#Expensive-modern-health-care: Reminiscent of an ancient realm of medical regulation #Medical-lawsuits


With the evolution of medical science and medical care intertwined with  medical business, braided changes in  medical  regulation is not an far off expectation. But reticulation of evolution to modern medicine  and health care has not happened  in  isolation. Simultaneously there has been  progressively complex emerging trends in medical business and changing patterns of health investments along with an era of corporate investments in health care  has also ushered.  Every one now wishes  to live longer  and  dreams of better quality of life with support of progressive medical care.  Opportunities projected by advancements in health care, have shown that these dreams can be a real possibility, in many cases. That kind of perception has given patients a hope in lieu of some money. With rich people willing to spend more, the insurance sector and corporate invested money into health care, which was unthinkable few decades back in the  past.  This reticulation of business and  health care really took away the profession from control  of doctors. As it is no more simply treating a disease and involves many more issues.  New model of business in  health care is  still  not a mature process. It has emerged and progressed in  just  for few decades, as compared to  medical treatments and systems that existed since ancient times. It is still in infancy and still has to go a  long way to do real justice to every one.   No one really knows how to regulate this difficult area,  which encompasses life and death, deals with extremes of poverty and riches, mortality and morbidity, pain and  relief , sadness and happiness, smiles and sorrows and uncountable emotions, intertwines with financial aspects. Most difficult part is  amalgamation of  intricacies of science with minds of  patient and doctor’s skill in  newly evolved milieu of financial complexities.  Results are not encouraging for the profession.

 An effort to govern or  regulate the medical profession  is not new. Hammurabi  had initiated to  write the rules of the game. This single professional species was managed with cruel regulation 5000 years ago, that initiated a change in the global perception and regulatory system in radical and unprecedented ways.

Hammurabi,  5000 years ago,  was  not even at the   doorstep of medical science, but he  promulgated some rules. It is difficult to say whether he was naïve or  brilliant  enough to make it more mathematical. He fixed  heavy prize for saving lives and used to  cut the hands of physicians for death or untoward incident. But he was still wise enough to pay heavily if life was saved.   After thousands of years, with some scientific advancements, our regulation has remained more or less similar in basics. It is still based on principles of revenge and punishments. Now clearly  knowing well the limitation of medical science and the uncertainties and complexities of human body in better way, it still  remains  somewhat  unfair to doctors.  In other words, it has not attained enough  evolution and maturity.

  Hammurabi at the start of civilization believed that doctors needed to be punished in case there was poor prognosis. He failed to understand the complexity of human body and the limitations of medical  science, most of which was unknown at that time. By an application of average wisdom, doctor can be easily blamed for poor outcome, because he is always a common link between treatment and poor prognosis. Stricter punishments were imposed to  regulate medical profession, even  when the medical science was not even developed enough to deal with most of diseases.  Children are always taught in school that medical profession is a noble one. But they are never told, about the cruelty this profession has faced since ancient times.  Almost universally, the earlier work or contribution of  a doctor  to society is  not taken into account.  Even for complexities of medical science and uncertainties of the outcome, blame can  conveniently be  passed on doctors by application of average wisdom.

    Hammurabi’s Codex specified the harshest form of deselection of health providers possible. If the physician erred through omission or commission, his fingers or hands were cut off, immediately stopping his practice. Therefore, a single mistake can undo all the good work of past or the future good work that could have been accomplished. Problem here is that who can differentiate with certainty the real cause of sufferings of patient, a poor prognosis or a mistake.  Such  regulatory systems will dissuade  other good people joining the profession, again  resulting in  further inhibition and flourishing of profession for the good.  Obviously,  harsher  penalties will discourage a physician surplus.

Today the global  system of medical regulation, is becoming somewhat  similar, to those ancient regulations in  terms of punishment and revenge. Differential payment system for health care also resembles the Code of Hammurabi in some respects. And this is despite the fact that now we are very well conversant with the known uncertainty and complexity of the human body and despite cognizance of the poor prognosis in many disease states.

In an effort to institute  a  well controlled  healthcare, our society is in a way re-entering the realm of an ancient medical regulatory  system. Certain aggrieved health care consumers may welcome a move toward harsh penalties in the name of justice and simply for revenge but we need to keep in mind the  poor outcomes in complex diseases, limitation of science and of course the idiosyncrasies of the human body. Evolution of medical legal system and medical regulation has to evolve and mature, to enjoy  benefits of medical advancement to the fullest. Fear factors and  Impact  of present legal complexities,  on doctors  is  already on a par with that of  Hammurabi  era.

