Showing posts from July, 2015

The IMA Should Stop Playing Victim

Guest article by Dr Sanjay NagralThe citizen is being shortchanged by the medical fraternity, but try telling the IMA that A surgery in an Indian private hospital. (Photo-Asian Development Bank) A few paragraphs in a social sciences textbook of the NCERT for Class VII is hardly the kind of writing that makes major news. But when the Indian Medical Association (IMA) petitions the Prime Minister objecting to some sentences it should arouse curiosity not only because it seems like a trivial matter being blown out of proportion but because it suggests a lot about an organisation that has a critical role in health care discourse in India. The issue is as follows. In the VIIth standard NCERT textbook chapter on the “Role of government in health”, under the sub-head “Private health facilities”, it says, “In order to earn more money, these private services encourage practices that are incorrect. At times cheaper methods, though available, are not used. For example, it is common to find doctor…

Don’t Allow the IMA to Tamper With School Textbook

Guest article by Sarada Gopalan We, the undersigned, medical professionals, educationist, academics, teachers, civil society organisations ​and other concerned individuals are writing to express our deep concern over the recent demand by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) for “immediate remedial action” on content included in the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) Social Science textbook on Social and Political Life (SPL) for Grade 7. The IMA’s demand to rewrite or delete the chapter is clearly unreasonable and unacceptable, as are the threats that the IMA has issued against the NCERT and the authors. Chapter Two on the “Role of the Government in Health” in the above-mentioned textbook, sections of which the IMA is raising objections to, is part of a series of textbooks that were developed through a consultative process initiated by the NCERT, involving academics, teachers, researchers, government school teachers and civil society organisations with substa…

Is it a Crime to be a Doctor in India?

Guest article by Dr. Neeraj Nagpal
From the spirited defence of its gaffe the NCERT has planted a question in my mind that is it a crime to be a Doctor in India? Instead of apologizing for slanderous statements published in standard textbook they have sought justification in the form of 200 “eminent” persons’ support. The signature campaign to gather support for their obvious error is symptom of a much larger and a much widespread malady “hatred towards our healers”. I am surprised when such a simple option exists and it is so obvious to authors why then they and 75% of the population prefer private healthcare providers to Government facilities. According to the authors, the Government hospitals are paradise on earth but who drags them to private healthcare establishments.
A seventh standard child who is being fed such drivel is an innocent mind. He is in no position to understand that “cost of treatment” is not what is paid by the patient but the cost to cure. AIIMS conducted a study i…

20 Success Inspiring Quotes to Put On Your Study Wall

Here are 20 of my most inspiring quotes related to success that may also help you if you are in the same position and want to get out with the help of other people’s words of wisdom: 1. “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” David Brinkley 2. “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill 3. “To succeed in life you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” Mark Twain 4. “I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits bottom.”George S. Patton 5. “The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, or a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi 6. “Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” Orison Swett Marden 7. “The successful man will profit from …

IMA writes to PM requesting the Government to bring in amendments in PCPNDT Act

Indian Medical Association (IMA) has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the Government to bring in amendments in the PCPNDT Act, which is meant to prevent female foeticide, to make it more “user-friendly” and to retain ultrasound scan as the “cheapest, most accessible and important medical diagnostic tool”. Expressing concerns about the declining sex ratio in India, IMA said it fully endorses the clause 23 of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, which awards imprisonment and financial punishment on Doctors who abet female foeticide. “At the same time, IMA is against the clause 25 which awards the same punishment on Doctors for non-conformity of the Act in terms of not-wearing the badge/apron, not displaying the registration certificate, not keeping copy of the PCPNDT Act in the diagnostic centre and deficiencies in the filling of the various forms,” said IMA. “IMA requests the government to amend the clause 25 so that only fine is …

Doctor’s 35-hr shift on 8 bananas, a toilet in nearby cafe

It’s 15 days after their strike ended, and the 32-year-old is back at work at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, located on the bustling Baba Kharak Singh Marg in Central Delhi. The hospital gets around 20 lakh patients annually in OPD, 5 lakh in emergency, and the PG resident in surgery is among its 1,000-odd resident doctors, including non-academic junior residents.

