October 1, 2006

Medical ethics. Where's it ?

A surgeon who won't take kickbacks from the lab or radiology facility to which he/she sends patients; and won't give a cut to the physician who sent him the patient might lose referrals from other physicians.

Is he naive? Or is he just being ethical ?

Dr Abraham Verghese: I think in the US, and perhaps in India, we've drifted so far away from the ideal that we are not even aware that there is a standard that we're supposed to adhere to.
Dr Verghese, Director, Centre for medical humanities and ethics, University of Texas, addresses this and many other ethics issues in an interview with C K Meena that appears in The Hindu.

Author of My Own Country: a doctor's story, a best-selling memoirs about treating AIDS in smalltown USA, Dr Abraham Verghese was in India to attend a Clinical Ethics Conference at Christian Medical College, Vellore.

1 comment:

Dr (Lt Col) Y N I Anand said...

It may be interesting to know that the practice of offering kickbacks did not exist before the eighties. Come one of the India's chain of private hospitals, a beginning was made. He told his employees that medical profession was like any other business and not charity and that proper marketing was to be made. If the medical representatives offered all sorts of samples, holiday trips & conference expenses to the doctors, what was wrong in offering "cuts"? he said. The cuts were irrestible even for those who resisted it for a long time like those wearing a chastity belt! Once the belt was gone, every thing was free for all. I have heard of many senior, well settled, stinking rich specialists who earn more by means of cuts than by their own practice. I also know of institutions who pay @ 50% for each scan done during the month and thereafter, imagine the rate! Full amount is paid as cut!! Well sir, Dr Abraham Verghese is not alone in his fight against such social evils. Many of us are with him.