May 18, 2016 2:59:09 am
‘There is no mechanism by which the doctor can recover charges from a patient who refuses to pay. It is common to see relatives ‘dumping’ serious patients in private hospitals and disappearing or refusing to pay. No wonder the helpless doctor is left with two options for a good life: commission-based incomes or immigration to a developed country. Most have chosen the second option. Many who haven’t chosen either option are in a perpetual state of financial frustration.’….reads the recently-published book The Doctor Gene: What Everyone Must Know About Doctors by Pune-based neurologist Dr Rajas Deshpande.
The book covers various aspects of the medical profession and how it has changed over the past decades. According to Deshpande, many doctors working as consultants with private hospitals, are torn asunder between the governmental laws and financial demands of the hospitals. “Suppose I start a private hospital for profit, the government will expect me to treat 20 per cent patients free-of-cost. While the hospital will earn through its pharmacy, through investigations like MRI, CT scan and so on, it won’t bear the cost of free treatment of 20 per cent patients but instead will expect the consultants to offer their service free-of-charge,” says Deshpande, who is now Director of Neurology at the Ruby Hall Clinic.
The book also details how, over the recent past, the doctors have become victims of backlash from social activists, patients’ relatives and media due to malpractices by a section of doctors and hospitals. In his book, he describes how a doctor and a patient interaction was so different earlier. Today, with doctors being under perpetual shadow of medico-legal threats, they find it difficult to interact naturally and make decisions, be it simple or critical.
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The medico-legal aspect has become difficult to handle, he says, adding, false assurances can’t be given. “People do not understand why the doctors’ reassurances have changed over the years and why the doctor has become aloof now,” says Deshpande, adding that the new generation of doctors are reluctant to put in hard work and go that extra mile to know the patient. “There are times when a junior doctor doesn’t know how to react in difficult situations like loss of a loved one, loss of limb etc,” he says.
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