Millions of preventable disease deaths: whose moral burden is it?


Diseases can be  preventable or unpreventable, have  good  or  bad prognosis. But once patient  enters hospital,  what ever may be the reason or genesis of ailment, it becomes a moral responsibility of doctors.  Health care professionals  can be trash-talked   or ridiculed by media and anyone, even for worst prognostic cases.   But  large numbers of deaths   happen  due to preventable causes like accidents , drains, live electric wires, water contamination, dengue, malaria, recurring floods  etc. In fact the burden of   negligence here is massive and  these deaths are unpardonable.   Who ultimately carries the moral burden of millions of  preventable deaths?

Common causes of  such  disease, sufferings  and death , specially in developing and poor countries:

  1. Dietary risks and diseases spread by  water sanitation and hygiene.   These  have  direct  linked with bad sanitation and poor hygiene practices. Poor sanitation is the leading cause of diarrhea, malnutrition, cholera, jaundice ( hepatitis A and E) , worm infestations, typhoid and other enteric fevers, which lead to chronic malnutrition and lowered immunity that further feed the infectious disease cycle.  Apart from infectious disease like diarrhea, but also pneumonia and tuberculosis, which are leading killers across all age groups.
  2. Undernourishment in   children  will cause them to be  underweight, stunted and wasted, and makes them  more vulnerable to infections. They are at higher risk of dying of childhood infections.

Working sewage-disposal systems, waste disposal management, protection of water supply from contamination and hand-washing practices are essential components to reduce preventable deaths.

  1. Poor sanitation, unsafe water and low public health also increase drug-resistant infections in low-income and middle-income countries. Lowering of antibiotic consumption  can not be achieved  because superbugs ,  and antibiotic resistance  are already in the environment and continue to spread through contaminated food, water and hospital equipment.

Antibiotics overuse is rampant as they are  used to treat diarrhea and upper respiratory tract infections. Improving sanitation, providing clean water, adopting personal hygiene and getting vaccinated can reduce infections.

  1. Air pollution : air pollution is a public health crisis.  Masses are forced to breathe in air which  contains pollutants  in  unsafe limits, some are carcinogenic. It  is a cause of  millions of deaths  It is besides many fold of this number live their life with morbidity. Polluting vehicles, industry, lesser trees and plantations, poor practices and not enough governance and policies have resulted in poisonous air to breathe. Diseases like COPD, asthma and lung cancer are few common ailments.
  2. A::Dog bite (rabies ), Animal poop and Human – animal interface:   Not properly disposed  animal poop is a  cause of generation of infections and diseases, requiring heavy use of antibiotics and consequently leads to emergence of further antibiotic resistance bacteria. This cycle of production of infections and use of antibiotics perpetuates a vicious cycle.  Stray animals still defecate at every place.  Poop of Stray dogs, cattle and pigs stays in environment and causes life threatening infections. Hundreds of diseases are described due to poor control of human animal interface.

But stray animals and dogs are everywhere. Owner of pet dogs make them defecate outside their own houses and on the roads and wherever their dogs chooses. This poop dried and mixed with dust, acts a source of infection to the community.

         B::   Life threatening infections : dog’s and animal faeces is a big health hazard. It is even worse than a dog bite since it spreads infection in entire community. Animal faeces contain pathogens, which are known to cause severe diseases, infections and organ failure. Many diseases may be spread by millions of these dogs and other animals like pigs, cattle as their faeces contain parasites, bacteria and viruses. These include life threatening bacterial infections by E. coli, MRSA, Leptospira, Salmonellosis, Campylobacteriosis, brucellosis, Rickettsia and parasitic infections like  Giardiasis, Whipworm, Hookworm, Roundworms, Tapeworms,    Cryptosporidiosis, Echinococcosis, Leishmaniasis etc. Viral infections like rabies, influenza and other viruses may also spread through these animals.

               C:: Environmental health Hazard: Storm water runoff due to extensive rainfall can wash off all these droppings into drains, many of which are connected to river systems and water sources.  This can lead to a widespread source of waterborne illnesses. Dry  poop on the roads is mixed with dust particles and in the air. So everyone is living in a highly infectious environment.

6.     Mosquito borne diseases: millions die because of vector borne disease , as mosquito control  has been inadequate.  Malaria, dengue,  chickengunya  and many other lethal  diseases spread  due to mosquitoes.

