Thousands Healthy deaths vs one hospital death. Perception of moral burden of negligence (# SUPREME COURT on pothole deaths)


There is a  infernal  difference in  the kind of  media  projection, burden of negligence and accountability of preventable multiple healthy deaths by civic negligence   as compared to one hospital death occurring due to severe  disease. In fact the burden of   negligence here in healthy deaths is massive and  these deaths are unpardonable. But reality is opposite.  Strangely  “alleged and perceived negligence” ( with no proof and no investigation )  in death of someone already having disease  and death in hospital  during treatment attracts more scrutiny and   stringent  punishment   as compared to a naked “negligence  in deaths of healthy people” in such cases  of civic negligence.  

Massive civic negligence  leading to  entirely preventable loss of lives. These incidents bring fore the misplaced priorities of media and society which too have  contributed to  some extent to these unabated ongoing preventable   deaths  of  thousands of  healthy people.

 

Deaths due to potholes ‘unacceptable’,  Supreme court

The bench,  said the number of deaths from 2013 to 2017 in accidents due to potholes indicated that the authorities concerned were not maintaining the roads. The Supreme Court Thursday expressed concern over 14,926 people being killed in road accidents due to potholes in last five years and termed it “unacceptable”. A bench said the large number of deaths caused due to potholes across the country was “probably more than those killed on border or by the terrorists”. Terming the situation as frightening, the top court had asked the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety to look into the matter. The bench had also said that people who have lost their lives as a result of accidents due to potholes should be entitled to compensation. 

 

Multiple  Deaths  in healthy people by civic negligence :

Large numbers of death and morbidity happen amongst absolutely healthy population due to preventable causes like open manholes, drains, live electric wires, water contamination, dengue, malaria, recurring floods  etc. These deaths  of people are in thousands, and are almost entirely of healthy people, who otherwise were not at risk of death. In fact the burden of   negligence here is massive and  these deaths are unpardonable

 

       Single  Death in Hospital due to disease:

The media has always, instead, focused on the stray  and occasional incidents of perceived alleged negligence  in hospital deaths which could have occurred due to critical medical condition of patient. However an impression is created as if the doctors have killed a healthy person. It is assumed without any investigation that it was doctor’s fault.  Media has been responsible for creating a misunderstanding about the whole process of treatment and creating  something sensational out of nothing.

 

Point to ponder-Misplaced priorities:

Who is to be  blamed for  the deaths of healthy people which occur because of civic negligence? Here relatives may be helpless and  the vital questions  may go unanswered or taken as a routine.  There are no punching bags like doctor  for revenge. But on the contrary, any stray incident of death of an already ill patient is blown out of proportion by media forgetting the fact that thousands of patients are saved everyday by  doctors. But media instead chose to defame medical profession by igniting the emotions of people by sensationalizing death of diseased and ill,  who probably were already at risk of death and did not give due importance to highlighting prevention of healthy  and absolutely 100% preventable deaths.

Right issues raised at right time will save thousands of healthy preventable deaths. Multiple  healthy deaths should carry more burden of negligence than  one death due to disease.

      

Global corrupt medical (#implant) market & unholy nexus: tip of iceberg revealed


With aberrant  evolution of modern medicine and advancement  of  medical procedures, everything appears to be   controlled by medical industry. The  investors have gained  control of  the financial  game.  How large companies  create a web of  corrupt practices, and earn   huge profits, is a common prevalent sentiment.  Tip of the Iceberg has been revealed indicating inducements to  some doctors and dubious deals with hospitals. If these are the hallmarks of the big unregulated medical bazaar in India and some others, a rare case involving a global major has put a figure to it.

In a filing two months ago, the top financial regulator in the USA, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), ordered the world’s leading manufacturer of orthopaedic implant devices, Stryker, to pay $7.8 million (over Rs 55 crore) in settlement for violating its corruption norms in India, China and Kuwait, documents accessed by The Indian Express reveal.

