Hyderabad: Dissenting Diagnosis, a book written by Dr Arun Gadre and Dr Abhay Shukla has exposed the murky side of the medical profession.
The authors interviewed 78 doctors in private and public practice on how patients are exploited by “unscrupulous” doctors, hospitals and laboratories. “Practicing doctors always have an accurate idea of the nature of their colleagues’ practice. Their voices of conscience are full of righteous anger, yet they also reflect a sense of helplessness at the sorry state of this once noble profession,” the authors wrote.
As quoted in the book, Dr Vijay Ajgaonkar, a senior diabetologist of Mumbai said, “If you look at the issue objectively, it is not our role to make money by taking advantage of another person’s illness. But that is exactly what is happening. They put terminally ill 70 to 80 year olds on ventilators, keeping the hospital meter running by unnecessarily using the ICU and ventilator.”
Dr Vijay was further quoted: “And what a terrible state we have reached. The pharmaceutical companies have tried to entice with big temptations and we have fallen prey to them. Simply because it’s free; just because pharmaceutical companies give doctors free alcohol, senior and eminent doctors get drunk in public programmes...when one sees this one is disgusted, ashamed.”
The book highlights malpractices in diagnosis, unnecessary investigations, procedures, unnecessary surgeries, commission and cut practice and inflated bills.
About the growing influence of corporate and multi-specialty hospitals, the authors, Dr Arun Gadre and Dr Abhya Shukla write: “Just as shopping malls came up to sell groceries and consumer goods, corporate and large multi- specialty private hospitals arrived to sell medical services. The majority of these hospitals are not owned by doctors. Seeing the large profits to be made in private medical sector, non medical investors are pouring money into these private medical businesses to maximise returns on their investment.”
The authors have also criticised the blatant commercial marketing by corporate hospitals. They also criticised the hospitals for illegal detention of bodies after death of a patient for non-payment of bills.