If you’re a doctor, you’d already know how miserable it has become to continue as a doctor in Modern India. At every step you’re questioned, you’re challenged, you’re threatened and if that doesn’t satisfy you’re punished. And, for what? For trying your level best to keep you and your loved ones healthy? Pick up the newspapers from past couple of years and you’ll learn that assault on doctors has become a common practice than an unfortunate tragedy. And, if that wasn’t enough even the Delhi Government has joined the crusade against Doctors and the Hospital as they are some petty criminals. The recent incident of Max Hospital, Shalimar Bagh is just one such example. Without knowing the truth, without understanding the fold of events, the judgement is passed without giving a second thought to the consequences.

In case you’re not aware of the exact incident let me fill you in. It all began when a complicated pregnancy resulted in the premature delivery of twin babies and one of them was incorrectly declared dead. It was only later when signs of life were found in the baby and medical interventions were done to keep it alive. Nonetheless, the baby couldn’t make it. What happens next?

Media goes berserk. The Delhi Government decides that this was a good enough reason to go ahead and cancel the license of the entire hospital. But, did anyone, Media or the Government, cared to check the facts? Obviously, no. Did they think what would happen to all those patients who were already getting their treatment at the Hospital? Where would they go? Let’s take a look at some of the facts.

  • The baby was less than 22 weeks. The age at which survival outside womb is practically impossible. In fact, it’s not even fair to use the term baby, but foetus. And, calling the event ‘delivery’ is again unfair as it should appropriately be termed as abortion. As per American standards in similar circumstances a resuscitation isn’t even recommended as the foetus is bound to fail to survive. And, even if somehow do, the complications would be so severe that it would be a life worse than death. Special mention: Where was media when Nirvaan, another 22-week old baby was saved by a private hospital in Santa Cruz? Why did it not come out and praise the doctors for this miracle? However, Nirvaan’s journey of four crucial painful months wasn’t devoid of complications.
  • The truth is that even if such foetus shows signs of life like a heartbeat or twitching movements and after intense measures to save life the chances of survival are a slim as 0.5%.
  • Now, an interesting fact is that in India activists are trying to prolong the permitted gestational age for medical termination of pregnancy (legal abortion) from 20 to 24 weeks. If that law is in place, this case doesn’t even qualify to be in question. In fact, only recently the Supreme Court permitted a rape survivor to terminate pregnancy at 24 weeks.

Going through this case, I am suddenly reminded of another very recent case where ‘assumed’ malpractices by Hospitals came to light. A little girl, Adya, a student of Class II, died of Dengue at Fortis Hospital, Gurgaon. Now, despite Dengue not being an uncontrollable disease, a lot of people die each year. Then what was so different about this case? Well, the final bill presented to the girl’s parents is what was so different about this case. A huge bill of 16 lakhs. When the bill was made public, media was after the Hospital for billing exorbitantly and for so many things. But did anyone care to understand how and why were those things needed?

Never mind, let’s get back the original case of Max Hospital license cancellation. It was told that the parents of the foetus/baby were informed that it would cost them about 50 lakhs to keep the baby in the Hospital under strict blah blah (since nobody even cares what those things are) conditions. Now, it was all verbal and obviously, parents didn’t choose it. But, what if they had? I’m sure the newspaper would have read something like this—

“A reputed Hospital overbills 50 Lakhs to falsely keep an inviable baby alive”!

So, it’s not what we see, but what we’re shown and how we perceive it. If you’re clever enough you would see what I mean. In their rushed zeal to show the affiliation towards public did the government even think that public needs a better hospital and infrastructure and not cancellation of  the license? The truth is that such a hustled decision only did more harm than good, leaving the patients and employees of the hospital stranded.

The time has come when you should reinforce your trust in the doctors and the medical community. Believe once more that what they do is for the good of the society. I’m not saying that malpractices don’t exist and that some doctors don’t go beyond the medical ethics for their greed. But, tell me which profession is free of such people? Greed has been prevalent since the times when terms like health and doctors didn’t even exist.