medically unfit for radiotherapy. The relative kept on asking: “Was the neurosurgeon wrong? Was the surgery done correctly?”.
Where do we bring faith and trust from, in this world where even brothers, sisters, parents are killed for money and most couples find it difficult to respectfully trust each other?
The more kindness the doctor shows, the more he/ she is taken advantage of. People look at every chance of not paying or paying less, and if paying at all, expecting a miracle with that payment. From someone they don’t trust.
In the widening valley between patient and the doctor, where trust is paramount, shows like Satyamev Jayate and some other media have further created a rift that has caused severe damage. This “KHAMIR” poison has really caused immense corrosive effect on this beautiful profession of intellectuals. Like other cheap “filmy” philosophies, conclusions by revengeful murders, the whole allegation game neglects the very high standards of education, compassion and sacrifice practiced by 90% Doctors in India and elsewhere.
Of course a logical analysis is not to be expected from someone not well educated. Many celebrities have been victims of the “genius grandiose” that money and fame brings.
The effect of this “Khamir poison”:
Many if not most patients now enter the hospitals with suspicion in their mind, and aversion for the entire process of consultation, paying fees, investigating, admission and taking treatment, all of which is a natural healthy process followed worldwide in all hospitals. Indian patients are unaware of how good the available specialist medical services are, at least in the urban/ semiurban areas, at the lowest costs anywhere in the world. Just because there are a few unfair practices (btw, most of which originated out of the policylessness and “charity for all” expectations from healthcare industry) and few greedy doctors, so many others suffer, doctors and patients too!
It takes 2 years to get an appointment of Joint replacement Surgeon, One year for a Neurologist, One year for a cardiologist, Three months to do an MRI, in most of the developed world. These can be expedited only in emergency, where one cannot have the choice of a specialist. This is mainly because they work 8-5 OPDs. Even senior docs in India work late nights and earn one tenth or less in most cases, to be available for anyone within a day irrespective of their financial / social status.
The notion that everything best in medical care should also be low priced or free is damaging the future of this profession. Add to this the loose talk by middle-school educated celebrities who have great hold on the illiterates / semi-literates, people who are angry at the govt., at their own poverty, unemployment etc., and find the “Intellectual, hardworking and doing comparatively better” class of harmless doctors an easy target to screw for their personal frustrations.
The “Khamir” poison is not a surprise, for it definitely stems from a desperate attempt to use one’s celeb status to cover for the lack of any serious academic achievements and intellect by attacking those who have these. What surprises is the willingness with which both the illiterates and literates swallow it, not knowing how harmful it is for themselves.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande