Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
A Patient, and Doctor, Should Be Patient!
‘Hurry’ is the most dangerous word in  medical care
 
“No man who is in a hurry is quite civilized.”—Will Durant
 
The world is in a hurry. Patients are in a hurry to get better; and so is the doctor who wants quick results. Neither has the patience which is essential for recovery from illness. Most patients think that there is a pill for every ill and demand immediate interventions. We have plenty of doctors who oblige them happily and load them with drugs. My newly acquired specialty is to ‘de-drug’ them, similar to de-addiction! Big Pharma, with their eyes on profit, use all methods to make doctors prescribe their wares immediately on release. 
 
One wise man, Sir William Osler, had warned us that “the most important obligation of every doctor is to dissuade patients from taking drugs!” Of course, today’s super-specialists will say that Sir Osler did not know as many facts as they know today and did not have access to as many powerful drugs as we have today. In my opinion, the best doctor is one who knows when not to give drugs. On their part, drug companies are in a tearing hurry to pour new drug molecules into the market. That process has become easier in the United States these days as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become an extended arm of pharmaceutical companies. Almost 80% of FDA’s budget is now coming from the pharma lobby as government funds have dried up. Drugs come to the market faster with less than transparent testing processes.
 
Companies do not seem to have learnt their lessons from certain drugs like Viox; they seem to be in a hurry to shove drugs down the patients’ throats. Paxil, an anti-depressant, is another drug in question. Although their original study data did show enough evidence that these molecules abet suicidal tendencies in all—more so in adolescents—the company got the drug into the market, keeping the regulator in the dark. Now that the cat is out of the bag, it has had to pay a small percentage of its huge profits from that drug as a fine. In all these games, the poor patient is the one who pays for our sins, with his life!
 
I am absolutely comfortable prescribing just about two drugs armamentarium—digoxin, which has been with us for well over 300 years, and sorbide nitrate, which has been with us for 350 years, both having come from homeopathy. Despite their long life, we still do not know the ideal dose of digoxin and the correct indication. The Drug Information Group (DIG), a research body, comes out with contrasting reports even today. Some colleagues boldly prescribe such drugs, most of them just months old in the market. I strongly feel that drug companies should not be in a great hurry to push their molecules. Large independent studies must doubly reassure us that the drug is safe after longer prospective studies of its toxicity. 
 
When a new drug is in the market, doctors have an added responsibility of diligently looking for side-effects. That is the real test of the drug toxicity when millions of people get exposed to the drug. Milrinone was another example of our hurry to set the drug on the go. The drug did not have any human study before being introduced. Later research showed that it killed lots of patients with heart failure, the very diseases the drug was supposed to cure! I can go on and on; suffice it to say that, when it comes to drugs and surgical quick-fixes, it is better to take time before acting. ‘Hurry’ is the most dangerous word in medical care and that is why someone is called a patient when s/he gets ill. The patient should be patient. 
 
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS.)

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

2 years ago

Yet another excellent article by Dr. Hegde. He always raises ethical issues in medical practice, which is alien to new-age doctors, who are often hand-in-glove with pharma companies to prescribe new drugs which as Dr. Hegde states, is not sufficiently tested for human consumption. Kudos to Dr. Hegde for enlightening common folks on the unethical practices prevalent today.

krishna kumar mn

2 years ago

EVERY ONE SHOULD READ THIS. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE AWAY FROM THE ALOPATHY MEDICINES/PILLS WHICH FOLLOW ILLS, AS SAID BY THE EMINENT MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL SRI BM HEGDE. ANY DAY WE HAVE TO LEAVE THIS PLANET, BE READY TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW, U CAN LIVE LONGER. REGARDS, KRISHNA KUMAR MN. 9141791586.

Merchant M S

2 years ago

I agree with you Sir. I may add a small thought " Be true in what you do".

Merchant M S

2 years ago

I agree with you Sir. I may add a small thought " Be true in what you do".

Narendra Doshi

2 years ago

Quiet right

OTPs, PINs & Passwords
Cyberspace is a lot more dangerous than the streets of your neighbourhood. Be extra cautious, especially while doing financial transactions
 
The issue of online fraud is becoming bigger every day. Every other day, there are reports of someone being duped through fraudulent online transactions or by a tele-caller. The latest theme used by fraudsters is asking for a one-time password (OTP), under the pretext of verification, increase in credit limit or loan sanction. Since financial literacy levels is low in India, several people—including many highly educated ones—easily fall into such traps, and then cry foul. Once you lose your money, it will be difficult to get it back. The only thing you can do is to be extra cautious, especially while using your debit/credit card and when using mobile/Internet banking. Also, opt for transaction alert service  via SMS (short message service), which is now a paid service, from your bank. The small amount (Rs15 per quarter) can save thousands of rupees later. Here are some tips to follow...
 
OTPs: When you are using financial services for online transactions, the server, depending upon its configuration to use specified algorithms, generates a one-time password, or OTP, and then sends it to the user either to her registered mobile handset or through email. The transaction is authenticated by using the OTP which means you can successfully make payment or transfer money online.
 
Precaution: Never share your OTP with anyone. If you receive an OTP for a transaction that was not initiated by you, then immediately contact the bank or card issuer. Be extra careful not to share the OTP, especially over a phone call. It may be a fraudster who has initiated the transaction and would be seeking the OTP from you to complete it. In case you receive such a call asking for OTP, then it is time for you to immediately change your password for that account.
 