 

7.      Preventable natural disasters exacerbated by human activity: floods, famine, disease outbreaks.

8.      Road, rail  accidents and other accidents: are mostly  preventable errors.

         The role of health care professionals in present day circumstances remains misunderstood and underappreciated, as they assume the responsibility for continuous care of the sick or injured. People who have never treated a patient  in their life time influence health policies, which effects  millions. Excessive preventable deaths are  just a symptoms of a larger problem.  Who  is the one who feels moral burden of millions of preventable deaths?

     .

 

Bedaquiline: New anti TB drug: Govt may allow usage by private health sector


 

Bedaquiline is  a TB drug which is also known by the trade name  Sirturo. Bedaquiline works by blocking an enzyme inside the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria called ATP synthase. This enzyme is used by the bacteria to generate energy. Without the ability to generate energy, the TB bacteria  are killed.

Bedaquiline is used in combination with other TB drugs to treat pulmonary TB in adults when they have multi drug resistant TB (MDR-TB

It should only be used when effective  Tb treatment cannot otherwise be provided.

It should be always be used in combination with at least 3 other TB drugs which drug susceptibility testing has shown that the patient is susceptible to. If drug susceptibility testing is not available then bedaquiline should be used with at least 4 other drugs to which the patient is likely to be susceptible.

The safety and efficacy of the drug in the treatment of HIV positive patients with MDR-TB has also not yet been established.

side effects of bedaquiline                          

The most common side effects are headache, dizziness, feeling sick, being sick, joint pain and increases in liver enzymes. Side effects can be experienced by more than one in ten people.

Another  side effect is that QTc prolongation.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 28th December 2012 granted approval for bedaquiline to be used to treat drug resistant TB.  FDA News Release, 31st December 2012 . In October 2013 the CDC issued new federal guidelines on the use of the drug, for the treatment of multi drug resistant TB.

Government may allow private sector to use key drug used for treating tuberculosis

Around 2.1 million people have TB in India, of which an estimated 30,000 people have MDR-TB. Only 6,500 patients are on the bedaquiline-based treatment regimen, which may cause severe side effects such as heart problems and hearing impairment.

The Union health ministry (India) is considering a proposal to allow bedaquiline, a controlled-access drug used in the treatment of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), to be open for prescription in the private sector.

Being a controlled-access drug, bedaquiline is dispensed only by the government to people with MDR-TB. At least four courses of treatment are needed. The drug costs Rs 28,000 per course, which means the cost per patient is Rs 1.12 lakh on medicine alone.

Around 2.1 million people have TB in India, of which an estimated 30,000 people have MDR-TB. Only 6,500 patients are on the bedaquiline-based treatment regimen, which may cause severe side effects such as heart problems and hearing impairment. “Technical opinion is being sought as there is no consensus among experts on opening access to the private sector,” said a senior health ministry official familiar with developments.

The health ministry, in collaboration with the departments of health research, biotechnology etc, is working out an institutional mechanism to give bedaquiline to patients in the private sector. “There is a huge pharma lobby that is building an argument for putting everyone on bedaquiline, but it doesn’t work like that. Even though it is being hailed as a wonder drug, it has side effects that include hearing loss. It’s a new drug, so we don’t really have adequate data on its long-term treatment outcome,” the official quoted above said.

“People generally assume bedaquiline is safer than other drugs but they forget that compared to a 6-8 months course for other medicines, a bedaquiline-based regimen could go up to 18-24 months. The longer duration could have its effects that our experts are looking at,” he added.

The ministry has begun compiling data on treatment outcome for all oral treatment regimens among Indians, which also includes the bedaquiline-related course. “About 20 patients in the private sector in Mumbai have been given conditional bedaquiline access by the government. But the entire private sector can be given access only if they strictly adhere to the drug-compliance regimen for complete cure and to stop the patient developing extremely drug-resistant TB,” the official said.

There will be strict vigilance. “Since it is a long-term regimen, it’s verifiable. A call will be taken soon,” said a second ministry official, requesting anonymity.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided 22,000 doses to the government. “We don’t want to deny patients newer drugs if it benefits them, so we are considering the idea,” said the first health ministry official.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided 22,000 doses to the government. “We don’t want to deny patients newer drugs if it benefits them, so we are considering the idea,” said the first health ministry official

 

 

 

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.

