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‘Doctors fake surgeries for profit’

| RUPSA CHAKRABORTY
Published : Apr 14, 2016, 8:45 pm IST
Updated : Apr 14, 2016, 8:45 pm IST

Two doctors, Dr Arun Gadre and Dr Abhay Shukla, have exposed a range of malpractices by private hospitals and pharma companies, which include doctors performing unnecessary — and sometimes even fake —

Two doctors, Dr Arun Gadre and Dr Abhay Shukla, have exposed a range of malpractices by private hospitals and pharma companies, which include doctors performing unnecessary — and sometimes even fake — surgeries to achieve ‘sales targets’. In exchange, hospitals and pharma firms offer money and other rewards. Doctors Gadre and Shukla have chronicled this in Dissenting Diagnosis, a book that will be released by Penguin later this month. A preview copy of the book, shared with The Asian Age, documents the prevalence of sales targets given to doctors such as admitting a certain number of patients for operations.

In one of the incidents mentioned, the authors revealed that a patient was advised a hernia operation. But in reality, he wasn’t suffering from hernia at all. “Sometimes even when there is no serious ailment, a pretense of surgery is performed. Nothing is really wrong with the patient. But he is given anaesthesia and some stitches are put on the skin, to show that an ‘operation’ has been done. A huge, completely unnecessary bill is charged,” a doctor, whose identity was not revealed, is quoted as saying.

Several ways in which private practitioners exploit pregnant women and their families by scaring them about medical complications even if their health condition is normal are also exposed. Pregnant women are the most vulnerable group who easily fall prey to the tactics of such doctors, the authors said.

“Nowadays young doctors, and even some senior ones, quite unnecessarily put stitches in the womb of a pregnant woman,” according to a gynecologist practicing in the city.

Whenever, a pregnant woman complains of stomach pain, the doctors perform a sonography (also called ultrasound) and show the cervix is short even when it is normal. “With these ‘managed’ sonography reports, doctors scare the patients and tell them — ‘Get admitted immediately! Get stitches, or you will have a miscarriage! It’s an emergency!” wrote the doctors.

Patients from the economically weaker sections are especially prone to exploitation, says public health expert Dr Rajib Dasgupta of Jawaharlal Nehru University, in the book. “Under the ‘Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana’, private doctors diagnose a complicated hernia even when it is a simple hernia, since this fetches them a higher claim,” he says.

However, Dr K.K. Aggarwal, president of Indian Medical Association, told this newspaper, “Though doctors are given targets they don’t operate wrongly on patients just to siphon off money. It is illegal, and if anyone gets caught, he can lose his licence.”

“And to discourage doctors from the race, we have started ‘no real estate target in hospitals’. So, all the doctors who are part of our association can’t follow such targets, which helps in providing better health facilities,” he added.

Dr Kishore Taori from the Maharashtra Medical Council said, “All doctors are bound by their own ethics and at no cost should they violate it. Whenever, we come across to such violations or malpractices, we take appropriate action against the doctors.”