The settlement, recorded by the SEC on September 28, came after the Commission’s “accounting and audit enforcement” proceedings noted a number of “violations” by the company’s Indian subsidiary and its dealers. These “violations” include questionable payments to doctors for “consulting fees, travel, and other benefits” and “inflated invoices” issued to “mostly large, corporate hospitals”.

And that’s not all. In 2012, the anti-monopoly regulator, Competition Commission of India (CCI), fined an authorised distributor of Stryker India and two other firms Rs 3 crore for allegedly rigging bids, manipulating tenders and forming a cartel to sell equipment to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital, two of the largest government hospitals. In its scrutiny of Stryker’s India operations, including the findings of internal audits between 2010 and 2015, the US SEC concluded: “Payments intended to benefit HCPs (Health Care Providers) also lacked sufficient documentation, such as consulting fees paid to doctors without adequate explanation of the doctors’ consulting services or hours billed, and payments for HCP travel with documentation that appeared falsified…

“Additionally, the forensic review found missing or inaccurate documentation for numerous other transactions flagged as high-risk, including expenses related to consulting fees, travel, and other benefits to health-care professionals in India.”

The US regulator’s severe indictment of Stryker’s India operations is one of the most startling findings to emerge from the Implant Files investigation by The Indian Express and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on the medical bazaar, where pharma majors hard sell their products without any regulation via a dubious nexus with hospitals and doctors.

Stryker India has four offices in the country — Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata — and an annual turnover of Rs 300 crore in FY 2017-18, mainly from selling hip and knee implants, and medical devices for spine and neuro surgeries. The US-based parent company has a market cap of $58.87 billion with operations spread across 100 countries covering Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Dubious deals with hospitals:

Private hospitals that “requested inflated invoices from dealers  profited from their purchase of Stryker orthopaedic products by passing on the higher (invoiced) prices to their patients or their patients’ insurers, even as the hospitals paid the lower prices previously negotiated with Stryker India to Stryker India’s dealers”, the US SEC found.

In doing so, the SEC said, the dealers “allowed these private hospitals to gain a windfall from passing on the higher (invoiced) prices to their patients or their insurance companies”.

Linking Stryker to these deals, the regulator said: “Stryker India authorized these dealer transactions only after Stryker India’s management negotiated and approved the price that the hospitals would pay to the dealers. Thus, in determining the price charged to dealers, Stryker India’s management and the dealers specifically  negotiated the profit margin such dealers would stand to earn based on the difference between what hospitals paid the dealers and what the dealers paid Stryker India.”

SEC records do not identify the dealers involved. But documents maintained by CCI show that it had fined PES Installations, an authorised distributor, and two other firms, MDD Medical System and Medical Product Services (MPS), Rs 3 crore in April 2012 for a number of alleged irregularities in sale of equipment to AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital, both in Delhi.

Responding to a questionnaire from The Indian Express on the SEC findings, Stryker said in a statement: “We are committed to working with our customers to make healthcare better while operating ethically and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

The US SEC, meanwhile, found a number of similar violations in Stryker’s operations in China and Kuwait, too. According to the SEC, it took into consideration “Stryker’s cooperation and remedial acts undertaken” while deciding to accept the company’s settlement offer to be paid “within 14 days”.

Unlike in India, the US has robust anti-corruption checks in place with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), enacted in 1977, prohibiting the payment of bribes to foreign officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business, and mandating companies “to maintain accurate books and records”. In Stryker’s case, the SEC decided on a settlement after issuing a “cease-and-desist” offer to the company.

WHAT THE US REGULATOR FOUND

Inadequate oversight of dealers

* In 2012, in response to allegations of misconduct concerning Stryker India’s dealers, Stryker exercised its audit rights over three dealers in India. Those audits revealed insufficiencies in the financial record-keeping and internal accounting controls of all three dealers. Additionally, Stryker identified suspicious expenses by one dealer and instances of another dealer over-billing a hospital upon the hospital’s request. While Stryker took some corrective actions in response to these audits, including terminating one of the three dealers, the actions were limited to the three dealers audited.