Today Dr M’s (name withheld to protect his identity) duty begins in the surgical emergency, and he arrives at 8.50 am, bolstered for the next 36 hours that will follow with a change of shirt, his copy of the Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, three packets of glucose biscuits, eight bananas and two bottles of water.

Dr M is happy today. He has had five continuous hours of sleep.
There are 45 patients in the surgical emergency ward, sharing a total of 20 beds. Two beds are empty — left for patients who may show up with grave emergencies. Two to three patients share most of the occupied beds; a couple of them have up to four.

Dr M an…

How inhumanly long work hours are killing young doctors, literally

One demand of doctors who went on strike in Delhi last week was for shorter duty hours. They are unregulated currently, and resident doctors in the capital’s public hospitals easily end up working 36-48-hour shifts. (See the Page 1 report in this paper’s July 7 edition.) In Emergency wards of private hospitals by contrast, doctors work, at the most, 8-10 hours at a stretch — and treat, by conservative estimates, about a tenth the number of patients at a government hospital Emergency.
Senior consultants or teaching professors are usually never on duty during Emergency hours in government hospitals. After 5 or 6 pm, Emergencies, Emergency operation theatres, and wards — often with two of three patients sharing a bed — and ICUs are left entirely to the resident doctors.
Rules say consultants must report to hospitals in grave emergencies, but rare is the day when a senior consultant is seen in a hospital after midnight. In private hospitals, consultants are on duty in ICUs and surgical w…

Neither gloves nor saline drip, patients given just half a dose

Hindu Rao Hospital’s gynaecological emergency gets an average 60-70 cases a day, going up to 100. Its main emergency usually has 300 admissions a day. Every time a patient is brought in, doctors brace for one common procedure. How to tell the relatives to go fetch basic medical equipment.
The 925-bed hospital in North Delhi is out of surgical gloves and critical syringes, hasn’t received its supply of saline drips in three months, and is always short of basic painkillers such as morphine, apart from sutures and cotton gauze. There are around 390 doctors on rolls, but most of them — from resident doctors to specialists and even the dean of its attached medical college — are on a 44-day contract, renewable every 39th day. Under severe financial stress, the hospital recently delayed salaries to doctors for three months. It was among the government hospitals in Delhi whose doctors went on a two-day strike last month.
It’s 8.30 pm on a Thursday when a 39-year-old reports to gynaecology eme…

Liver transplants for HCV infection to become obsolete in 10-20 years

In 10 to 20 years, liver transplantation will no longer be performed for patients with hepatitis C as the infection is now curable with direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapies, says an expert at the International Digestive Disease Forum (IDDF) 2015 held recently in Hong Kong. “Hepatitis C virus [HCV] has been the hottest topic in gastroenterology. With the new DAAs, cure rates of up to 100 percent can be achieved, in some cases without interferons,” said Professor Michael Manns of the Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany. A number of DAA regimens are currently available for the treatment of different HCV genotypes. As pharmaceutical companies continue to fight for an edge in the HCV market, the grazoprevir/elbasvir combination, asunaprevir/daclatasvir/beclabuvir combination, and sofosbuvir/GS5816 combination are expected to become available in 2016, while samatasvir, sovaprevir and other promising agents are in development. “Chronic hepatitis C has become a curable disease. A…

Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India

Guest article by Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan Increasingly, I find myself watching and talking to doctors across two generations and various specialties these days. And increasingly, a sense of despair and disillusionment is writ large in their words.
With 0.7 doctors per 1,000 Indians, the doctor to patient ratio is far below that of other comparable countries like China (1.9), the UK (2.8) and the US (2.5). Spain’s 4.9 seems like an absolute luxury in comparison.
What this means in layman’s terms is: In India, you are always going to be swamped with patients beyond the logical human capacity.
That, in a nutshell, is the reason why I will never allow you, my child, to become a doctor in India. Let me spell out all the reasons for you here.
You shall sacrifice your time, parents, spouse and child Getting a 63-hour a week schedule (nine hours daily for seven days) is a blessing, and most of the young guns who join in fresh after post graduation know fully well that a 100-hour a week schedule…