Senior Doctors discuss plan to clean the stink in medical profession

Veteran docs meet, plan ethical practice group – Times News Network (
(From the Times of India, Chennai edition dated 13-11-2016 page 3)

At least 20 senior doctors gathered at IIT-Madras on Saturday with a common goal – to make their conscience heard in corporatised medical sciences field.

unethical-doctorsMembers of the Citizen Doctors Forum for Ethical Healthcare discussed accessible, affordable, and assured healthcare for people, along with healthcare activists, legal experts and patient groups to ensure doctors spoke out against unethical practices.

“The moment hospitals set targets to doctors for procedures, the ethical practices are skewed. It is on of the root causes of corruption” said public health expert Dr. Rakhan Gaitonde, who coordinated the discussion. In the doctor-patient relationship, the one party is extremely vulnerable. “And in most situations fear sells” he said.

corruption-in-healthcarePune-based Dr Arun Gadre, co-author of “Dissenting Diagnosis” on healthcare practices in the country, said one of his friends, a famous Marathi poet, was advised angioplasty by a Mumbai cardiologist. He was then referred to another who said, “The patient did not even require paracetamol.” Yet, the poet decided to undergo the procedure because he did not know which of the two doctors were right. “This is understandable and we need forums and networks of doctors to help patients,” said Dr Gadre. While researching his book, many doctors told Dr Gadre they were ashamed of being a part of a profession where dead were put on ventilators.

An informal survey by the Consumer Action Group in 2008 showed most doctors got as kick-back at least 10% of prescription value. The situation isn’t very different today, she said. “Atleast 90% of the doctors said they depended on promotional literature from pharma companies to learn about drugs.” said Dr Suchitra Ramkumar, trustee CAG.

Senior oncologist Dr V Shanta, chairperson of the Adyar Cancer Institute regretted that the profession was no longer noble because of lack of trust. While she said doctors have forgotten of the Hippocratic Oath, many patients waste precious treatment time just to take opinions from several doctors. “We include humanities and social service in medical education, but there is no way to teach someone to be ethical. It should come from within. I deal with unethical practices every day, I don’t know how to get over it.”

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