Re-blogged

Medical Consumer Protection Act: Root of “Us and Them Syndrome”. Effect on medical profession


In present scenario, when patient is no more “patient” and  defined as consumer, doctors is not more than a service provider. With  Medical Consumer Protection Act acquired roots,  the whole system of medical delivery  and healthcare has changed. Most striking is this  entire fiasco is the “Us and Them” syndrome that seems to afflicted  every one. Doctors are pitted against every one, for example,  Doctors vs administrators, doctors vs patients, doctor vs managers. From regulation, insurance and legal system, every change has affected doctors adversely. They have been reduced to just only one component  of the industry, who deliver care and remain at receiving end. Other important stake holder are patients. How this change has been beneficial for patients? Suppressed professionals  can be used to work more, get less paid and can be dragged to court. So fear of all kinds will make them more  careful. It should be a win-win situation for all, except doctors. Therefore everyone makes merry, while doctors sulk, except those who can mingle with the present scenario and act smart in  changed business and legal milieu.

reblogged

Negatives effect on medical profession: cons or disadvantages of  medical consumer Protection Act

  1. Promotes Defensive medicine: Every patient with any illness has potential to complications. Progression of any disease state can cause death.  If doctors start looking at every patient as a potential litigant, especially those who are dealing with very sick ones,  practice of defensive practice is a natural consequence. This may manifest as excessive investigations, more use of drugs and antibiotics  and even  sometimes even refusal to treat very sick patients. Worst scenario of excessive fear will be  refusal of very sick patients in emergency situations or non availability of doctors.
  2. Erosion of doctor-patient relationship: stray and occasional Incidents about negligence and the cases in courts or  their outcome are given wide publicity in media. People are unable to understand the correct  application of such stray incidents to themselves. But they always try to imagine themselves in the scenario applied. Because of prejudiced notions, a sense of mistrust gradually creeps in,  which then extends to and involves their own treating doctor .This sense of mistrust multiplies manifold whenever there is  some adverse or even small unpleasant  Ultimately doctor and patients move forward together with a strained relationship and the treatment goes on with a surmounting sense of mistrust.
  3.  Increased cost of care:   With the creeping in of practice of defensive medicine, there is a need to document everything and to offer everything possible in the world, leading to inflated  medical costs.  Insurance  companies and lawyers have positioned themselves in between. They charge everyone heavily for allaying the fears , both  patients(medical insurance, lawyer fee) and doctors(indemnity insurance, lawyer’s fee) alike. The vicious cycle of rising costs , need for insurance, medicolegal suits, high lawyer fee (for patients and doctors) goes on unabated. All these contribute significantly to overall increased cost of health care.
  4. Enhanced insecurity in medical profession : Needless to say,  consumer protection act has increased the anxiety  and insecurity in  the medical profession. One keeps wondering which patient will prove to be his bane and finish his total career or will result in professional hanging or a media trial, with these having real probability in today’s day to day practice.
  5. Unnecessary litigation: Legal cases can be put on doctors for various trivial reasons e.g  for sense of revenge or to extract money or simply for not having to pay for services.  In an era where family members , brothers and sisters fight for money, it will be naïve to think that idea of making money from doctor does not exist. These are further stoked by the incidents of previous high compensations granted  by courts .
  6. Increased paper work: excessive documentation and time consumption: crucial and large chunk of time of doctors and nurses, goes in completing documentation. Needless to say, this time previously was dedicated solely to patient service. Management is now-a days more worried about completing paper work as well. Initially it was a symbolic documentation , but now there is requirement of mammoth paper work. It leads to consumption of time  that was meant for real discussions for the benefit of patients.
  7. Doctors used as scapegoats for revenge : Any unsatisfied patient can vent his anger by putting complaint or case  against the doctor .  This is done to some extent for revenge or  trying to find some   human factor which can be punished. Not uncommonly doctors are used as  scapegoat to have  a concession on the patient treatment by health organizations. Everything can be easily put on doctors as they are universal final link to a patient’s treatment and adverse effects.
  8. Distraction of doctors from the primary point of intention:  Nothing else ever has  distracted doctors  more than these medico-legal cases and punishments. In many cases, saving themselves becomes more important than saving a patient. Uncertainty of prognosis, grave emergencies and split second life saving and risky  decisions which may later be proved wrong by retrospective analysis, complex  medico-legal situations are endless distractions that have creep in and are enough to distract doctors from primary point of intention.
  9. Early retirement or burn out:  Becoming a doctor and practicing has become a tough job. After people have reached a point of financial security or when near point of burn out, doctors tend to leave practice. No wise man will like to face medico-legal complexities in older age. Taken to court for a genuine decision by self  is enough to spoil and tarnish  health, wealth and fame earned by  grilling the whole life.
  10. Reluctance to do emergency, risky work: If the decision to decide or act or help someone in an emergency situation, puts ones own life and career to risk, why should one put oneself in that deciding position?  Therefore increasingly, financially secure doctors are staying away from the riskier jobs.
  11. Only Doctors are sufferers of the act: Patient can have poor outcome because of any reason. It can be severe disease, poor prognosis, rare or genuine complications or even unintentional mistake or human errors, system errors or deficiency. But retrospectively doctors can easily be blamed because of wisdom of hindsight.  All patients with unrealistic or unexpected outcome can go to courts. Whatever court decides, harassment of doctors is full and permanent. There is no compensation possible for the sufferings and agony spanned over years, even if court decides in favour of doctor.
  12. Spoils teamwork among doctors; Whenever there is adverse outcome in any patient, all the doctors involved may start looking  for whom to blame  among themselves. All of them will try to pinpoint other’s mistake.  Such situation produces a bitter and worst kind of disagreements among various teams or specialties. Mutual understandings take a back seat and the teamwork is spoiled permanently. Administrators in a bid to be safe, encourage putting doctor’s concerns against each other, creating a strange sense of enmity. Ultimately  a mutual understanding and team work takes a hit.
  13. Hugely benefited are medical industry, law industry and administrators; Rampant misuse of consumer protection act has instilled a sense of deep fear in mind of medical professionals. The act has been used as a whip for doctors by all these three stakeholders. Fear of medico-legal cases has reduced doctors to cheap labour. Industry has used the protective systems to gain out of doctors hard work.  Benefits to law industry are obvious and don’t need to be elaborated. Besides this, even insurance industry has collected money both from doctors and patients by creating the fear.
  14. Right decisions or wisdom of hindsight?; A certain element of doubt always remains in minds of doctor whether he will get justice in the long run, or will end up being victim of sympathy towards patient or clever lawyering.  What was medically right and judicious decision at that real time situation may look wrong later  retrospectively, especially when retrospective analysis  is done over years with fault finding approach.
  15. Delayed treatment in emergency situations: Due to prejudiced minds, it is not uncommon for patient’s relatives to keep seeking second opinion, thereby delaying consent for procedures, surgeries and treatment. Though doctors know this problem but they obviously cannot proceed without necessary documentation. With increasing mistrust, even emergency treatments are delayed only to repent later.  
  16. Instigation by law industry; Windfall profits for lawyers and law industry at the cost of doctors is a disadvantage for medical profession: One can see zero fee and fixed commission advertisements on television by lawyers in health systems even in  developed countries. They lure and instigate patients to file law suits and promise them hefty reimbursements. There is no dearth of such relatives, lawyers who are ready to try their luck sometimes in vengeance and sometimes for lure of money received in compensations.  This encouragement and instigation of lawsuit against doctors is a major disadvantage for medical profession.

