There is an outcry against the commercialisation, rampant profiteering and exploitation in hospitals by doctors and others in the medical profession under the weight of which it has become almost impossible for the poor, middle class and the white collar fraternity in the country in general, particularly in Bombay and Delhi, to get medical assistance and relief within their means.
Once a patient enters a hospital for medical aid and treatment, he is treated as a guinea- pig and without knowing why, he is pushed on to several diagnostic and research machines and is made to pay fancy fees and charges which, in many cases, breaks the back of the patient and his relatives.
The fees of the specialists for visiting a patient at his house are fantastic. Large hospitals have become 5- star hotels and patients are fleeced in several ways. No wonder the people have realised that it is cheaper to die at home than to pay hospital bills and the highly exhorbitant fees of the doctors.
The need for a forum to save the patients from these excesses of the medical profession and to make efforts to secure the provision of cheap medical and hospitalisation services for the common man continues to be voiced from several quarters. Patients and their relatives are afraid to agitate against these malpractices apprehending vindictiveness on the part of doctors and hospitals when they need help.
It is in this context that genuinely motivated and dedicated social organisations like the Medico- Friends Circle,
Medical and Hospital Users’ Welfare Association and Forum for Medical Ethics have to take leading parts in alleviating the suffering of patients-
- to check medical malpractices in various forms by doctors and hospitals;
- to help and guide the unfortunate victims – patients and their relatives – to seek QUICK and FAIR redressal at the district and national Consumer Redressal Forums under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 for legitimate compensation and financial relief.
Indictments and censure by the Indian Medical Council, state medical councils, other governmental organisations
or the FDA have been few and leave the doctors unfazed. The doctor- patient relationship has become very bitter and controversial over the last few years. The introduction of the Act to cover the medical profession and give protection to the consumers or patients has come as a rude shock to the medical fraternity.
The Consumers’ Protection Act would cleanse the medical profession and truly make it a noble calling in the service of humanity.
S. C. Banerji, Senior Member, CGSI Life Member, Indian Red Cross Society
(Editor’s note: Similar sentiments are often to be found in the correspondence columns of our dailies. These do no credit to our profession. It is in our own interest that we root out practices that bring us disrepute.
Failure to do so will only further worsen the relationship so vital to success in our work – that between the patient and the doctor.)
Membership of Forum for Medical Ethics
This newsletter is, at present, available only to members of the Forum and a few other selected individuals and organisations.
The Forum is yet to complete its organisational formalities. As soon as the draft constitution has been finalised it will be sent to members. We shall, then, welcome your suggestions and comments on it.
The Forum can only serve its purpose when all those worried about medical ethics come together First of all, we need concern and meaningful discussion. Next, we need help in publishing the newsletter and other publications that may emerge from the study groups.
How will you assist?