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Mixed views on the medical fraternity

Nina C George, July 1, 2013, DHNS:
keeping faith Dr Kishore KS of Sagar Hospital in Banashankari during consultation. July 1 is observed as Doctor's Day. DH Photo by Dinesh SK

The medical profession has undergone a sea change. But doctors still remain the heart and soul of the profession. As another Doctor’s Day arrives, in the midst of unbridled corporatisation of the healthcare industry, doctors are finding themselves increasingly at the crossroads. Both patients as well as some doctors look for quick-fix solutions in this Internet age. Metrolife interacted with a few doctors in the City to understand why people are beginning to lose faith in them.

Some people don’t think twice before dubbing the hallowed medical profession as ‘profit-driven’. On their part, doctors say that a lot of progress has been made in the field and they take measures to ensure that they are up to date with the latest in medicine. Interestingly, they also point out that their patients try to remain well-informed as well. Thanks to the Internet, people read up a lot and have a rough idea about the malady and line of treatment before consulting a doctor.

Dr Umapathy Panyala, chief executive officer, Apollo Hospitals, says, “With the
advancement in technology, doctors have to be tech-savvy. We see doctors not only
specialising but opting for super-specialisation. All this helps in choosing the right line of treatment.”

He adds, “People have some knowledge about the disease and the mode of treatment. This makes it easier for the doctors to treat the patient.”  Dr NK Venkataramana, chief neurosurgeon, BGS Global Hospitals, feels strides in medicine have aided in early detection of diseases. “Doctors can now confirm their suspicions with appropriate tests. Not only do doctors have to treat the patients but also counsel them. This compassion goes a long way in helping a speedy recovery.”

Dr EV Raman, consultant ENT and head and neck surgeon in the City, feels technological innovation has led to early diagnosis, investigation and treatment of diseases. “There’s a certain protocol being standardised where treatment will not be left to the whims of a doctor. The line of treatment will have to be specified and tests justified. This will ensure a minimum standard in healthcare,”

explains Raman. He further states, “No longer do people think that the doctor’s word is the final one. Today, people compare the cost of treatment and the skills of doctors in various hospitals before they go in for treatment. People have a say in the doctors they want to get treated by and also opt for their mode of treatment.” Dr BV Suryanarayana Reddy, a physician and cardiodiabetologist who runs his clinic in Sahakarnagar, feels, “Doctors depend a lot on machinery. Gone are the days when they would sit beside patients to detect an illness and spend time in understanding the history of the patient before deciding the treatment. It looks like the younger doctors are more interested in super-specialisation and settling abroad.”

Bangaloreans hold mixed views about the medical fraternity. Sharmistha Sikdar, a housewife, tries to limit her trips to the doctor.

“I stay fit and don’t fall sick that often. But whenever I do, my experience with doctors has been good. I don’t recall being subjected to unnecessary tests,” she says. 

But Shamsunder Talreja, a financial consultant, shares a different view.

“A few years ago, the nature of illnesses was not so sinister. Back then, we were not required to undergo diagnostic tests. Now, the type of illness is more deadly and we are advised to take tests at the drop of a hat. Doctors in big hospitals are looked at with some scepticism because the medical fraternity has become commercial-minded,” Shamsunder concludes.


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