 

  1. Hostile environment for young impressionable doctors: The young and bright doctors complete their long arduous  training and then suddenly find themselves working in a hostile environment, at the receiving end of public wrath, law and  media for reasons they can’t fathom. They face continuous negative publicity, poor infrastructure and preoccupied negative beliefs of society.
  2. Subject of continuous blackmail: Even with routine complications amongst very sick patients, a threat looms over doctor’s head. People do not accept even the genuine complication, what to talk of unintentional mistakes.  Mistakes are always easy to  pinpoint with retrospective analysis and with lawyers pondering over it for years. In such situations , doctors are sitting ducks for  any kind of

 

 

 Positives, Pros or advantages of medical consumer protection act:

Although there are doubts, whether it will have any positive effect in long term, except monitory benefit to patient’s relatives and lawyers.

  1.     Quick  redressal of grievances:  patient will get satisfaction, if there is a genuine negligence case
  2.  Better quality of care will increase;  medical systems will improve as they will need to lessens the errors and  court cases. Better systems from abroad are also copied to improve the efficiency.
  3. Better introspection by medical profession: although doctors from the beginning are sensitive about their work and always look at how better results can be achieved. But act will make this process more formal and official.
  4. Training of medical professionals: it will be difficult  to put  errors under carpet.  Doctor will like to get trained better as no one want to be in soup.
  5. Future  learning from court cases:  each and every court decisions  is viewed carefully by medical fraternity. Improvement in protocol and policy making is a natural consequence.
  6. 6. Eye openers for medical profession: court cases and decisions have acted as eye opener for medical profession. It gives an idea, how law looks at medical treatment. It has made clear that medical science and medical law are a bit different. In real time, things are easier to be said than done.
  7. 7. Better documentation and communication: Doctors to save themselves, documentation is the key. Previously doctors were doing everything, but not documenting. But now there is lot of stress on documentation.

   Stress itself is not a bad thing. It can often help us perform at our best, expand beyond our limits and  achieve  better results.   The real problem lies in the fact that In this age of  anxiety prevailing more for care givers,  do not get enough relief  from stress.

        But sad thing about this kind of learning is that it is at the cost of few, unfortunate doctors, who were in difficult situation, actually suffered, did not know the legal implications  of  their acts or  situation. Most of the time, it is a system failure, but blame can be pinpointed to doctor.

May be The Act has good intention, but its practical application in its present form may cause more harm than good.    If the core of the health care  (medical hands) are harmed, no one can benefit in the long run.

Advantages & disadvantages: pros & cons of medical consumer Protection Act


With patient defined as consumer  and  Medical Consumer Protection Act takes roots,  the whole system of medicine and healthcare has changed. From regulation, insurance and legal system, every change has affected doctors adversely. They have been reduced to just only one component  of the industry, who deliver care and remain at receiving end. Other important stake holder are patients. How this change has been beneficial for patients? Suppressed professionals  can be used to work more, get less paid and can be dragged to court. So fear of all kinds will make them more  careful. It should be a win-win situation for all, except doctors. Therefore everyone makes merry, while doctors sulk, except those who can mingle with the present scenario and act smart in  changed business and legal milieu.

