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Ishika Ghose

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Medicine is NOT an industry. The industrialisation of medicine should stop

The "industrialisation" of medicine is a recent phenomenon.
It has resulted in:
1. Unrealistic expectations of those who can afford it or have access to it.
2. It has taken away from providing "basic affordable" health care to millions and concentrated on "state-of-the-art" for a few.
3. It has diverted both medical teaching and medical practise from basic conversations with a patient to a series of "tests and investigations" which more often than not are designed to help those who "possess the equipment"
4. It has resulted in virtually complete loss of faith, between the treated and the treating , more litigation, paper work and time spent "covering every eventuality" as doctors
5. Like super-markets the "hospital chains" have taken common sense and good food away from local shops and farmers markets to concrete and glass structures where the "shopper" is bewildered and ends up spending more than she/he needs.

We need to understand that the vast majority of us do NOT need expensive, state-of-the-art medical care. We do not need to pay vast amounts of money to "insure" ourselves and neither do we need to pay vast amounts of money to live.

We need to make 80 % of medical care a 'corner-shop" , non-litigious, relationship of trust between doctor and patient.
We should try and stop the uncontrolled proliferation/continuation of the "medical hypermarket". and its attendant "industries --pharmaceutical, device manufacturing, medical tourism - and go back to the basics.

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  • May 29 2012: Hi Ishika,
    A few more thoughts to share:
    1. A medical college hospital would give one a floor bed if one happens to get admitted through the ER. Of course the filth, the flies and the stink comes free. And most survive, inspite of all these. But it's onty the people who don't have medical insurance who go to such facilities. And they are the teeming millions. The govt. gives two hoots about paying the doctors in health service a respectable salary by the current market standards, not taking into account the emergencies a doctor has to atted to and the nasty circumstances under which a doctor in a govt. hospital has to work. And the goons one has to face on duty as a doctor. We have had our share of this shit as residents, haven't we? Anyone in his/ her right mind and ability would refrain from joining the govt. health services as it is in West Bengal.

    2. So the other alternative is the corporate hospitals. And all providing tertiary care! Even when you don't need any. They are simply "evil". They exploit the patients and the doctors simultaneously! Asked some of my colleagues in such set-ups and know for sure that they blackmail you to prescribe to their fiscal needs, take part of (1/3) of your earning as service charge or whatever head that suits them. A doctor is also goaded to arrange seminars/ CMEs with the sole purpose of influencing the community-practicing doctors to send over "their more difficult patients".To awe them, convince them,confuse them and ultimately corrupt them. So the corporate doctor acts the salesman for the hospital; either naively or with guile. In return the corporate house will organise TV interviews and put ads (with photographs) of the "faithful" doctor in the dailes!!. The ethics booklet we were handed over on getting our medical registration from the MCI clearly states that a doctor is not to advertise his practice on the media. But he isn't doing it, the corporate hospital is! "What a wonderful world".Don't fight it ,escape it! Bye
    • May 31 2012: Subhanu
      Thank goodness there is TED to escape to! It is possible to be a part of either system and still not give in to it but it takes its own toll.

      The one thing which keeps me going is the fact that you and I deal with children. When a child I treated as a babe, thought it would never make the grade ,walks into my outpatients three months/years down the line looking wonderful it just makes my day! Its one reason I keep going. The other is that paediatric surgery is so fascinating --almost every week I see something I have never seen before and it sends me rushing to the books and journals and internet. Stimulating. What other profession allows us this ? A life-long interest in the subject we chose.
      I have opted out of the "industry". I refuse to opt out of what I chose as a profession. It is a philosophy more than it is a science - medicine.

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