In olden times at the Christian Medical College, Vellore a system was initiated whereby an out-patient before getting to meet the specialist, had to meet a general physician – normally a green horn doctor- who would first make a note of the symptoms and then suggest for RELEVANT diagnostic tests and then would be referred to the CONCERNED Specialist who would be consulted, by the patient, with all the diagnostic records. The Specialist’s time was precious, so he need not have to get into the basics and find that the patient should have been referred to another specialist and not him. This was GOOD and patients were put to a little bother, but the end justified the MEANS.
Now, lots of hospitals have borrowed a PART OF THE PROCEDURE followed by the CMC, and as soon as a potential victim enters the premises of the hospital, no general physician is provided to identify the specialized treatment needed, but take a printed FORMAT and tick all the tests/scans/x-rays/ blood tests and send the out-patient for all the tests. Mind you, even if they discover the very many diseases that a person is susceptible to, they may have a nice LATIN NAME for the disease but may not have any efficacious medicine for the disease. If the patient is lucky the disease leaves him on its own before the Hospital makes him a pauper and a regular client to their business activity.
SUCH IS THE PLIGHT OF THE PATIENTS in INDIA.
Most of the hospitals have an OPAQUE system whereby they retain all the records and do not give any prescription of the disease or the basis of their diagnosis. The ignorant masses are told that they have to just come with their ID cards issued by the hospitals or the ID number issued by the hospital and the rest would be handled by them- HOW CONVENIENT (for the Hospitals to loot!). This has a two fold benefit for the hospital:
the patient would not be able to get a second opinion based on the records and
secondly, he would become their CAPTIVE PATIENT till kingdom come.
All this chicanery has proliferated because the hospitals have invested heavily on DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENTS, which have been financed through BANK LOANS at commercial rates of interest and servicing the debt and repaying the loan would not be possible except thru getting a whole lotta patients to go thru unwanted scans and other diagnostic procedures.
I am reminded of a joke which appeared years back in HUMOR IN UNIFORM in THE READER”S DIGEST, which goes something like this:
In an army unit there was an Army doc who was posted to attend to the ailments of the unit members and civilians were not there in the vicinity. So most of the patients were men and mostly of the lower rungs in the army hierarchy. So by 6 in the morning the Doc would sit at his desk with a steth slung around his neck over his white coat and the patients had to strip and stand in a queue, as he would inspect each patient and write out his prescriptions. One day a telegram was sent to him by Army Headquarters and the errand sepoy ran in with the telegram to the doc. The doc without looking at who wanted to meet him, said in a growl: STRIP AND JOIN THE QUEUE . The poor fellow had no option but to strip and join the queue. When his turn came he handed over the telegram to the doc. The doc was surprised to find the messenger sepoy handing over the telegram in the nude. He asked him why he did not tell him and as he opened his telegram, he found that he had been issued with orders to move to the next unit where his services had become essential because of a large number of patients in the unit. The doc left without even a word of SORRY to the denuded sepoy.
Now all those hospitals which have invested in huge real estate and diagnostic equipments do the same. They tell you to STRIP AND JOIN THE QUEUE. But we do not mind it, we are more interested in MEDICLAIM POLICY SETTLEMENTS, where we are not forced to pay!
GOODLUCK TO THOSE CLEVER ADMINISTRATORS OF HOSPITALS, WHO HAVE GOT RID OF THE GENERAL PHYSICIANS, AND TAKE EACH OUT-PATIENT THRU MOST DIAGNOSTIC EQUIPMENTS WHICH THAT HOSPITAL HAS AND LOOT NOT THEIR PATIENTS BUT CLIENTS!