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Showing posts from July, 2014

Doctoring Medicine

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The cancer of corruption eating into India’s medical sector is no secret. Reports of patients being prescribed unnecessary tests by unscrupulous doctors in league with labs abound. Alongside there are frequent reports of needless procedures — from caesarean births to the insertion of stents into healthy hearts and replacement of workable knees — thrust upon patients by doctors keen to make a killing off someone’s unease. Such practices seriously harm the health and finances of Indian patients. In addition such malpractices are gaining India’s medical tourism industry — once tipped to hit six billion dollars by 2018 — infamy around the world. Transparency International ranks India’s medical industry as the second most corrupt institution citizens encounter following the police. This image, of a corrupt, cynical trade preying on patients, is seriously damaging medical tourism to India. Already hit by tight visa rules, a decaying ethical reputation could see India — visited by 350,000-p…

Born with a stethoscope

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How do you learn to give injections? Join a nursing school, become a compounder or enrol for MBBS. But, if you ask the Sabharwals, a Delhi-based family of 140 doctors, chances are that they would hand you a banana stem instead. “Our grandfather Dr Bodhraj Sabharwal was so obsessed with making us doctors that, when we were young, he used to make us inject banana stems to teach how to administer injections,” says Dr Vijay Sabharwal, owner of Shree Jeewan Hospital, one of the five hospitals owned by the family in Delhi. The 63-year-old eye surgeon does not believe in the method. Even without it, his 11-year-old granddaughter Diya has grown adept at giving injections. For the last five generations, every single member of the family has become a doctor. And Diya, too, has no other goal. The World Health Organisation says there is one doctor for 1,700 people in India. If you go by that estimate, the Sabharwals take care of 2,38,000 Indians. The family entered the profession 95 years ago. S…

Black armband silent protest on Doctor’s Day by UCMS doctors

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As India celebrated Doctors Day on July 1, doctors at the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) here sat quite gloomy while trying to find out reasons to celebrate. “This observance is a way to show the society how important doctors are in our lives but has everybody thought how, even, we are denied our basic rights by the autocratic Delhi University administration,” said Dr Satendra Singh, assistant professor of physiology at the UCMS. According to Dr Singh, the UCMS doctors are under the University of Delhi and henceforth the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), while other sister medical institutions like Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and even all other state run medical colleges are under the Centre or State run Ministries of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). There the faculty can concentrate on quality of medical teaching and patient care as the promotions and pay scales of …