Patients lose faith as medicine becomes a big business

Hyderabad, July 01: Gone are the days when a physician’s profession was considered noble and patients revered the doctor as God.

Today, patients are more likely to drag this ‘God’ to court or before the human rights commission as the patient-doctor relationship has become more or less a business transaction sans trust and respect.

Medicine has become big business as hospitals and clinics have been corporatised, charging a fortune for administrative services, diagnostics and drugs.

And people pay of course, not because they can afford it, but because when it is a question of life and death, they really have no choice. As the government abdicates its responsibility of providing good quality, low cost health care, the options narrow down and expensive ‘superspecialty’ hospitals that demand large advance deposits before they will even admit a patient, have sprung up to fill the void.

The Hippocratic Oath, which doctors take at the beginning of their careers, is more honoured in the breach. The values outlined in the oath have been violated and unethical practices are rampant not just among ‘quacks’ but among highly qualified doctors.

The nexus between RMPs and PMPs in rural areas continues, due to which poor patients are directly referred to corporate hospitals they can ill afford.

Nothing shows the government’s callousness more than its enthusiasm for ‘medical tourism’ while large parts of the country don’t have access to a decent doctor or hospital.