Sunday, October 25, 2009

Doctors and the Consumer protection act - #India

There was an interesting debate going on on the Radio this mornig - as to should the doctors be brought under the consumer protection act. Personally - my views are mixed. A part of me says yes - yet a part of me says no.

No - When someone looses a person or goes through a loss of some kind or is affected by any way- the first question they ask is "Why me?" a feeling of victimization comes in, and then they want to realize their loss by taking "Revenge" how - by filing a case. If doctors try everything to save, no matter what - would that be seen- or would it be that the outcome is noted?

Its easy to sit back and say - yes, i tried, but i am sorry, and the patient thinks- i have to live with this, and not you. how can this be? I personally believe this will lead to unrelated cases against doctors and putting a lot of pressure on the legal system which is already burgeoning.

In certain cases, due to legal reasons - doctors don't treat accident victims, simply due to the fact if they die - the doctors will be responsible and a whole host of police complications. From a legal reform perspective, doctors who do not treat patients should be taken to task - esp accident cases, in which the first hour is the most critical hour.

With a hospital bed density of 3.9 beds per 1000 - the reach of healthcare in India is abysmal, and thus the need to have victims rush to the nearest hospital is of greater importance than to insist - accident case -go to the Government hospital.

In these cases the doctors should come under the purview of the consumer protection act - which simplifies the process of seeking justice due to reduced paperwork and other legally related issues.

In the recent past, a close family friend lost a relative. The patient was in a coma for nearly 3 weeks in the ICU. With the kidneys shutting down and the liver stopping as well. Now, the doctors and in this case I would blame the hospital - pushed the parents to the point where they are now in debt by about 15L. As a parent, any possible hope that the child would survive, will be a ray of hope- simply because NO parent wants to bury their child. However, to a layman, this case of the hospital scans, xrays and infusing blood into a coma patient who's organs have all but shutdown is a process of opportunistic. The said hospital also told the parents to get two medicines that cost over 2L each "which would help clear the body of toxins" created by the defunct liver.
After three weeks in a coma - the hospital took the patient in for an "operation" to clean up the body.

Would these procedures help or were they excessive in order to extract more from the desperate parents is a question I am not qualified to answer, but should doctors come under the purview of the consumer protection act (which incidentally they are) - is a yes.

The next logical question - should a hospital be a corporate entity?

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