* (The)deficiencies violated Stryker India’s agreements with its dealers. Specifically, the deficiencies in dealers’ financial record-keeping violated dealers’ obligation to “maintain complete and accurate records relating to [their] promotion, marketing, use and distribution of [Stryker] Products,” and the over-billing violated Stryker’s business conduct policy prohibiting participation in any improper payments. Despite the red flags raised during the 2012 audits, and numerous complaints reported to Stryker of dealer misconduct, Stryker did not act to determine the scope of dealer-inflated invoices until 2015.

* In 2015, Stryker performed audits of other dealers in India. The audits revealed that the practice of Stryker India’s dealers inflating invoices for the sale of Stryker orthopaedic products to certain private hospitals — an improper practice identified three years earlier in connection with the 2012 audits — had become more widespread.

Lack of accurate books, records

* From 2010 through 2015, Stryker India failed to make and keep complete and accurate books and records that reflected its transactions and disposition of assets. In particular, Stryker India recorded potentially problematic payments to its dealers and to HCPs, some of which lacked any supporting documentation reflecting a clear  business purpose.

* A forensic review of Stryker India’s general ledger for the period 2010 through 2015 found a complete lack of documentation for 144 out of 533 transactions selected as a sample of Stryker India’s highest-risk and most compliance-sensitive accounts.

* During the period of 2010 through 2015, Stryker was unable to provide any documentation for 27% of sampled high-risk transactions on Stryker India’s general ledger.

The SEC ordered Stryker to appoint an independent consultant, review and evaluate the company’s internal controls, record-keeping and anti-corruption policies, and procedures relating to use of dealers, agents, distributors, sub- distributors, and other such third parties that sell on behalf of the company. The SEC noted in its official filing: “Stryker fortified its existing compliance program, which is designed to prevent, detect, and remediate potential misconduct. This program develops, maintains, and implements corporate policies and standard operating procedures setting forth specific due diligence and documentation requirements for relationships with foreign officials, health care professionals, consultants, and distributors.”

The company has also retained an independent consultant to “formulate a work plan: that will be evaluated by the agency and Stryker to address the SEC’s findings”.

WHAT INDIA’S REGULATOR FOUND

Dealers rigging bids, forming cartel

* In April 2012, the CCI fined PES Installations, MDD Medical System and Medical Product Services for “bid-rigging and forming a cartel” in tenders for procurement of a Modular Operation Theatre (MOT) and other medical equipment at AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital.

* The CCI also examined a contentious question: did the dealership agreement between Stryker India and PES violate sections of the Competition Commission Act? According to the official website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Act, enacted in 2002, aims “to

prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect the interests of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade carried on by other participants…”

* In its final order issued on April 16, 2014, based on the documents placed before it, CCI ruled that “according to the agreement struck with the dealer (PES Installations), Stryker could appoint any other firm as its dealer”. “However, according to the agreement, in this case PES Installations, the dealer could not sell products of any other company without the permission of Stryker,” the order said.

* The Director General appointed by CCI, under section 26 of the CCI Act, to conduct the investigation noted that the agreement that restricts PES to Stryker alone “impeded and restricts competition” and “constitutes violation of the law”.

* However, the CCI ruled in its final order that the agreement was “not violative of the law” on the grounds that “there are other competing products in the market” that are available to other “similarly placed” distributors.

The point to ponder here is that, with such unholy scenario and  milieu developing, where business deals and investors decide the treatment with  aberrant medical evolution taking place. Doctors involved with such big  companies will be promoted,  projected and survive. Will the honest doctors, who are not part of the game, be able to survive, sustain themselves or ultimately alienated  to  extinction?

source

 

Invisible medical harms of carpet-bomb treatments with FDC (fixed dose combination): @ Government prohibits 328 fixed dose combinations


Drug Technical Advisory Board said there is no therapeutic justification for the ingredients contained in the 328 fixed-dose combination or FDC drugs.

A fixed-dose combination or FDC drug contains two or more active ingredients in a fixed dosage ratio. It means it’s not the single drug but a combination of the two or more,  which may be   unnecessary for consumption.

