When you go to a doctor, he looks at you and suggests some tests. Once the reports are out, he calls you for a ‘consulting’.

Then he tells you: Mr. A it is all stress.

You look at your wife sitting next to you….and almost say ‘see it is all stress’.

What is wrong with this?

Everything.

Doctors have lost (or are fast losing) the diagnostic skills. So everything has to be a ‘test’.

After seeing all your reports he should say: “You stupid jerk, you are eating too much, drinking too much beer, partying, not exercising…if you do not change your life style NOW you will drop dead on some lonely airport seat or in a plane”.

However, if he blames your BP, diabetes, hypertension – all on stress, he has you as a friend.

Now he can give you a complete rainbow of medicines (which all sound like ‘sin’!!!), charge you a nice fat fee, and start ‘curing’ you.

In most cases, if you are not paying, you are the product.

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  1. There indeed is a doctor in Trivandrum who once bluntly said to an obese man in his early thirties, who complained of breathlessness – “Your wife will be a widow in one year. Please make sure you provide enough cash for her and your child”.

    The man was stunned. But he pleaded with the doctor to save him, who advised a strict regime.
    Remarkably, the man controlled his lifestyle extremely well and could be healthy in 6 months!

  2. Subra,
    Apologies…I didn’t quite catch the meaning of the last sentence:
    ‘In most cases, if you are not paying, you are the product.’

    In cases where I’m not paying (insurance? relative pays?) who am I a product for?

    Part of these recent ‘lifestyle’ diseases is not only the media goading you to consume the fast/processed/junk foods, but also incorrect knowledge of the whole issue being perpetrated by self-serving vested interests (big pharma) in order to ensure their product sales.

    But now, thanks to the internet, these false ideas (saturated fat is bad, unsaturated fat is good etc) are being overturned. For the really interested/concerned man about heart disease, body strength, life longevity details are now quite freely available on the internet, if you know where and how to search it. Your friendly cardiologist is no longer the sole source of (accurate?) information.

  3. “Doctors have lost (or are fast losing) the diagnostic skills. So everything has to be a ‘test’.”
    I think this is a very significant observation. Most of the doctors do not have the time (or ability?) to ask enough probing questions. At the same time, they have very little patience to listen to or respond to questions.
    I see this as an offshoot of them trying to maximise their billability. I think it would be best if they have a tariff card based on time provided to a patient (like shrinks). At least then, I can ask them to switch off the phone & give me undivided attention as long as I’m paying for their time…

  4. Frankly I do not think the Indian population respects professional time. This causes a prof to use all other routes. Imagine a GP who charges Rs. 500 for a visit. So he has to prune it down to 50 or 100..and then try all the stuff of kickbacks. ‘Doctor’ business as a GP is not lucrative in an economy where a fresh MBA or CA expects to start on a salary of Rs. 6-10L p.a.

    For a MBBS (GP) to earn Rs. 5L post taxes, he will have to charge Rs. 500 per patient and see 120 patients a month – about 5 NEW/FRESH patients a day. No wonder that animal called a ‘GP’ is rare, if not extinct.

  5. subra, i agree with the observation. for a doctor to earn 10L pa, his ‘billing’ rate should be at least 500rs per hour. which means to ‘consult’ a patient for 15 mins (which is WAY more time than that an GP usually gives to a regular patient), a charge of 125 rs per hour for cost seems fair. Of course overheads for running a private clinic might need to be added to this. Even then, I feel that an average patient is not getting his/her due share of time/attention for the money they shell out…

  6. sir,
    u seem biased against doctors in general. not every one is like that. i know doctors who counsel patients for 1 hr if needed, explaining them all available options including govt hospitals where similar treatment is available and let them choose freely.
    more diagnostic tests are being ordered today than say 10 /5 yrs ago but that is because of our capability to diagnose diseases in more earlier stages and greater understanding of disease.
    also diet cannot cure every thing .we tell them that they have to be more responsibe and then start treatment.

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