Doctors working in private medical hospitals work are under severe pressure from the management for whom nothing else matters except profit–profit with a capital P.
True, the owners have invested a huge amount of money to set up these hospitals and they have to recover the money. They aren’t doing any charity. But, in reality, what we see is mindless profiteering without any social responsibility. They are ruthless mercenaries determined to loot money using every possible unscrupulous ways and unfair means.
As soon as a consultant is appointed to a private hospital, he or she is given a target which means the doctor has to get certain number of patients or close to that number. If the doctor fails to meet the target, he would be chucked out.
Working under such a system, a doctor is always under pressure. He knows his job will be on the line, if he doesn’t meet the target. So, to save his job, the doctor has no other option but to resort to malpractices.
A doctor working in the private hospital in Kolkata, I was told, allegedly struck a deal with a city-based government-run hospital just to save his job. Moribund patients from that government-run hospital were shifted to this private hospital, and those patients were put on life-support system even though the doctor in charge of the Emergency Department knows very well that the patients will die within 10 to 12 hours.
A ‘well-known cardiologist’ in a private hospital asked his student doing MD in Burdwan to get patients. The deal is for every patient requiring angioplasty, the student will get Rs 10,000.
What happened recently is shocking. The student told his ‘Sir’ about a patient who needed angioplasty. When the ‘Sir’ told his student that the patient must shell out Rs 1.5 lakh for stent implant, the student said it would be very difficult for the patient to arrange that amount.
However, the family members of the patient did arrange that amount with much difficulty. After the angioplasty is done, the patient was handed a bill of Rs 1.8 lakh (Rs 30,000 more than what the ‘Sir’ told him). The student, who also does private practice in spare time, was stunned to hear this. For him, it’s a huge loss of face as he told the patient’s family that the angioplasty would cost Rs 1.5 lakh. And the poor patient had really a tough time to arrange for the money.
He said he would forgo his ‘commission’ of Rs 10000 and would ask his ‘Sir’ to bail him out. Otherwise his practice will suffer in Burdwan. One can well understand the predicament of the student-doctor.
Numerous instances are there about how the hospital authorities are fleecing ordinary people. A patient was admitted to a private hospital located in Mukundapur on January 26. She was released on January 31. When the bill was given, her family was stunned. The hospital had charged Rs 960 for four days for physiotherapy even though no physiotherapy was done. Besides, even though the doctor under whom she was admitted didn’t turn up on Saturday and Sunday, the patient was charged with the doctor’s fees for the two days.
(To be continued)