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Monday, March 24, 2008

Botched Operations

I met Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine hanging around the corridors of Hospicio. He looked upset. “You look upset,” I said.

“I swear by Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I am upset,” he said.

“What’s biting you,” I asked.

“The miserable state of medicine today,” he said.

“Can’t be helped; it’s the population explosion,” I said.

“It’s the medical fraternity; they have forgotten the oath they all took in my name,” he said.

“C’mon you wrote that, or made your student write that way back in the 4th century BC. Surely you can’t expect them to keep to it in letter and spirit?” I said.

“It’s because they don’t keep to it that they are getting into these messes,” he said.

“I tell you it’s the population, too many students in medical college they don’t get proper teaching,” I said.

“The art of medicine has to be handed down from father to son, from doctor to the student who has signed the covenant and taken an oath according to the medical law. Here you have medical colleges charging a king’s ransom, to teach medicine,” he said.

“Microscopes and cadavers are expensive,” I said.

“Then you have two doctors getting their teenaged son to do a C-Section on a pregnant woman. That is in clear contravention of my Oath which says: I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favour of such men as are engaged in this work,” he said.

“Ah but the boy did not take the oath, his parents did. He was merely obeying his parents,” I pointed out.

“Then there is that team of doctors in Meerut who refused to deliver the baby of an HIV mother and instead made her husband deliver the baby under their direction. What happened to: I will apply … measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice, huh? he shouted.

“The father changed his statement later,” I said.

“He was forced to do it. And now the most unbelievable of all..! Doctors, DOCTORS are involved in terrorist acts. And they all swore this oath solemnly: Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief. These doctors wanted to blow up perfectly healthy people in the UK,” he said.

“Yeah, that’s what everyone is referring to as “Botched Operations”, so typical of today’s doctors,” I said.

“And now they want to build more morgues in Goa,” he said.

“You won’t listen to me when I tell you it’s the population explosion; too many births ergo more deaths than before,” I said.

“I have a simple but guaranteed solution to bringing down the hospital death rate. All they need to do is keep the deceased patient in the house of the doctor who treated him. Keep the body in the doctor’s house until it is time for burial or cremation. I guarantee you this – the hospital death rate will drop,” he said.

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