Work-life imbalance for doctors/nurses & consequences


 

For doctor and nurses, time of work and action is determined by need of the patient. Whereas in most of other professions, time of  work  can be carried out at any convenient time. As a routine, most of the  human being  work  during day time, by  convention that is 9 AM to 5 PM . whereas, It is not uncommon for medical and nursing professionals to have more heavier  and challenging night shifts.  Most of clinical branches, doctor and nurses  remain busy through out night.

Across the globe, in the  medical systems, specially  not so well organized, it is  a common routine  for the  doctor to get night calls  everyday and  lots of them  rarely gets undisturbed normal sleep.

Needless to say that doctors and nurses do a herculean task to stream line their family and professional life. Kudos to those, who can nurture their hobbies, along with difficult clinical branches. Maintaining a work-life balance remains a distant dream for most of successful clinicians. This balance can be defined as a satisfaction gained by spending time on activities according to one’s wishes, which are besides their clinical work.

Areas of life other than work–life may  include  personal interests, family, social or leisure activities or hobbies.

Work–life  imbalance is the lack of  proper alignment  between work and other important life roles. It is a kind of balanced  state of time, achieved by spending time  on  demands of personal life, professional life and family life, that  is satisfying.  Work-life balance  is not limited to flexible work arrangements  to carry out other life programs and practices.  Work-life balance is a term commonly used to describe the balance that a working individual needs between time allocated for work and other aspects of satisfying life.

The thing that strikes as a  surprise  to most of doctors  of  starting a family  is simply how difficult it is. The learning curve of taking care of family  along with professional responsibilities is  so steep,   While working as doctor  in learning or training  phase, parenting requires  an abundance of energy, time, and grit

And when the responsibilities of being a parent are compounded with the realities of being a trainee doctor, it starts to be too much. It never feels like enough time for anything and  it really becomes utterly exhausting. There is always a struggle constantly with the balance of spending quality time with  family,  trying to study and perform well.  There is little time for hobbies or doing things  to  maintain  sanity of mind.

The environment of work today for doctors has become  more intense with legal issues,  burdening much more   than it was few  decades ago. Burdens beyond clinical work and associated stress  have   created  the need for a better  balance between work and life. Doctors have started thinking to devise or alter  the working in an effort to have a better balance. Experience of  being over-worked, long working hours and an extreme work environment has proven to affect the overall physical and psychological health of  doctors  and deteriorate family-life.

Although there are no structured studies on the issue, but doctors have started feeling difficulty balancing work and family. But the effects are already evident like alcohol and drug abuse, increased rates of divorce and suicides. Increased feeling of stress and  early burnout is an  natural outcome. Doctors,  who have attained  stage of financial security tend to have an early retirement, or reduce working hours.

Consequences of work–life imbalance

Problems caused by imbalance and consequent stress  has become a source of major concern for doctors and nurses.  Symptoms of stress can  result in  both physiologically and psychologically changes. Profession suffers as the workplace becomes the  greatest source of stress.

Persistent stress can result in cardiovascular disease, sexual health problems, a weaker immune system and frequent headaches. It can also result in poor coping skills, irritability, jumpiness, insecurity, exhaustion, and difficulty concentrating. Stress may also perpetuate or lead to binge eating, smoking, and alcohol consumption.

In medical profession,  simply working hard is not enough anymore. To get ahead, a rigorous trainings, prolonged working hours are  new standards. There is very  little time left to be divided   among relationships, kids, and sleep.

This ordeal is prolonged over years  results in  less time spent with family, friends, and community as well as pursuing activities that one enjoys and taking the time to grow personally. Even close friends and  relatives slowly start  becoming distant.

Extending family and becoming new parents  causes  extreme stress  in doctor’s life.  It can have  negative effects.  Between trying to balance a new schedule, managing additional responsibilities, and lacking flexibility and support, they can only increase stress.

Consequently, the evolving system of  health care have made doctors more prone to burnouts. Their  quest to be the  ideal, hard-working, perfectionist ultimately  turns them loner, the grim and stressed individuals.

related article: women doctors  and nurses prone to work- life imbalance

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.

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.

West Nile virus : first reported death in India ( Kerala): How to prevent?


       A seven-year-old in Kerala, who had tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), died in Kozhikode on Monday. It is first reported death in India due to the WNV. West Nile Virus is a disease which spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. The symptoms include cold, fever, bodyache, fatigue and nausea, with complications leading to meningitis and death.  Birds are natural hosts of the virus.

West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.  It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.

The WNV can cause neurological disease and death in people and is common in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia.