CVV/PINs: Card verification value (CVV) is used in situations where personal identification number (PIN) cannot be used. The CVV is printed on the reverse of a credit or debit card. For such transactions, like at an ATM or point of sales (POS) terminal (shop), the customer is required to enter the PIN to validate the transaction. However, despite instructions by banks, people are found sharing PINs with near and dear ones. Some even write it on a paper and keep it along with the card or share it with restaurant waiters while paying their bills. No wonder, a thief would have a ball, if he lays his hands on it.
 
Precaution: Never ever share your CVV or PIN with anyone either in person or over phone calls. In addition, do not write the PIN anywhere. When you receive a PIN for your credit or debit card, the first thing you need to do is to visit an ATM of the card issuer and change the PIN. And remember not to use your (or your spouse’s or kid's) date of birth, consecutive (1234...) or identical (1111) numbers.  
 
Passwords: For general sites, which do not affect you personally or financially, use simple, memorable phrases, to create passwords. Reserve your strongest, most distinct passwords for critical services—like your bank account, your computer, personal e-mail and social media sites.
Precautions: Never share your passwords with anyone. Create passwords using memorable phrases; mix it with numbers, special characters. Never use a word from a dictionary, either as base or password. Feel free to mix languages. For financial transactions, I would suggest a password with a length of at least 13 characters.
 

What To Do if Duped? 

The first thing you need to do is to contact your bank or card issuer. File a complaint either through email or in writing. Change the password or PIN. Keep all your correspondence with the service-provider in a secure place. Follow it up regularly until your issue is resolved. If required, you can seek help from Moneylife Foundation’s Free Credit Helpline where retired bankers provide guidance on the exact steps that need to be taken to resolve the issue.

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COMMENTS

Mongal Dan

7 months ago

Very timely and most important article, we need to apply and get
benefit from it.

How not to become a victim of cyberfraud
There is no escape from the cyber space and risks associated with it. Therefore we need to have a strategy to minimise our risks, including, protection from obsolescence, unfair practices, and protection of our identity and digital assets, says Dr Anupam Saraph
 
Who is the custodian of your digital assets? Do you have a strategy to de-risk and protect yourself from modern messiahs promising the wonders of the digital age? Is it really worth the risk to have your smartphone run your life? These were the questions raised and answered by Dr Anupam Saraph at a seminar organised by Moneylife Foundation in Mumbai on "Don't Become a Victim of Cyber fraud: Protect Yourself Now".
 
Dr Saraph, former IT advisor to Chief Minister of Goa, Mr Manohar Parrikar and former CIO of Pune City, said one needs to understand the risks associated with transactions in cyber space; implications of data leaks and privacy breaches through social media or email transactions and your remedies.
 
"There is no escape from the cyber space and risks associated with it. Therefore, we need to have a strategy to minimise our risks. This includes, protection from obsolescence, protection from unfair practices, protecting identity and digital assets," he said.
 
Dr Saraph also explained with several examples, factors that affect our digital experience, like net-neutrality, privacy policies and legal terms of use, audit-ability and digital culture. 
 
Talking about net-neutrality, he said, when the net-neutrality was threatened in the US, President Barack Obama himself took a stand and did all he could to ensure net-neutrality was not compromised. Violation of net-neutrality is looting India of its entrepreneurship, innovation and digital future. It is excluding India from the internet.
 
Net-neutrality allows fair, just, unrestricted and non-monopolised access to the internet. The access is agnostic to the media and content consumed by its customers across the network. "Display of 'internet' in the domain name (internet.org, for example) when the organisation neither owns nor administers the internet is unfair trade practice. Offering websites knowing they are not the internet or slicing up the internet based on content or media, knowing that such does not comply with the standards placed by the World Wide Web (WWW) Foundation or the founder of the WWW, Tim Berners Lee, is also unfair trade practice. Refusing to sell the full internet knowing well that such refusal will raise the cost of internet packages is unfair trade practice," Dr Saraph said.
 
Talking about privacy policy and other legal terms of use, he said, there needs to be a right to opt out and the user should be able to prevent sharing her data with third parties. Dr Saraph said, "Users need to be provided with the right to be forgotten besides policies to safeguard them from unauthorised access."
 
"The systems or websites should have audit-ability, which will have ability to track back a transaction to a person. This will also ensure transacting parties does not deny transaction," he added.
 
Dr Saraph, who had worked with Malcolm Slesser et al. in Edinburgh in the late 1990s to develop the ECCO modelling paradigm for assessing the economic and energy potentials of nations and regions, said, "To protect yourself from obsolescence, you need to use open source formats to store digital assets, upgrade backups to current media and avoid using digital platforms that evolve fast."
 
"Protection from unfair practices can be obtained by choosing to opt-out whenever possible, and avoiding digital platforms that lack privacy protection and have unfair terms of use," he added.
 
Talking on protecting identity online, Dr Saraph, said, "Opt-out wherever a single ID will run your life, avoid digital platforms that lack privacy and have no human help and most important, whenever possible use a two-step authentication."
 
Cyber-crime and privacy breach in India has been growing exponentially every few months. In this scenario, remember your identity, assets and existence are at stake and you only are responsible for your security. So next time you are online, be vigilant and try to minimise your risks, Dr Saraph concluded.

 

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COMMENTS

Krishnamurthy Sundararajan

2 years ago

How not to become a victim of cyberfraud-please publish this event video in Utube.Krishnamurthy

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