In the news for the wrong reasons Men in white !

In the news for all the wrong reasons and negligence and money seem to be central to the news worthiness of it all. Registration cancelled of Max Hospital at Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi for wrongly declaring a new born child dead, but later found to be alive and kicking, thereby raising serious question on the credibility of a health centre to declare someone dead or alive. Two First Information Reports, including one of culpable homicide, registered against the renowned Fortis Hospital, Gurugram for the death of a 7 year old child from Dengue and then serving a Rs 16 lakh bill to the parents of the deceased child. What is more, the mortal remains of the child was allowed to be taken only after the bill of Rs 16 lakh was settled. These two cases may be removed from the consciousness of the public, for they relate to two hospitals located far away from Manipur, but the report that private practice by Government doctors continues unabated in Manipur once again brings the focus back on money and how they are earned. What is interesting to note here is the fact that while private practise by Government doctors is not something new, it is the seeming reluctance of the authority concerned to crack the whip that should re-open public scrutiny on the conduct of the men in white. A point clearly underlined by the fact that while a meeting to discuss the trend of private practise by Government doctors was reportedly held on May 9 this year, the signatures of the members of the Committee who attended the meeting said that it was held on August 9 and August 10. Moreover the inquiry committee was formed only after a gentleman submitted a report to the Manipur Information Commission, complaining about the private practise of a Government doctor.
To be sure the report carried in The Sangai Express will go unnoticed or will not be heeded by the people who matter, but this is no reason why the trend of private practise by Government doctors should not be discussed or debated by the public. One needs to look at the issue from a wider perspective. Will the private hospitals or health care centres in Manipur really be able to deliver the service they are able to dispense with now right now, without the service of the Government doctors ? Can the health care sector of the people be looked after alone by the Government run hospitals and health care centres ? This is where the Government seriously need to study why Government run hospitals are lesser preferred especially by those who can afford the costlier private hospitals. Are the doctors, nurses and health workers employed at Government run hospitals dispensing with their duty sincerely and if not, why is it so ? Are the services provided at the Government hospitals up to the mark ? On the other hand, doctors employed in Government hospitals should also inwardly ask whether they are living up to the Hippocratic oath they took as medical students. Are they willing to view their profession merely as a means to earn money and more money ? Isn’t the 25 pc non-practising allowance given to them enough to meet their needs ? These are all questions, and questions which only the Government and the doctors themselves can answer. However one should not forget that one is talking about human lives and this is what separates the relationship between a doctor and his patient from the relationship that a lawyer or an architect may share with his clients.


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