A girl child, born in 1999, suffered from cerebral palsy. This was not her fate, but doctor’s negligence. She fought hard and survived for 12 excruciating years with 95% of disability. The unnecessary, prolonged labour and excessive administration of syntocin led to this mental and physical agony. The child died, but the pain remains.
A case against the doctor and the hospital, Indraprastha Apollo, was filed in the consumer commission. National Consumer Disputes & Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ordered the hospital administration and the gynaecologist, Dr. Sohini Verma, to pay 80 lakh and 20 lakh to the family respectively. The compensation is stated as just and proper by the NCDRC but will it be an end to such cases? It is a question that still remains unanswered.
It is not the first time that Indraprastha Apollo Hospital has indulged in unethical and irresponsible practice. There are many instances which have already disgraced one of the most well known names in this industry. Dr. Sushil Kumar, one of the resident doctors of Apollo Hospital, was not only blamed for medical negligence in many cases, he was also accused of raping his colleague. The environment of the hospital can be determined by the statement made by the culprit regarding this case. He said, “Everything that happened was consensual, and I am the father of the child”. He was not showing any sign of guilt.
This is just one example of the filthy environment in which the so-called five-star hospitals operate. The online customer forum and customer complaint blogs are filled with the reviews of the patients and their relatives and they only depict the sorry picture of the hospitals.
The concept of hospitals has changed. Plush and luxurious, one feels more like being in a five-star hotel rather than a health care facility. Hospitals now work on the principles of profit-making, compromising patient care in the process.
Medical negligence is not the only issue. The administrations are high-handed and only serve with care those who are rich and famous. A patient, who is financially weak, cannot even dream of getting treatment done in such hospitals. The Apollo is not the only culprit.
Think of Max, Fortis, Medanta and one visualises plush lobbies, luxurious suites for high-end patients and high-charging doctors. The room tariffs are greater than luxury hotels, private hospitals are adopting the best practices in hospitality to satisfy the whims of the truly demanding. There are Wi-Fi enabled suites, extra-large LED TV sets and ultramodern gadgets to ensure the high-flying CEO or a businessman gets the best environment to sleep in, not necessarily the best treatment.
There are a few Rs. 30,000-a-night suites that house patients with all attendants and all other items of comfort and luxury. On the other hand, there is negligence and the hospitals are generally inhospitable to the weak.
In today’s scenario, the quality of life and health is deteriorating. So is the quality of health facilities.