Here is all about the virus:

What is West Nile virus? West Nile virus (WNV) is an infectious disease spread by infected mosquitoes. It spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito.

What are the symptoms on WNV?

People who get WNV usually have no symptoms or mild symptoms. The symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. They can last a few days to several weeks, and usually go away on their own.

When is it dangerous?

If West Nile virus enters the brain, it can be life-threatening. It may cause inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, or inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis.

How is WNV diagnosed

A physical exam, medical history, and laboratory tests can diagnose it.

Who are at risk?

Older people, children and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk.

What is the cure?

There are no specific vaccines or treatments for human WNV disease. The best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. Treatment is supportive for patients with neuro-invasive West Nile virus, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of secondary infections.

Have there been any outbreaks?

The largest outbreaks occurred in Greece, Israel, Romania, Russia and USA. Outbreak sites are on major birds migratory routes. In its original range, WNV was prevalent throughout Africa, parts of Europe,

Middle East, West Asia, and Australia. Since its introduction in 1999 into USA, the virus has spread and is now widely established from Canada to Venezuela.

In India : Since 2016, 124 cases of the disease have been reported from across the country, but no deaths.

Experts in virology say there is usually no single reason that leads to death in cases of WNV disease.

According to previous research, WNV is not a new disease to India.

In India, the existence of antibodies (protein produced by the human body to fight bacteria and viruses) against WNV in humans was recorded for the first time in 1952, according to a 2006 research paper titled “West Nile Virus isolates from India: evidence for a distinct genetic lineage”.

The research was conducted by experts at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, and published in the Journal of General Virology.

Since WNV is a vector-borne disease, the health ministry has been monitoring the situation closely. A team of experts from health ministry’s National Centre for Disease Control has been assisting state authorities

Prevention

The most effective way to prevent infection from ­­­West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, treat clothing and gear, and take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.

Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors

  • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
  • Use air conditioning, if available.
  • Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.
    • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
    • Check indoors and outdoors.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for WNV disease; clinical management is supportive. Patients with severe meningeal symptoms often require pain control for headaches and antiemetic therapy and rehydration for associated nausea and vomiting. Patients with encephalitis require close monitoring for the development of elevated intracranial pressure and seizures. Patients with encephalitis or poliomyelitis should be monitored for inability to protect their airway. Acute neuromuscular respiratory failure may develop rapidly and prolonged ventilatory support may be required.

WNV Antibody Testing

Laboratory diagnosis is generally accomplished by testing of serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to detect WNV-specific IgM antibodies. Immunoassays for WNV-specific IgM are available commercially and through state public health laboratories.

WNV-specific IgM antibodies are usually detectable 3 to 8 days after onset of illness and persist for 30 to 90 days, but longer persistence has been documented. Therefore, positive IgM antibodies occasionally may reflect a past infection. If serum is collected within 8 days of illness onset, the absence of detectable virus-specific IgM does not rule out the diagnosis of WNV infection, and the test may need to be repeated on a later sample.

The presence of WNV-specific IgM in blood or CSF provides good evidence of recent infection but may also result from cross-reactive antibodies after infection with other flaviviruses or from non-specific reactivity. According to product inserts for commercially available WNV IgM assays, all positive results obtained with these assays should be confirmed by neutralizing antibody testing of acute- and convalescent-phase serum specimens at a state public health laboratory or CDC.

WNV IgG antibodies generally are detected shortly after IgM antibodies and persist for many years following a symptomatic or asymptomatic infection. Therefore, the presence of IgG antibodies alone is only evidence of previous infection and clinically compatible cases with the presence of IgG, but not IgM, should be evaluated for other etiologic agents.

Plaque-reduction neutralization tests (PRNTs) performed in reference laboratories, including some state public health laboratories and CDC, can help determine the specific infecting flavivirus. PRNTs can also confirm acute infection by demonstrating a fourfold or greater change in WNV-specific neutralizing antibody titer between acute- and convalescent-phase serum samples collected 2 to 3 weeks apart.

Other testing for WNV disease

Viral cultures and tests to detect viral RNA (e.g., reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR]) can be performed on serum, CSF, and tissue specimens that are collected early in the course of illness and, if results are positive, can confirm an infection. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) can detect WNV antigen in formalin-fixed tissue. Negative results of these tests do not rule out WNV infection. Viral culture, RT-PCR, and IHC can be requested through state public health laboratories or CDC.

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.

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