Negatives, cons or disadvantages of medical consumer Protection Act

  1. Promotes Defensive medicine: Every patient with any illness has potential to complications. Progression of any disease state can cause death.  If doctors start looking at every patient as a potential litigant, especially those who are dealing with very sick ones,  practice of defensive practice is a natural consequence. This may manifest as excessive investigations, more use of drugs and antibiotics  and even  sometimes even refusal to treat very sick patients. Worst scenario of excessive fear will be  refusal of very sick patients in emergency situations or non availability of doctors.
  2. Erosion of doctor-patient relationship: stray and occasional Incidents about negligence and the cases in courts or  their outcome are given wide publicity in media. People are unable to understand the correct  application of such stray incidents to themselves. But they always try to imagine themselves in the scenario applied. Because of prejudiced notions, a sense of mistrust gradually creeps in,  which then extends to and involves their own treating doctor .This sense of mistrust multiplies manifold whenever there is  some adverse or even small unpleasant  Ultimately doctor and patients move forward together with a strained relationship and the treatment goes on with a surmounting sense of mistrust.
  3.  Increased cost of care:   With the creeping in of practice of defensive medicine, there is a need to document everything and to offer everything possible in the world, leading to inflated  medical costs.  Insurance  companies and lawyers have positioned themselves in between. They charge everyone heavily for allaying the fears , both  patients(medical insurance, lawyer fee) and doctors(indemnity insurance, lawyer’s fee) alike. The vicious cycle of rising costs , need for insurance, medicolegal suits, high lawyer fee (for patients and doctors) goes on unabated. All these contribute significantly to overall increased cost of health care.
  4. Enhanced insecurity in medical profession : Needless to say,  consumer protection act has increased the anxiety  and insecurity in  the medical profession. One keeps wondering which patient will prove to be his bane and finish his total career or will result in professional hanging or a media trial, with these having real probability in today’s day to day practice.
  5. Unnecessary litigation: Legal cases can be put on doctors for various trivial reasons e.g  for sense of revenge or to extract money or simply for not having to pay for services.  In an era where family members , brothers and sisters fight for money, it will be naïve to think that idea of making money from doctor does not exist. These are further stoked by the incidents of previous high compensations granted  by courts .
  6. Increased paper work: excessive documentation and time consumption: crucial and large chunk of time of doctors and nurses, goes in completing documentation. Needless to say, this time previously was dedicated solely to patient service. Management is now-a days more worried about completing paper work as well. Initially it was a symbolic documentation , but now there is requirement of mammoth paper work. It leads to consumption of time  that was meant for real discussions for the benefit of patients.
  7. Doctors used as scape-goats for revenge : Any unsatisfied patient can vent his anger by putting complaint or case  against the doctor .  This is done to some extent for revenge or after finding  human factor which can be punished. Not uncommonly doctors are used as  scape- goat to have  a concession on the patient treatment by health organizations. Everything can be easily put on doctors as they are universal final link to a patient’s treatment and adverse effects.
  8. Distraction of doctors from the primary point of intention:  Nothing else ever has  distracted doctors  more than these medico-legal cases and punishments. In many cases, saving themselves becomes more important than saving a patient. Uncertainty of prognosis, grave emergencies and split second life saving and risky  decisions which may later be proved wrong by retrospective analysis, complex  medico-legal situations are endless distractions that have creeped in and are enough to distract doctors from primary point of intention.
  9. Early retirement or burn out:  Becoming a doctor and practising has become a tough job. After people have reached a point of financial security or when near point of burn out, doctors tend to leave practice. No wise man will like to face medicolegal complexities in older age. Taken to court for a genuine decision by self  is enough to spoil and tarnish  health, wealth and fame earned by  grilling the whole life.
  10. Reluctance to do emergency, risky work: If the decision to decide or act or help someone in an emergency situation, puts ones own life and career to risk, why should one put oneself in that deciding position?  Therefore increasingly, financially secure doctors are staying away from the riskier jobs.
  11. Only Doctors are sufferers of the act: Patient can have poor outcome because of any reason. It can be severe disease, poor prognosis, rare or genuine complications or even unintentional mistake or human errors, system errors or deficiency. But retrospectively doctors can easily be blamed because of wisdom of hindsight.  All patients with unrealistic or unexpected outcome can go to courts. Whatever court decides, harassment of doctors is full and permanent. There is no compensation possible for the sufferings and agony spanned over years, even if court decides in favour of doctor.
  12. Spoils teamwork among doctors; Whenever there is adverse outcome in any patient, all the doctors involved may start looking  for whom to blame  among themselves. All of them will try to pinpoint other’s mistake.  Such situation produces a bitter and worst kind of disagreements among various teams or specialties. Mutual understandings take a back seat and the teamwork is spoiled permanently. Administrators in a bid to be safe, encourage putting doctor’s concerns against each other, creating a strange sense of enmity. Ultimately  a mutual understanding and team work takes a hit.
  13. Hugely benefitted are medical industry, law industry and administrators; Rampant misuse of consumer protection act has instilled a sense of deep fear in mind of medical professionals. The act has been used as a whip for doctors by all these three stakeholders. Fear of medicolegal cases has reduced doctors to cheap labour. Industry has used the protective systems to gain out of doctors hard work.  Benefits to law industry are obvious and don’t need to be elaborated. Besides this, even insurance industry has collected money both from doctors and patients by creating the fear.
  14. Right decisions or wisdom of hindsight?; A certain element of doubt always remains in minds of doctor whether he will get justice in the long run, or will end up being victim of sympathy towards patient or clever lawyering.  What was medically right and judicious decision at that real time situation may look wrong later  retrospectively, especially when retrospective analysis  is done over years with fault finding approach.
  15. Delayed treatment in emergency situations: Due to prejudiced minds, it is not uncommon for patient’s relatives to keep seeking second opinion, thereby delaying consent for procedures, surgeries and treatment. Though doctors know this problem but they obviously cannot proceed without necessary documentation. With increasing mistrust, even emergency treatments are delayed only to repent later.  
  16. Instigation by law industry; Windfall profits for lawyers and law industry at the cost of doctors is a disadvantage for medical profession: One can see zero fee and fixed commission advertisements on television by lawyers in health systems even in  developed countries. They lure and instigate patients to file law suits and promise them hefty reimbursements. There is no dearth of such relatives, lawyers who are ready to try their luck sometimes in vengeance and sometimes for lure of money received in compensations.  This encouragement and instigations of lawsuit against doctors is a major disadvantage for medical profession.

