Switch itch

Hospitals should stop indulging in irregularities and malpractices.

What’s in a name? A rose smells as sweet...Well, not always;  particularly so, when medical emergencies and treatments are involved! I was suffering from  a serious ailment and my neuro-physician referred me to a urologist who is a highly qualified and respected doctor – Dr Ramesh (Name changed) -- in his field, practicing in a reputed multi-speciality hospital in south Bangalore. I sought an appointment with Dr Ramesh and was pleasantly surprised to get  an instant appointment the same day within a couple of hours!  

Considering myself  lucky, I reported at the reception of the hospital well in time. I was seated right opposite the consulting room and was assured that the doctor would soon be in. Minutes later, a smart lady staff walked authoritatively and inserted a name board of Dr Ramesh which was displayed prominently. The  staff assured that Dr Ramesh would be ‘in’ shortly. Soon after, a smart young man walked in and occupied the doctor’s seat and I was ushered in. I introduced myself  and informed him that the neurologist had recommended that I should consult Dr Ramesh and started reeling off my medical history.

The doctor did a cursory examination and prescribed some tests including two ultrasound scans. He suggested that I see him after the tests with the reports. A case sheet was prepared by him and we were admiring the string of degrees  of Dr Ramesh which adorned the letter head on which he had made his recommendations. As I was leaving, perhaps as an afterthought, he slipped  his visiting card into my hand.

To my horror,  the card read  ‘Dr Subhash’ (Name changed) and I was even more shocked to see him sign the document which was actually on Dr Ramesh’s letter head.  I told him that I came to consult with Dr Ramesh and that I was not told about ‘switching’ of the doctors. The hospital staff never informed me about the change of doctor nor did they seek my consent.  In response to my puzzled  look, the doctor explained that he was ‘standing-in’ for Dr Ramesh and that they always worked as a team!

When a patient seeks an appointment with a particular doctor he hopes to get the benefit of his specialised expertise and experience in the field.  Instead,  in my case, some other doctor had taken on the case without informing or seeking my  consent. This practice is highly irregular and must be stopped. It even amounts to impersonation. I hope that hospitals stop indulging in such irregularities and malpractices.  I would like to draw the attention of  the public to doubly make sure that they see the right doctor. Ramesh or Subhash, probably makes little difference to the hospital as long as ‘bucks’ flow in to their coffers. But, unfortunately it makes a big difference to the patient. So, there is a lot more in a name when it comes to human lives!

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