Monday, 12 August 2013

Medicine - a money making machine

I’m literally sick of doctors. Not just in that I hate visiting doctors, hospitals, clinics and popping pills. But I am truly sick and tired of the kind of doctors I’ve met lately—and all of them seem to be the same. Unfortunately, I’ve had a host of problems lately which has led me into the cabins of a gynaecologist, an ENT specialist, a dentist and an orthopaedic. And every single experience has been horrific and blood-boiling, to put it mildly.

Gynaecologists are supposed to be gentle, understanding and patient. The one I met, supposedly a famous one, was anything but these. On first glance, she is a sweet old lady who treats you like a grandchild. But during the course of my two very short visits I discovered that she was impatient, snappy and rough—too busy to spend time on one patient; she had money to make! This woman was so terrible that she literally drove me to tears and I vowed never to return to her.

My ENT doctor has been one I’ve been going to for the last three years or so. He’s told me the same thing every time—I have a recurring infection. But I was never thinking clearly; to me, he eased my excruciating pain and that made me want to go back to him every time. He also instructed me to visit only one particular pharmacy for the medicines he prescribed, every single time. I never quite saw through this till my friends pointed it out. The last time I went to him, I was adamant not to go to the particular chemist so that he doesn’t get his cut. Thereafter, I visited at least 8-10 chemists across the city and none of them had all the medicines. Apart from this, he has always been full of personal questions (he remarkably remembers every single detail of my personal life, that I foolishly shared before) and does not get the hint when I don’t want to discuss it with him. I’m simply going to find a new ENT the next time my problem resurfaces.

Finally, I went to an orthopaedic a few days ago. He checked me out (after which my pain was only exacerbated) and after making some small talk, I exited his cabin to pay the OPD fee. It’s only then that I discovered that the fee for his moving around my wrist for less than 10 minutes was a whopping 1,000 bucks. I sighed but relented. Since I wasn’t carrying that much cash I asked whether I could either go to an ATM to withdraw the money or could pay by card. The lady at the desk said I would have to pay by card but would have to pay 200 bucks extra (this was after she had a quick conversation with the blessed doctor). Again, I sighed and relented. It was my fault that I hadn’t asked how much the fee was before I came and that I didn’t carry enough cash. I specifically asked her for a bill, which she said she would furnish once the payment was done. I was taken downstairs where I made the card payment and then returned to the very polite lady’s desk to ask for my bill. I was then rudely told that the doctor had left and I would have to come back for the receipt. I was fuming, especially since I had already made it clear that I need the bill—1200 bucks isn’t a small amount. She put her hands up and asked me to speak directly to the doctor.

I did send the good doctor a message who categorically told me that he cannot give me a receipt till he receives the cash in hand, which could take up to seven to ten days. In the interim, he told me, the hospital would give me a bill. Utter bullshit, either way.
What has happened to the honour associated with the medical profession? Yes, money is important for all of us, I don’t deny that. But for a doctor, is that all it’s about? Wasn’t the profession supposed to be about helping and healing people? When did it become about fastest money first, at the expense (literally) of their poor suffering patients?

I have truly had it with these miserable creatures. I’m so tempted to name each one of these doctors, but I’m using every last ounce of willpower to refrain from doing so. Henceforth, I’d prefer to either let my problems solve themselves, or take bloody good care of myself so that I don’t have to keep going back to them—alone, that too.

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