Private sector in health is erroneously pinned as evil money minter

Why no media or public outcry about the complete lack of govt infrastructure

Dr. Vinay Aggarwal (Past National President, IMA)

With hyperactive media, all medicos are prone to media trial – with eye catching disgusting headlines like “young girl with dengue killed by doctors and billed 18 lac”, “dead girl kept on ventilator for making money”, “Alive baby handed over packed in plastic bag”, “5 star Yamraj”, so it’s time to expect the worse for doctors in these trying times.  Medical profession in India today is really in a catch situation.

Media cannot judge medical treatment or procedures. They are only interested in chasing TRPs with complete lack of work ethics and morals. The guilty must always be punished but not by a media created fact less witch hunt!  This is a very disturbing trend and it needs to be curbed.

Let’s take each case one by one.
Nobody can keep a dead girl child on ventilator for making money. Nobody wants to see a child die; Dengue Shock Syndrome is a high mortality complication, despite receiving multidisciplinary support. The patient was referred to Fortis from another hospital for advanced critical care treatment as the child was very sick. The best of available treatment modalities had to be given as the last option to save the child & the same would have been provided.

Media on the other hand must ask questions why the menace of Dengue is increasing every year. Is this not preventable?
22 weeks is not a baby!
Survival at 22 weeks gestation is dismal at <3% in developed countries. These are extremely premature babies, weighing anywhere between 250 grams and 500 grams, are extremely fragile and have such severely immature organ systems that current technology struggles to transition them to full maturity & thus will always have very high mortality . It is an accepted practice to not offer resuscitation at 22 weeks.

Private sector is being pinned as the evil money minter but there is no media or public outcry about the complete lack of govt infrastructure. The government has still not been able to provide basic primary healthcare to citizens, leave alone thinking about advanced tertiary care. India has one of the lowest government spend on public health, as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP), and the lowest per capita health spend — China spends 5.6 times more, the US 125 times more.

Patients are completely ignorant about the kind of costs involved in making world class health care facilities. Patients don’t understand that despite the best healthcare services and expert doctors, India is one of the most affordable healthcares in the world. A knee replacement surgery would cost $40,000 in US, $10,000 in Thailand and $13,000 in Singapore, while the same surgery would cost the person $8500 in India. Heart valve replacement surgery would cost the patients $200,000 in the US and $90,000 in Britain while the same procedure in India would cost only $8,000.

It is rightly quoted: In India, when a patient comes to Emergency the doctor is god (Bhagwan), when a patient recovers doctor is human (Insan), when the bill comes the doctor is pure evil (Shaitan)!

Promoting Medical Insurance coverage and universal health coverage is the need of hour to cover treatment expenses. Out of pocket expense will always hurt the patient and is burden to family.


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