  1. Antibiotic  resistance: Most harmful impact can be because of antibiotics in FDC.

– Logic is simple. If  some one  is  not able to recognize, whether it is a rat, cat, dog or tiger causing trouble, carpet bomb with combination of three or four   bombs.  Is it overuse of  weapons? Yes, it is. Similarly, abuse of multiple antibiotics has potential to cause massive antibiotic resistance, can have global harmful effect.

Quacks or by self medication,  antibiotics may be overused  and abused . Quacks  or alternative medicine doctors often prescribe FDCs as they are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of an illness and carpet-bomb patients with combination doses, in the hope that one of the drugs would work.

  1. Overuse of drugs: where one drug for example a paracetamol is required, patient will take three medicines.
  2. Increase in side effects: instead of one medication, patient will have side effects of all other medicines also.
  3. inadequate doses: If many drugs are combined in one, doses may be inadequate or less. So patient takes more drugs , but in adequate doses.
  4. Increase in cost: instead of one , the patient pays for three drugs, thereby increase in cost.

Government prohibits 328 fixed dose combinations 

     Painkiller Saridon and skin cream Panderm are among 328 fixed-dose combination or FDC drugs banned by the government to stop their “irrational use”. The health ministry says the ingredients in these medicines do not markedly add to the benefits that people can get from taking them. The order immediately bans the manufacture, marketing and sale of several common cough syrups, painkillers, and cold and flu drugs. The country’s drug advisory body, the Drug Technical Advisory Board or DTAB, has said there is no therapeutic justification for the ingredients in these drugs and they must be banned in public interest.

-The government has added restrictions to dosage and use of six more FDCs,  not among the 328 banned ones,  over their ingredients having no therapeutic value and posing a risk to consumers.

-The health ministry took the decision after the country’s top drug advisory body, the Drug Technical Advisory Board or DTAB, in a report said taking the 328 FDCs would be a health risk. India has some 2,000 FDCs as against a little over 500 in USA.

-It is a good move for public health. Individual drugs are approved by the centre, but some manufacturers make combinations of two drugs and get state licences.

-Mixing two drugs create a new medicine. For new medicine , pharma companies should approach the Drugs Controller General of India and apply for a fresh licence, conduct trials and  prove safety.

-In March 2010, the government restricted sales of 344 FDCs, a move that was challenged by pharma firms in court. The Supreme Court last December told the DTAB to ascertain whether FDCs should be banned from the market.

Every one is  calculative about  the loss of millions.  The invisible losses to human kind are still to be calculated.

 

Air pollution, Ultra fine dust causing millions premature deaths by heart attacks, strokes


Globally, 58% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths are due to heart disease and strokes, 18% due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 18% from lung infections, and 6% because of lung cancer, said the World Health Organisation’s 2016 estimates.

Outdoor air pollution leads to 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide each year, with close to 60% of the deaths from heart attacks and strokes, according to the World Health Organisation. Finally, scientists appear to have figured out just how fine dust attacks the cardiovascular system.

An analysis of the effect of the different components of polluted air, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, showed that small particulate matter is the most damaging to the body’s vascular system, reported a team of researchers from Germany, England and the US.

Ultrafine dust (particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter, or PM2.5) is the size of a virus and can penetrate the lung barrier to enter the blood system, leading to local inflammation in the blood vessels, the researchers found. This leads to atherosclerosis (plaque or fatty deposits in the side wall of the arteries), which stops blood flow to cause heart attacks, heart failure and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), they said.

It was PM2.5 and not nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — both of which are found in diesel exhaust emissions — which affected vascular function and posed a bigger risk to cardiovascular health, found the study published in the European Heart Journal on Thursday.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in India, which has 14 of the world’s most polluted cities by small particulate matter concentration (see box). According to the Global Burden of Disease report, an estimated 1.1 million deaths in India were linked to PM2.5 air pollution in 2015.

PM2.5 inhalation causes hypertension, insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction with impaired vasodilation (stiffening of the arteries), inflammation and clot formation, which can trigger heart attack and stroke. “The fine dust particles are chemically formed mainly in the atmosphere from emissions from traffic, industry, and agriculture. In order to achieve low, harmless concentrations, emissions from all these sources need to be reduced,” said lead author Thomas Münzel, director of cardiology at the Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.