 

  1. Hostile environment for young impressionable doctors: The young and bright doctors complete their long arduous  training and then suddenly find themselves working in a hostile environment, at the receiving end of public wrath, law and  media for reasons they can’t fathom. They face continuous negative publicity, poor infrastructure and preoccupied negative beliefs of society.
  2. Subject of continuous blackmail: Even with routine complications amongst very sick patients, a threat looms over doctor’s head. People do not accept even the genuine complication, what to talk of unintentional mistakes.  Mistakes are always easy to  pinpoint with retrospective analysis and with lawyers pondering over it for years. In such situations , doctors are sitting ducks for  any kind of

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Positives, Pros or advantages of medical consumer protection act:

Although there are doubts, whether it will have any positive effect in long term, except monitory benefit to patient’s relatives and lawyers.

  1.     Quick  redressal of grievances:  patient will get satisfaction, if there is a genuine negligence case
  2.  Better quality of care ;  medical systems will improve as they will need to lessens the errors and  court cases. Better systems from abroad are also copied to improve the efficiency.
  3. Better introspection by medical profession: although doctors from the beginning are sensitive about their work and always look at how better results can be achieved. But act will make this process more formal and official.
  4. Training of medical professionals: it will be difficult  to put  errors under carpet.  Doctor will like to get trained better as no one want to be in soup.
  5. Future  learning from court cases:  each and every court decisions  is viewed carefully by medical fraternity. Improvement in protocol and policy making is a natural consequence.
  6. . Eye openers for medical profession: court cases and decisions have acted as eye opener for medical profession. It gives an idea, how law looks at medical treatment. It has made clear that medical science and medical law are a bit different. In real time, things are easier to be said than done.
  7.  Better documentation and communication: for  Doctors to save themselves, documentation is the key. Previously doctors were doing everything, but not documenting. But now there is lot of stress on documentation.

   Stress itself is not a bad thing. It can often help us perform at our best, expand beyond our limits and  achieve  better results.   The real problem lies in the fact that In this age of  anxiety prevailing more for care givers,  do not get enough relief  from stress.  If the core of the health care  (medical hands) are harmed, no one can benefit in the long run.

“EDG scale of doctor’s comfort: guide for medical students” – How to choose medical specialty


Choosing a medical specialty is possibly one of the most important variable factor in doctor’s life. This one factor will decide the rest of the  life of the doctor. General rough guide to the factors involved, which persist forever and throughout the life, after a doctor chooses a specialty is given below. There can be individual variation depending upon the individual attitudes, compromises and way to do practice. Therefore there will be some variation in all the fields for individuals, places, systems and countries.

Re-blog

There can be extremes and variations  on either side of spectrum, but are exceptions. Following article does not include satisfaction and earning gained from   other businesses done by doctors, running nursing home or hospitals, commercial gains  from pharmaceuticals etc. this is on basis of income purely from professional work of treating patients.  These  factors and units can be used as a scale for guidance of medical students and hence named as EDG scale of doctor’s comfort (Extinct doctor good)

Factors

  1.      Earning
  2.      Prolonged tough training
  3.      Satisfaction of treating patients
  4.      Satisfaction of making diagnosis
  5.      Emergency & odd hour duty
  6.       Stress of life and death
  7.       Legal complexity and stress

The Unit—-Single * or (I) is  one unit. With experience and years of work , this unit  (for same doctor) will also multiply with age.

UNIT

India ( * or 1) is  1  million  rupees/annum

Advanced countries- (* or 1)== one lac or 100,000 dollars/ annum

 

General practice

 

 
       1.  Earning **to ***      2-3
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**
Internal medicine

 

 
       1.  Earning **to****        2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**to***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***

 

cardiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*******  2-7
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****

 

gastroenterology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**

 

Neurology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******  2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                  3

 

Nephrology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***           3

 

Pulmonary medicine

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****     2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                    3

 

 

Emergency  Medicine

 

 
       1.  Earning **to****     2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****                4

 

Anaesthesia

 

 
       1.    Earning **to*****     2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

**
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****                 4
Endocrinology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****       2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                2
Psychiatry

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****       2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                  2

 

 

 

 

paediatrics

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****       2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****                  4

 

Critical care

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****           4

 

Paediatric critical care

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****     2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****               4

 

General Surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****      2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****               4

 

Minimal access surgery

 

