The gentle west wind hums/ As it blows in from the lake/ Over the fields and swaying palms/ The soul songs of the waves.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Medical ethics: Fleecing the patients
This story is about what happened to me during the last few days:
-Nov 6. At a relative’s house I take a step without noticing the difference in floor levels and lose balance. I turn sharply on my left foot and avoid a fall.
-Next day. Slight pain and swelling on the left foot.
-Day 3, Saturday. Heavy swelling and pain. I go to a major hospital in Chennai. The top ortho doctor not available. A junior takes a look at the foot and says the ankle is fractured and/or twisted and it has to be in a cast for three weeks. Then he sends me for an X-ray.
-The (Rs.500) X-ray does not show any fracture, says the doctor. He adds that ligaments must be torn and that would show only on MRI. He does not insist on a scan but decides to go ahead with the cast.
-We buy the materials the doctor wants and the cast is done. Actually it is a ten minutes job for a good paramedic.
-The doctor prescribes some medicines and tells me to buy a pair of special boots from a particular shop.
-I am billed Rs.2500 for the Chief Doctor’s time. That man was not present!
-On Tuesday I meet a leading Ortho of Chennai at his new hospital. He looks at the X-ray and points out to what appeared to be a fracture. It was at a corner of the image. A new X-ray (Rs.150) confirms the fracture at the base of the small toe.
-The doctor tells me to keep the cast anyway because it was already on and happens to protect the affected part also. His charge is Rs.250.
What the glamour hospital did was criminal. The young doctor was incompetent and negligent. He was signing in the name of his boss. I was charged for the services of the Senior Doctor who was not even there. The amount was exorbitant.
I have to keep my feet up for a few days and no computer work. My mailbox is piling up. For publishing posts I have to take help from others. Really, I feel the need for a laptop now.
Lessons learned: 1. Always find out the charges before agreeing to a medical procedure. 2. With some hospitals and doctors making money seems to be the primary objective. Healing is incidental.