Governments need to introduce strong regulatory policies to regulate emissions and invest in clean transport, green power generation and efficient waste management.

source

 

Story of Unlabeled drugs and Fraud In name of Ayurvedic treatment


         A myth, that any plant extracted drug is useful, free of side effects, is a belief ingrained deep in the minds of people. Such unscrupulous advice is followed blindly without even verifying the authenticity of the source. A hope of miracle is flashed to patients who have been given a “no hope” by scientific medicine, are an easy prey for such fraudsters.

   Another major problem is that medicines and syrups distributed in such manner are without name of drug, contents and doses. It is not uncommon to get lethal substances like steroids, hormones and heavy metals in dangerous doses.  

     Ayurvedic medicines and practitioners  belong to a  stream, also based on a  science. The medicines and treatment has to be  controlled and regulated in the same way, as for allopathic  stream.  So that criminals, who are not trained in ayurvedic stream can not play with lives of gullible people, giving them false hope.  Such acts  are  real crime to society, done with an intention to cheat rather than treating them.

   Any one distributing medicines or medical advice of any kind, has to be registered with a council, for those particular medicines. advertisement of such drugs or products should be on some scientific basis.

Regulating Ayurvedic medicines and practice will help  not only the genuine  Ayurvedic  doctors but also go a long way  in benefiting the ancient system of medicine and promote research.  

  Following may be just one of the cases, millions may remain unnoticed.

False ayurveda hopes to the hopeless

Tarun Mandal has spent almost all of his savings trying to get his son, suffering from acute jaundice since his birth, treated for the past one and a half years. A desperate Mandal recently paid a youth Rs 65,000 for an ayurvedic cure. However, his wife’s suspicion about the ‘gold ash’ tasting like churan led cops to an inter-state racket cheating terminally ill patients with a promise of cure. Mandal, who sells food items on a cart at the Sarojini Nagar market, was not the only one to fall in the trap. Cops have found at least 40 people who had been duped by the gang. Most of the victims are family members of children from different states getting treated in the capital’s top government hospitals.
“I gave away all my savings to them. They even guaranteed that all my money would be returned if the medicines failed. But when I went back to the same shop, they refused to recognise me,” said Mandal, who has already spent Rs 2 lakh and needs more money for a surgery.
The gang has also duped the grandfather of a seven-year-old thalessemia patient from Uttarakhand.

other incident dangerous chemicals in alternate medicines

The Story of Faulty Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Hip Implant


Govt to track patients with faulty J&J hip implant to ensure compensation

Close to 4,700 people with damaged hip joints in India received the implant before 2010, when it was recalled, of which only 1,080 were tracked and compensated.

   The Union health ministry will establish committees at the Central and state levels to track and compensate patients who received a faulty artificial hip implant that was recalled worldwide by the manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (J&J), in 2010.

Close to 4,700 people with damaged hip joints in India received the implant before 2010, when it was recalled, of which only 1,080 were tracked and compensated. Of them, 275 underwent revision surgeries.

Following complaints from patients, the health ministry set up an 11-member committee on February 7, 2017, to investigate patient complaints of adverse events against J&J’s metal-on-metal Articular Surface Replacement (ASR) hip implant devices — XL Acetabular Hip System and Hip Resurfacing System.

The committee  submitted its report on February 19, 2018. It said specialists must assess cases individually for treatment and compensation of at least Rs 20 lakh.

In November last year, the federal jury in Dallas had ordered J&J and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit to pay $247 million to six patients for not warning patients about the potential risks of the defective design of the metal-on-metal hip implants .

The committee at the state level will be tracking the affected patients. These cases are old and hospitals don’t have data available on them; close to 100 hospitals were approached but there was no data. State governments will be widely advertising the move to see that affected people approach them,” said a senior official, requesting anonymity.

Each case will be physically and clinically assessed by the state government committee to determine the degree of disability and refer to the central government committee to decide on the compensation amount.

