Doctors are angry! Why? Aamir Khan has targeted them in two of his first four shows! And why not? After all, the show is called Satyamev Jayate! And the first and most important responsibility of a civilized society towards its citizens is that of giving them a good healthcare system (followed by education, employment and judiciary, in order to make a good democracy), that too in a country like India where an estimated 17% of the population die before the age of 40. The reality however is shockingly quite worse. The reality is that in this country, medicines for treatment of cancer patients – in one of the cases, 550,000 Morphine and 5,200,000 Morcontin tablets sent by the World Health Organization – that were supposed to be distributed free at all the hospitals in India, were dumped in the stores of hospitals beyond their expiry dates. These were costly medicines and Morphine is typically meant to relieve patients from intensive pain. It basically meant that in this particular case, patients who could not afford to buy such costly medicines from the market must have suffered immense pain with some of them dying too without proper treatment. WHO, of course, demanded an explanation. But what is more important for the masses is that the medical mafia keeps doing such acts to enhance the profits of pharmaceutical establishments.

I can easily cite scores of such examples from reports on miserable conditions existing in hospitals all over India. Although examples of the opposite nature are becoming rarer by the day, there are sparkling exceptions; and it gives me immense pleasure to write about one such example – the Shramjibi Hospital in Belur, West Bengal. When they admit a patient, they never ask him/her to deposit any money. Patients are almost always surprised to receive a very low bill (almost always one-fifth of the amount charged in other hospitals) when the treatment is over. For example, a coronary bypass surgery for heart costs Rs.25,000 at the hospital, inclusive of pre-and post-treatment charges. In the unfortunate case of the patient expiring during treatment, the management of this hospital never presents any bill to the relatives of the patient. Elsewhere, a bypass surgery may cost upwards of Rs.100,000 to Rs.350,000. Honestly speaking, since the surgery in a hospital and other services are not burdened with any transport and distribution costs, charges to be paid by patients for such surgeries should not exceed 100% of basic costs. But charges these days on operations are unfortunately 500% to 1000% of basic costs, and patients also can easily be blackmailed because of the prevailing threat of death. I am aware and proud of Shramjibi Hospital. Yet, on the other hand, services rendered by many private doctors and by private/public hospitals are of such miserable standards that one can even label them with the choicest of invectives; one reason I get the impression that these places are infested with ‘merchants of death’.     Read More.....

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