Medicine as a profession

Today a friend was collecting money at office to help his friend who is
hospitalized at Chennai. The patient was very poor and could not afford
the treatment. Already the patient had spent a few lakhs of rupees and
for futher treatment a few more lakhs were needed. Several people in
our office donated some money and sent to the hospital. The hospital
seemed to have a very well organized way to collect such donations.

This makes me think where does the money collected thus  by charity
to poor patients go. If it goes to pay the rich doctors, then it is a pity.
The profession of medicine itself is a pitiable job. Earning one’s bread
at the cost of curing the disease of others is ironic.

There was a saint in Bengal. A doctor bowed down to her to get her
blessing. She told him, “I cannot bless you with prosperity, because
that would mean disease to others.” Curing the disease of others and
alleviating the pain of others is surely a noble deed. But doing that as
a profession and amassing wealth and fortune by that profession is
something I am not able to accept.

Then, is there no way for doctors? I guess there is. If people pay for
their health and not for their disease, it is fine. Let us say, there is a
system where every healthy person pays a fixed amount, which goes
to pay the doctors a fixed amount, say monthly. If anyone falls sick,
he is treated free of cost. If there is not enough money to treat the
patient, it is cut off from the doctor’s monthly payment. Thus, the
doctor is responsible for the health of the people and is paid for that.
If people dont fall sick, the doctor gets easy money. This is better
than doctor getting more money when more people fall sick.

This logic is in place if the health care is provided free of cost to the
people by the government and all doctors are regular employees
of the hospitals. Doctors in such a system are free from guilt. Again,
if these doctors take service charges (a.k.a bribe) from the patients,
then again they are guilty. This system is in place in most of
Europe and Canada.

How about the insurance system like in the US? I have never heard
of a worse health care system than what is in place in the US. The
doctors are practically inaccessible. There is a lot of underhand
deals between the hospitals and the insurance companies, and between
the drug companies and both the above. The entire system is a big
mess.

Atleast in countries like India, basic medical facilities are available
free of cost to everyone, and luxurious medical care is available
for a price to people who can afford it. Highly specialized medical
care is available at a nominal cost to everyone. The health care
system is much better than in the US. It is a judicious mix of private
and government medical care.

Coming to the ethical position of the doctors, in both the systems –
the US and India – are equally guilty. They live on disease and not
on health. The more sick the general public is, the more money they
earn. On the top of it, the doctors in India evade income tax. That
adds more to their already heavy baggage of guilt.

The case of stock investors is different, but equally questionable.
I really pity the employees of the public companies, who toil day and
night just to increase the fortune of a smart investor. Any means of
acquiring wealth without any constructive contribution is abhorrent.
These include gambling, bribery, robbery, stock market, real estate,
etc. These professions violate the balance of “you get what you pay
for” in the short term, which have to have long term readjustments.
Nature has a balance, which is non-violable. And, the readjustments
will be painful. I pity the people who earn wealth and sometimes even
livelihood by these means. They will have to pay for it in future. There
is no escape from the balance of Nature.

Pay more attention to where your bread and bed come from. Make
sure you deserve what you eat and dont enjoy other’s sorrow. You will
have to pay back dearly in future.

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One Response to Medicine as a profession

  1. sankhdip says:

    Eye opening. I thought US is best in health, medicine, but here India wins. Amazing. Never heard before.

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