 
1.          Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                3

 

 

Cardiac surgery- CTVS

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****               4

 

Urology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                 3

 

Gastro-surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****            4

 

Neurosurgery

 

 
       1.  Earning   **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****            4

 

Head and Neck surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***               3

 

Orthopaedics

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******                2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                             3

 

Ophthalmology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****             2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                           2

 

Radiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

*
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                  2
ENT

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****    2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                 2

 

Dermatology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*                1

 

Gynaecology/obstetrics

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****

 

Plastic Surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

*
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**              2

 

 

Oncology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**               2

 

Onco-surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******     2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                    2

 

Anatomy

 

 
       1.  Earning **to***     2-3
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

Nil
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

Nil

 

Physiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to***
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

Nil
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

Nil

 

Biochemistry

 

 
       1.  Earning **to***    2-3
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

Nil
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

Nil

 

Microbiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to****    2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

0 to*
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*

 

 

Pathology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to ****    2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

NIl
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*

 

Medical administrator/Manager

 

 
       1.  Earning **to********  2-8

sometimes multiple

       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*

. There can be extremes and variations  on either side of spectrum, but are exceptions.

If the reader have some different view, or want to add something, they are welcome to  write in comments. This table just  highlights a trend of factors and may not be perfect. But it gives the factors which need to be taken into account,  before choosing specialty.

How to choose medical specialty? Variation of doctor salary, earning & important factors


Choosing a medical specialty is possibly one of the most important variable factor in doctor’s life. This one factor will decide the rest of the  life of the doctor. General rough guide to the factors involved, which persist forever and throughout the life, after a doctor chooses a specialty is given below. There can be individual variation depending upon the individual attitudes, compromises and way to do practice. Therefore there will be some variation in all the fields for individuals, places, systems and countries.

There can be extremes and variations  on either side of spectrum, but are exceptions. Following article does not include satisfaction and earning gained from   other businesses done by doctors, running nursing home or hospitals, commercial gains  from pharmaceuticals etc. this is on basis of income purely from professional work of treating patients.

Factors

  1.      Earning
  2.      Prolonged tough training
  3.      Satisfaction of treating patients
  4.      Satisfaction of making diagnosis
  5.      Emergency & odd hour duty
  6.      Stress of life and death
  7.      Legal complexity and stress

The Unit—-Single * or (I) is  one unit. With experience and years of work , this unit  (for same doctor) will also multiply with age.

UNIT

India ( * or 1) is  1  million  rupees/annum

Advanced countries- (* or 1)== one lac or 100,000 dollars/ annum

 

General practice

 

 
       1.  Earning **to ***      2-3
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**
Internal medicine

 

 
       1.  Earning **to****        2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**to***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***

 

cardiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*******  2-7
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****

 

gastroenterology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**

 

Neurology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******  2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                  3

 

Nephrology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***           3

 

Pulmonary medicine

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****     2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                    3

 

 

Emergency  Medicine

 

 
       1.  Earning **to****     2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****                4

 

Anaesthesia

 

 
       1.    Earning **to*****     2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

**
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****                 4
Endocrinology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****       2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                2
Psychiatry

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****       2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                  2

 

paediatrics

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****       2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****                  4

 

Critical care

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****           4

 

Paediatric critical care

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****     2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****               4

 

General Surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****      2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****               4

 

Minimal access surgery

 

 
1.          Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

***
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                3

 

 

Cardiac surgery- CTVS

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****               4

 

Urology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                 3

 

Gastro-surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****            4

 

Neurosurgery

 

 
       1.  Earning   **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

****
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****            4

 

Head and Neck surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***               3

 

Orthopaedics

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******                2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

***
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

***                             3

 

Ophthalmology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****             2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                           2

 

Radiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******   2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

*
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                  2
ENT

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****    2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                 2

 

Dermatology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*                1

 

Gynaecology/obstetrics

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

****
       6. Stress of life and death

 

****
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

****

 

Plastic Surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******    2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

*
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

*
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**              2

 

 

Oncology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to*****   2-5
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

***
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**               2

 

Onco-surgery

 

 
       1.  Earning **to******     2-6
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

***
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

***
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

**
       6. Stress of life and death

 

**
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

**                    2

 

Anatomy

 

 
       1.  Earning **to***     2-3
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

Nil
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

Nil

 

Physiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to***
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

Nil
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

Nil

 

Biochemistry

 

 
       1.  Earning **to***    2-3
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

Nil
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

Nil

 

Microbiology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to****    2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

0 to*
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

**
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*

 

 

Pathology

 

 
       1.  Earning **to ****    2-4
       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

NIl
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

****
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*

 

Medical administrator/Manager

 

 
       1.  Earning **to********  2-8

sometimes multiple

       2..   Prolonged tough training

 

**
       3..   Satisfaction of treating patients

 

Nil
       4.  Satisfaction of making diagnosis

 

Nil
       5. Emergency & odd hour duty

 

*
       6. Stress of life and death

 

Nil
      7. Legal complexity and stress

 

*

 

. There can be extremes and variations  on either side of spectrum, but are exceptions.

If the reader have some different view, or want to add something, they are welcome to  write in comments. This table just  highlights a trend of factors and may not be perfect. But it gives the factors which need to be taken into account,  before choosing specialty.

