H1N1 death in Pune… Yet another example of “care” in Healthcare

It took a death to bring into play the whole blame game. It also exposed 1. Government claims about the epidemic being in complete control 2. The mentality of Private Sector healthcare providers where providing care is all about business.

A while back I had written a post about how the “care” has gone missing from healthcare and it has come true yet again.

There had been so much news about the flu in Pune and yet the doctors at the private hospital were found lacking in knowledge. To ask a patient or her parents if she has been in contact with any H1N1 person and then treating the patient basis a negative answer… it shows the thinking and complete apathy of the doctors…

I will say it again… healthcare in India is all about focusing on curative and not preventive… With so much about epidemic in newspapers and am sure in social conversation in their medical fraternity… should the doctors have not been more in tune with the symptoms and suggested an immediate testing for the same?? If I read correctly in the newspapers, government is spending Rs. 1000 for a positive test and Rs 500 for a negative one and is not charging a rupee to the patient. Sure in case of such ailments, panic gets a whole unrelated crowd going for tests (especially when it is for free), but a reputed hospital like that recommending a test… it would have been complied with! But then the hospital would not have made any money from referral… so the patients test were sent to another private hospital for testing (it’s all about money honey). And as we all know, on many occasions, tests are used to squeeze more money out of the patient by keeping them in the hospital longer…

And by the way this cynicism about healthcare is coming through because of personal experiences too.. apart from reading and listening to what goes on in the name of healthcare…

I believe that unless and until we change our focus – preventive rather than curative… the population would continue to suffer because end of the day… suffering population means money for all in the healthcare sector…

Where is the ‘care’ in Healthcare?

This is a very cynical view of healthcare.

Does healthcare really care about the people suffering from various illnesses?

The most altruistic business in the world is actually as profit driven as any other business… as sales driven as FMCG product.

I think the problem is that all players in this sector have been caught up by the word ‘business’.

Saw an ad for a Clinical Research Training Institute the other day which talked about “Recession proof careers”. It’s a fact alright… but a rather scary fact. Healthcare actually is recession proof… No matter what, people would have ailments… people would need to visit the doctors… people would need medicine. There is really no way out. Its a business that would never go out of fashion.

How many take up the profession of being a healer because it is about alleviating the suffering of mankind?

A pharmaceutical company… will it ever want a person to get cured completely? A cured person is a customer lost. A cured customer is a patient lost for the doctor or hospital…

We get a cold or a cough… we take medicine and it goes away… only to return at a later date. Now why cant there be a medicine which kills it completely??

Why are chronic ailments chronic?? Why after so many years we are still struggling with managing them?

Why everyone in healthcare focuses on “curing”? Why is prevention not a bigger industry than disease management?

Why are doctors pampered so much by the pharmaceutical companies?

Has Hippocrates oath lost it’s meaning?

How easy is it to claim healthcare insurance in the eventuality of claiming it?

All constituents in this space play on the fear factor of the individual without realizing that any visit for any kind of ailment actually comes with a whole lot of cynicism (the cost that would be incurred by paying to every link in the chain)

I truly believe that the day healthcare starts focusing on prevention rather than cure, is the day when the business of healthcare would be profitable and lot more fulfilling for  all concerned.