The fourth episode of Satyamev Jayate dealt with medical malpractice. Aamir Khan’s show had earlier dealt with burning issues like female foeticide and child sex abuse which had actually seen a somnolent government pass the child sex abuse bill and take various measures to curb female infanticide.
The fourth episode highlighted the various issues that ails patients in India and the unscrupulous practises of doctors. India is a nation where almost 60% of all medical expenses are out-of-pocket, highlighting the need for a better healthcare system. The show shed light on various issues dealing with medical malpractice; a family who lost their loved one due to a forced surgery and medical cases where patients were misled about their ailment. To understand how the Medical Council of India dealt with such issues, Aamir spoke to Dr Talwar. He also highlighted the fact there are no stringent measures to deal with miscreant doctors and an RTI filed by the Satyamev Jayate team showed that not a single doctor’s licence to practice – had been cancelled since 2008 – clear proof that there are no consequences for medical malpractice.
Retired Major General Jhingon shared the tales of blatant corruption in the MCI and reckoned it was all about the money. The show also highlighted the trauma of women in Andhra Pradesh who were forced to undergo uterus operations without any reason. He also discussed at length the availability of generic medicines (something which the health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had actually promised would be available at all public health facilities free of cost) with Dr Shamit Sharma from Rajasthan who said that these medicines were no different from the branded medicines produced by big pharmas. The show also talked to Dr Devi Shetty, whose Yeshasvini healthcare scheme looks to provide affordable healthcare to the poor and Dr Gulati who urged the government to prioritise health schemes so that even the poor could lead a healthy life. Although this year’s budget claimed that it had allocated more on healthcare spending (Rs.26,897 cr to Rs. 30,702 cr an increase of 14%), there’s evidence that the full amount allocated during the previous budget wasn’t even spent!
In all there were various other health related issues which perhaps would lie outside the scope of this episode but which we as a health site have covered in the past and would like to bring to your attention:
- The high number of infant deaths in J & K and West Bengal hospitals.
- The fact that AIIMS, the country’s premier medical institution is severely understaffed!
- The irregularities in the running of the CDSCO (drug control agency) be it the lack of quality or quantity of drug inspectors.
- The fact that drugs are being approved without clinical trials.
- The alleged nexus between big pharmas, doctors and drug control agencies.
- Like the National Rural Health Mission which aims to provide healthcare to the rural poor, the government had planned to launch a National Urban Health Mission which looked to provide healthcare services to the urban poor but it still hasn’t been launched.
So health.india.com readers do share with us any other instances of medical malpractice that you’ve encountered or if you’ve any solutions that could improve healthcare services.