Medical device harms, hidden by regulator: policies akin to protection @USFDA


        

                   Modern medicine has been captivated by the  industry. In the name of people’s health, business and industry  receives a kind of  protection  by none other than regulator itself.  The report about USFDA,  hiding the adverse events or device failure and harm is just one example how  powerful  industry has become.  It is not always possible to identify  complications arising out of device failure and there can be possibility of  these  not  being reported. The numbers that are hidden may also represent a fraction of  actual number of harms related to device.  A sad truth of present era, where doctors are punished  and blamed for human errors or even  natural poor prognosis,  Medical industry remains not only  hidden behind the scenes, but  receives  policies akin to protection  by regulator.

USFDA ‘hid’ reports of medical device snags The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which claims to have stringent processes in place to ensure safety of medical devices, has been found to maintain a “hidden database” of reports of serious injuries and malfunction of devices. Since 2016, over a million incidents that were reported went to the hidden database rather than to the publicly available database of suspected device-associated deaths, serious injuries and malfunctions. This was revealed in an investigation carried out by Kaiser Health News, a US-based non-profit news service covering health news. The revelation has serious implications for India, which approves a lot of devices based on USFDA approval. KHN found that “about 100” devices including mechanical breathing machines and balloon pumps were granted “reporting exemptions” over the years. The investigation revealed that many doctors and engineers dedicated to improving device safety not only did not know the issues raised in these reports, they didn’t even know about the existence of the “hidden database” or the exemptions. While the agency hid such crucial information about device risks, lawsuits and FDA records show that patients have been injured, hundreds of times in some cases, noted KHN. According to KHN, FDA confirmed that the “registry exemption” was created without any public notice or regulations. “Any device manufacturer can request an exemption from its reporting requirements,” an FDA spokesperson told KHN. The USFDA’s public database that tracks medical device failures, Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE), receives thousands of medical device reports that are used to detect potential device-related safety issues, and contribute to benefit-risk assessments of these products. These reports are submitted by mandatory reporters — manufacturers, importers and device user facilities — and by voluntary reporters — healthcare professionals, patients and consumers. MAUDE is used by doctors to identify problems or to check the safety record of a particular device. But they could reach the wrong conclusion as they would be unaware of and have no access to the reports on the “registry exempted” products, pointed out a former FDA official to KHN. For instance, KHN found that in 2016, while reports of only 84 stapler injuries or malfunctions were submitted to the public database, nearly 10,000 malfunction reports were included in the hidden database. Medtronic, which owns Covidien, considered to be the market leader in surgical staplers, had used reporting exemption. Surgical staplers are used to cut and seal tissues or vessels quickly, especially during minimally invasive surgeries and if the device fails the patient could bleed to death unless the doctors moved quickly to resuscitate the patient and seal the tissue/vessel. After the KHN report was published, the FDA has written to doctors expressing concern about the safety of surgical staples and staplers. The agency said it has received reports of 366 deaths, over 9,000 serious injuries and over 32,000 malfunctions. The letter also acknowledged that the FDA was aware that “many more device malfunction reports during this time frame” were submitted as “summary reports”. The agency said it was analyzing the reports and that the results would be made public. According to the KHN report, the FDA has deemed manufacturers of over 5,600 types of devices including cardiac stents, leadless pacemakers and mechanical heart valves, eligible to file “voluntary malfunction summary reports”, one of the many exemption programmes. Ironically, in India, doctors and regulators have argued that FDA has the most stringent regulation for devices compared to regulators in Europe, Canada, Australia or Japan and have even sought to make it mandatory for devices to have USFDA approval to be eligible for government procurement tenders. This was especially evident during the efforts to cap the price of stents when top cardiologists argued for higher prices or even price cap exemption for USFDA-approved stents.

Black coat vs white coat. What if money part is taken out of medico legal cases?


What if  financial part  is taken out of medico-legal issues, like compensation and lawyers fee?  The cases will drop down drastically?  If money part is zero, only errors will be identified and punished. Few  will remain only for idea of revenge.  In an era where people cheat their brothers, sisters and spouses for money, it will be naïve to think that idea of money extracting from doctors does not exist.

Financial  zeroing  can be done  in larger public interest to  keep down the cost of medical expenses.  It is  because of career building of few professions, that medico-legal cases are being fueled. Medical errors and complications are integral part of the treatment . Even simplest of diseases carry some amount of risk.  These  will still remain, even if doctors are hanged to death. Natural complications, poor prognosis can be attributed to errors by clever lawyering and because of benefit derived by other professions.

     Many careers  are  shining in name of preventable deaths  and medical errors at the cost of medical profession.  The managers, right activists, media   and lawyers  have made their career and wealth out of it. Ask any doctor really, are these issues really preventable after a point.  The  line separating errors or natural complications is really blurred and arbitrary. People who work in life and death situation know it well that  even natural poor prognosis can be labelled and proved as error by retrospective analysis and wisdom of hindsight and more certainly with luxury of time at disposal for lawyers and courts.

     Lawyers  and courts  should also be given those fraction of moments to decide same as is available to doctors. Otherwise it becomes a unbalanced match specially when the amount of money which was paid to doctor to save a life was peanuts as compared to now being paid to punish him.

