Is 'awareness' on health proving costly?

Is 'awareness' on health proving costly?

With increase in ‘awareness’ on health, the number of ‘patients’ visiting hospitals too has gone up drastically these days and perhaps Mangalore tops the list as there are over a dozen ‘speciality’ hospitals in and around Mangalore.

However, if sources are to be believed, then most of the cases do not require surgery, but the patients undergo surgery following doctors’ ‘advice.’

A case in point is a 40-year-old Santhosh (name changed) who was admitted to a wellknown private hospital in Mangalore following a chest pain. After the initial screening, the doctors decided to perform bypass surgery.

When he called another doctor whom he knew, he went to the hospital to see him. When enquired, the doctor was not shown the reports. However, later he managed to see the reports. To his dismay, he was surprised to learn that the doctors were ready to perform bypass surgery, though it was not necessary, he claims.

Immediately, he discharged the patient against “medical advice” and referred to other hospital, only to be told that he did not have any major problem except high cholestrol.

In the second incident, a 42-year-old person walked into a popular hospital in Mangalore for a regular check up. However, the doctors told him that he had three blocks and that he has to immediately undergo surgery. 

However, the person managed to come out of the hospital after convincing the doctors that he would return the next day. Later, a re-examination in another hospital proved that he did not has any problem! (Its more than 5 years now and the person is perfectly normal, without any medication).

On the other hand, out of the 15 heart surgeries conducted by a particular surgeon, nine persons have died, six of them hailing from very poor families, who were admitted under the government’s prestigious “Vajpayee Arogyashree” scheme for the below poverty lines (BPL) families.

According to the sources, the doctor has been sent on a compulsory leave after 9th person died on February 15. “Most of the cases are said to be due to the negligence of the doctor, however, the chances of proving the case is difficult as most of them hail from very poor families and they don’t bother to perform a post mortem,” said a doctor on condition of anonymity.

One of the main reasons for failure in heart surgeries is lack of experience of doctors, says a doctor and adds that there are 27 or 28-year-old consultant surgeons in Mangalore, which can not be even thought of in countries like UK or the USA. “A doctor can get a consultant-tag only after about 10 years of experience,” he opines.

But another cardiac sureon said that any doctor with a specific degree can perform surgeries. But he agreed that there are very young consultant surgeons, with lack of much experience. 

To a query, he said sometimes the doctors know that the survival of the patient is remote, but they take risk to try their best even in worst conditions. “When the surgery fails, the patient’s kin blames the doctor.”