In it response J&J said: “DePuy has fully cooperated with the expert committee in their investigation of the ASR matter. However, the Expert Committee Report has not been provided to the company for review to date, so it would be inappropriate for us to comment on it. We would like to reiterate that we have furnished full facts and data available with us to the expert committee.”

Metal on metal implants are rarely used now, say orthopaedic surgeons. “Metal-on-metal hip implants have been largely discontinued because of the associated complications. With other implants, the revision surgery rate would be around 3-5%, but with this particular brand, it was a higher 10-12 percent.

People complain of pain, which is largely due to loosening of the implant and wear and tear of the metal that would cause collection of metal in the body that it would react to. Another  available implant is ceramic cross-linked with plastic polyethylene socket, where head ball is of ceramic and socket of polyethylene.

After years of testing, ASR was imported and marketed in India and in various countries around the world, with all regulatory approval and permissions as were then applicable. After it was on the market, DePuy continued studying and closely watching how the device was performing and in August 2010.  DePuy issued a voluntary recall of the ASR Hip System after receiving new information from the UK National Joint Registry.

It immediately informed the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) about the voluntary recall. Since then, we have kept the DCGI informed of all key actions and worked to provide Indian patients and surgeons with the information and support they need, in line with government requirements.”

Expensive medical education ? Future may be “free medical education”: NYU offers free education for all its medical students


     At a time when students, parents and even doctors are uncertain whether opting for medical college along with the vulnerability and risk associated with   becoming a doctor is worth it or not, some are naive enough to pay millions as fee for medical education and for securing a seat of MBBS.

Truth  cannot remain hidden for long.  It has  to be realized that getting into medical college is a minuscule component of the process of becoming a good doctor.  Once they opt for this profession, the real tough and prolonged battle begins. Quite a few successful candidates may eventually feel that the money spent and the hard work may not be worth it, especially those who may have invested in heavy fees and in debt.

Although the whole effort and huge expenditure to become doctors in this way may be really worthless in today’s scenario, considering the difficult times and vulnerability of medical profession

Paying the irrational fee of medical colleges may be an unwise idea for the candidates, who are not from strong financial backgrounds. But at the same time unfortunately, it may be a compulsion and entrapment for students, who have entered the profession and there is no way forward or fail to get residency.

The New York University School of Medicine will provide free tuition for all present and future students, the university announced.

Citing the risk of “overwhelming” debt, it says every student will qualify regardless of merit or financial need.  NYU said financial worries were driving graduates to more lucrative specialities, pushing doctors away from more general positions. The scholarship covers annual tuition costs of up to $55,000 (£43,000). A study produced by the Association of American Medical Colleges estimated that in 2017 75% of medical students graduated in debt. The university has reportedly been working for more than a decade to accrue the necessary funds to pay for tuition, and hopes to raise a total of $600 million (£472m) to make the scholarships available permanently. NYU School of Medicine made the surprise announcement at its annual White Coat Ceremony on Thursday – when new students receive a white lab coat as they begin their studies. In their statement, the university said debt is “fundamentally reshaping the medical profession in ways that are adversely affecting healthcare”.Graduates move towards higher-paying areas of medicine over paediatrics, primary care or gynaecology due to their “staggering student loans”. Aspiring physicians and surgeons should not be prevented from pursuing a career in medicine because of the prospect of overwhelming financial debt”. Robert Grossman, dean of the medical school and chief executive officer of NYU Langone Health, said: “This decision recognises a moral imperative that must be addressed, as institutions place an increasing debt burden on young people who aspire to become physicians.”To date, only a handful of institutions have tried to make medical education tuition-free, according to Julie Fresne, senior director of student financial services of the Association of American Medical Colleges, a nonprofit organisation that represents medical schools. At UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, a $100m (£79m) fund announced several years ago pays for the entire cost of medical school for all four years, including tuition, fees, books and living expenses for about 20 per cent of its students. But that program is based on merit, not need.