Doctor need to train themselves for “ Cool” communication with patients to save themselves.@ Supreme court on insensitive comments by Shimla Doc


Doctors are sitting ducks for revenge, which can be in many forms. It is necessary  not to make unnecessary comments during discussions with patients and relatives.  A sweet talk or even  stoic silence is still better than  making  irrelevant  and insensitive comments. Sometimes, in emergencies doctors are too busy, feeling harassed, and in heat of moment , they  utter some words. But later, no one will take into account the amount of distress in emergency situations.  Irrespective of the number of patients, try to refrain from uttering the words, which are non- professional.  But few words said  in disgust will be remembered by patient and interpreted by courts in  retrospective analysis can be held against the doctors..

Supreme court granted an additional Rs 10 lakh in compensation to a woman from hills in medical negligence case on finding about the insensitive  comment  made by doctor at hospital in Shimla

 Few points, which should be followed are as under to save themselves from future harassment. There can be many more.

  1. Do not have a word match with patient or attendants.
  2. If attendant are shouting or angry, restrain your mind and do not answer to give back in same words. Better to be silent.
  3. Try to avoid being in that situation, specially if you are being irritated and some thing goes out of your mouth.
  4. If the situation is arising because diagnosis is not clear or not able to treat, try to refer the patient, without  making  comments.
  5. Try to have cool and calm communication and make a record of it.
  6. Communication should be  regarding only professional matters. Rest all irrelevant communication to be avoided.
  7. Unreasonable and unrealistic demands are not uncommon . Just tell calmly about the same. Do not make angry or sarcastic comments.

But sometimes when  during ongoing  medico legal lawsuits, a feeling  of revenge prevails  or as guided by lawyers,  such uttered words may cause unnecessary problems.

  “Documenting  the communication”

  • examine, investigate, diagnosis , treat correctly and communicate
  • Make a note of plan of treatment and prognosis, and communicate to patient or attendants.
  • Sign yourself and ask the patient or nearest relative to sign.
  • It is not uncommon that relative will refuse to sign. In that case just write a note and mention that attendant refuses to sign.
  • It is also a common issue that after listening to everything, relative will say that he does not understand or will ask his uncle or aunt. These are difficult moments and commonly happen. Just make a note of everything. Besides it wastes crucial time.
  • Can use camera for communication in difficult cases.
  • Never rely on verbal communication. It has little value.  Commonly people refuse to admit verbal communication, and will say that they were not told anything.

As time for everything is limited in life, be it treatment, communication, consent or documentation. . “Talk less and write more”. You will be judged by documents after many years.

Doctors need to train themselves to restrain and avoid irrelevant comments, to save themselves.

Illegal Organ (Kidney)transplant trade : Defined as crime, but saves life


A paradox, where a defined crime saves a life and following law and regulation correctly will result in end of life. If some one is asked to choose between a certain death or follow regulations, the choice will be very predictable. A patient , who has an irreversible organ failure, will try to defy death at all cost. People who can afford, can not see their children or loved ones to die, just for the sake of following law and regulations. Genuine concern here will be that If a patient can be cured of disease, why he should be left to die for just regulations. The wish to live is the basic reason, why the procedures, which are termed illegal, will flourish. They will thrive underground or in countries, where laws are lax. Touts, agents and liaison managers are people, who will be beneficiary and mint money by organization of the procedure. The people who can afford, get gift of life, in the bargain.

Organ transplant may be termed illegal, in certain circumstances as defined by Law. But legal or illegal, it gives life . It gives another chance to people to live or have their kith and kin, children , spouses and parent to live another life. Because of gap in demand and supply, when legal means do not help, adoption of illegal means becomes a compulsion. If following law and rules means death, they are unlikely to be complied with.

The gap in demand and supply of organs is the reason behind these activities. Nearly four lakh people suffering from end stage kidney failure need transplant and only 8000 get it. (Times of India). The recipient has two choices for Kidneys. It can be living donor and deceased donor or cadaveric in cases of brain death. 90% come from relatives, rest are cadaveric. The rest has to undergo repeated dialysis to survive.

After the enactment of The Human Organ Transplantation Act of 1994, transplants became less in India. But it was followed by booming market of donors In other countries like Pakistan, Philippines .

But given the circumstances of life and death, the underground market may still be existent.

The ACT also allows unrelated donors to give one of the kidneys if there is sufficient evidence to show that they know the recipient for a long time and are donating organs out of affection. The loophole has potential to be exploited. The affection or the papers for affection can be easily generated in today’s era in lieu of money or other favors in case of high profile cases. Therefore, the mediator’s work becomes easier to generate the papers projecting affection and tutoring and training of donors and recipient.

Alternatively, the procedure can be done in nearby countries. Therefore the role of doctor or surgeon doing a transplant (although the key point) is much smaller than the agent organizing the whole process. Thereby the agents , who can manage and organize the show, are thriving. The wish to defy a certain death is stronger than following the regulation. That will remain so till demand supply gap reduced , better awareness for brain death, medical infrastructure, organ retrieval and transport and supporting facilities are uplifted. Till it happens, even if it is defined as crime, the fruits will outweigh the risks, because of shear margin of money temptations and wish to live.

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