Ethical Healthcare in India is a comprehensive and well written work by Dr. R. Kumar, a former PGI doctor which touches every aspect of healthcare, right from corruption in the healthcare centre to suggesting remedies, which according to Dr. Kumar can go a long way in strengthening the doctor-patient relationship.
The book which has been published under the aegis of Society for Promotion of Ethical and Affordable Healthcare (SPEAK) was released here at Chandigarh Press Club. Author, Dr. Kumar also happens to be the President of SPEAK (Society for Promotion of Ethical and Affordable Healthcare).
SPEAK will be holding its annual conference and all India award function on the 26th here in Chandigarh with an objective to improve healthcare delivery in India. Doctors from across the country are attending the conference. SPEAK has decided to award good doctors/eminent doctors and ethical doctors from all over the country.
Dr. Kumar in his book has pointed out that there is a need to cut costs of procedures, medicines, devices and reduce investigations, giving precedence to clinical acumen. While he has openly discussed the malpractices, but has also brought out facts on how medical profession is also wrongly perceived as one of fleecing the patients. Dr. Kumar has in his book laid emphasis on how the virtues of compassion, ethical values, sensitization to the pain and misery or economic status of the patients are never taught during medical college or at the entry level to service or practice.
“Public and private healthcare is ailing under the weight of unhealthy competition, which has resulted in unreasonable medical practices and unwarranted diagnostics and interventions, which may be socially wasteful and personally taxing”, the book says, giving examples of corruption in medical education supported by studies.
Talking about qualities of a good doctor, Dr. Kumar has explained, “a good doctor is ‘Approachable, confident, interested, intelligent, compassionate and caring”. He also goes on to say that doctors must know the provisions of IPC to save themselves from false allegation and legal suits filed by the patient, he adds.
“Corruption in healthcare is more sinful because it directly impacts those who are already suffering, are in misery or pain, or may be at the end of their lives and may not be in good financial health either”, the book says but also highlights how a few patients take their doctors for a ride by taking advantage of their goodness and ethics. Thus, they may refuse to pay them their consultation fees; or they bargain for a discount after the treatment is over; or they expect the doctor to be on call 24/7, because they have paid his consultation, regardless of the convenience of the doctor. This is why doctors start adopting business practices which seem to be patient unfriendly, but which are done in order to protect themselves.
Dr. Amod Gupta, a Padma Shri awardee, complimented the author for bringing out the ethics of medical practitioners in the book. Dr. Amrik Chatha from USA compared the exploitation of medical services in the two countries and felt USA is no better. But India being a developing country cannot afford the luxury of wasting scarce medical resources. Dr. Rakesh Kashyap Director health services appreciated the concept of ‘patient first’ and felt the healthcare should be affordable to all and nobody should be denied emergency care.