Meanwhile, a small medical school affiliated with Case Western Reserve University at the Cleveland Clinic covers the tuition and fees for its five-year programme focusing on research. Most of the roughly 20,000 students per year enrolled in US medical schools take out sizeable federal loans to support their studies. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2017, the median debt for graduating medical students was $192,000 (£151,000).The median cost of medical school attendance, including living expenses, was $60,945 (£47,906) a year for public medical school and $82,278 (£64,675) for private medical school.

This may be a indicator of the future days to come, the need for medical education   to be cheap or made free,  to encourage young generation to become doctors. Society has the choice to encourage and nurture good doctor for itself or discourage them by financial exploitation and subjecting them to debt trap. NYU has wisely decided on its choice.

 

Medical lawsuits, revenge & punishments to doctors : reminiscent of realms of ancient Hammurabi medical regulation


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 investors putting money into health care, which was unthinkable few decades back in the  past.  This reticulation of business and  health care allowed health care to be controlled  in some way by administrators and investors. Away from the health providers, who actually treated the patients.

As it is no more simply treating a disease and involves many more issues.  New model of  medical regulation and 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 medical 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 around 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 naive 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 due to 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 harsh  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.

Fear factors on doctors and impact of present legal complexities is already at par with that of Hammurabi’s era

“Doctor, why to risk yourself for petty gains?” Telephonic treatment is negligence: Bombay High Court


“Doctor, save the patient, but save yourself also”.

In medicine, any small or big disease or  procedure can have complications.  Frequently, dangerous complications have a subtle and insidious onset with very little symptoms. DVT and pulmonary thrombo- embolism is a known and life threatening complication associated with pregnancy.  This complication and the unfortunate  scenario that  happened  is not unknown and has a potential to recur. So doctors need to learn from such incidences to save themselves.

Since the overall scenario of medical complication and consumerism have undergone a sea change, doctors need to  be careful and change their approach to save from legal issues arising from these. They have to make sure that each small problem  has to be seen carefully in person, as it may harbour a serious threat.

Observing that prescribing medicines to patients without diagnosis amounted to culpable negligence, the Bombay High Court has turned down the anticipatory bail pleas of a doctor couple booked for the death of a woman patient. The doctors have been booked by the Ratnagiri Police under section 304 of Indian Penal Code (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) after the patient died earlier this year. According to the police, the woman was admitted to the accused couple’s hospital in Ratnagiri in February this year where she underwent caesarean operation and gave birth to a baby. The court order said the woman and the child were normal and were discharged two days later. The doctor spoke with the chemist who then gave some medicines to the relatives of the woman. However, even after taking the medicines, the woman did not feel better and was taken to the same hospital, it said. When the woman’s condition deteriorated the next day, the doctors at the hospital shifted her to another hospital, where she died, it said.

   Question arises, why  doctors commonly   need to prescribe by telephonic advice,  specially as in this case, if the doctor themselves were not available.  what made them  to enter into such a dangerous situation? Do  really there are substantial gains to risk so much and everything in life? The reasons:

  1. Most of the time, to retain the patient. As they already treated the patient, It is a natural tendency to  continue the treatment. Factors here are loyalty issues and loosing patient to other physicians.
  2. Sometimes patient request, to avoid coming to hospital or to avoid visiting unknown hospital or other doctors. It is not uncommon that patients request some advice on phone.
  3. Symptoms do not look dangerous or alarming. Patient interpretation is not appropriate. Even myocardial infarction ( heart attack) is taken  as due to “wind problem.”  Main problem here is that doctor is relying on patient’s interpretation, which is likely to be incorrect.
  4. Most dangerous is a friendly advice or relatives. Where it is mistake of both doctor and patient.
  5. Patient is far off and for convenience

 

So  “Gains” in such situations are nil or petty.

Rarely it is done for earning money. It is just done for the sake of convenience. But doctors should  wake up in  the era of consumerism, where no one is going to pardon them for  mistakes.  Retrospective analysis gained with wisdom of hindsight makes them repent many times more than petty gains.

Doctor need to forgo petty gains in order to save themselves. Do not take chances. No one will realize later, what were the causes and intentions behind the mistake.

“Doctor, save the patient, but save yourself also”.

 

 

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