Citizens' Issues
After taking Hippocratic Oath, doctor practices hypocrisy; gets 45 years in prison
When in doubt, we should not hesitate to ask questions, and if the doctor is evasive in giving answers, we should be extra cautious while dealing with such doctors
  
In a shocking incident of hypocrisy, cheating and Medicare fraud, a doctor from Detroit, US, has been sentenced to 45 years in jail for intentionally prescribing over 9,000 unnecessary injections and infusions to at least 553 patients over a six-year period as per the report in Newsweek dated 10 July 2015. These treatments amounted to nearly $35 million in insurance billings. 
 
As per the media report, Dr Farid Fata, a 50-year old haematologist-oncologist of Detroit, Michigan pleaded guilty to giving cancer treatments to misdiagnosed patients, telling some that they had a terminal blood cancer called multiple myeloma and giving them unnecessary chemotherapy treatment in order to claim millions in health insurance. The court held that Dr Fata administered stunning doses of the strong and expensive drug ‘Rituximab’ to his patients exposing them to life threatening conditions. Newsweek further reported that the drug, which is usually given up to eight times for aggressive lymphoma was given to one patient 94 times and another 76 and in all Dr Fata gave out over 9,000 unnecessary injections. He kept a tight leash on information by denying patients access to their full medical files—preventing them from being able to effectively seek a second opinion, the report said.
 
Dr Fata, a naturalized citizen of US, originally a native of Lebanon, was a trusted oncologist in the community. He was trained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York and founded Michigan Hematology and Oncology Inc, the state's largest private cancer practice at the time of his arrest. This is, therefore, a heinous example of misusing the trust and confidence of the patients by one of the noted medical practitioners, who out of sheer greed and aggrandizement cheated on the innocent patients who suffered incalculable harm physically, emotionally and financially as well. 
 
Dr Fata pleaded guilty to 13 counts of Medicare fraud, one count of conspiracy to receive payments and two counts of money laundering. He was forced to forfeit $17.6 million that he had amassed from Medicare and private insurance companies. Fata reported to have delivered an emotional apology in court as he was sentenced to over four decades in prison.
 
According to CNN,  Dr Fata turned to face those who were at his sentencing and apologised saying: “I have violated the Hippocratic oath and violated the trust of my patients. I do not know how I can heal the wound. I do not know how to express the sorrow and the shame.”
 
As per the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Hippocratic Oath, ethical code attributed to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, adopted as a guide to conduct by the medical profession throughout the ages and still used in the graduation ceremonies of many medical schools. In the oath, the physician pledges to prescribe only beneficial treatments, according to his abilities and judgment; to refrain from causing harm or hurt; and to live an exemplary personal and professional life.
 
In stark contrast to this ethical code, Dr Feta brazenly and with criminal intent totally abdicated his professional responsibility and practised hypocrisy with monstrous effect on the hapless patients. The Federal prosecutors called the doctor the “most egregious fraudster in the history of this country,” saying that for Dr. Fata “patients were not people. They were profit centres.” 
 
What lessons to learn from this horrid incident?
Though this happened in United States, human nature being what it is, we can learn several lessons from this horrid incident:
  1. Firstly, it is not desirable to have implicit faith in any one physician, whatever be his qualifications and popularity. When in doubt, we should not hesitate to ask questions, and if the doctor is evasive in giving answers, we should be extra cautious while dealing with such doctors.
  2. It is always advisable to take a second opinion when the sickness is unusual to ensure that the proposed treatment is on right lines, and decide on the course of treatment based on our own best of judgement in consultation with our family.
  3. In the words of Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee, “A good doctor is one who knows how to treat patients; a better doctor is one who knows when to interfere in the patients’ problems. But the best doctor is one who knows when NOT to interfere with patients. Patients need the full of empathy of the best doctors.”  We should, therefore, try to identify the best doctor of the type described above and go to him, if we are lucky to find one. 
However, I must admit that when one is both physically and mentally down with undiagnosed sickness, all these lessons do not hold water, and as it is said ‘experience is the best teacher’ when chips are down. 
 
(The author is a financial analyst, writing for Moneylife under the pen-name ‘Gurpur’.)
 

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COMMENTS

Sanjay Shah

2 years ago

Dear Editor
Why does this article belong to a site like Moneylife. It is neither about finance nor about India. I think you should respect the reason of subscriber being here on this site.
Regards

REPLY

Sucheta Dalal

In Reply to Sanjay Shah 2 years ago

One half of our name -- Moneylife -- is about life. This is about the life part of moneylife and the article has been hugely appreciated.
In fact, articles by Prof Hegde, mentioned here, have their own fan following both in the magazine and online.

We also plan an occasional series on Healthcare related issues by Mr Ramesh Arunachalam.

So please get ready for more. The online edition is FREE, without subscription and if you do not want to read about these issues, there is nothing to stop you from skipping the article.
Even if you are a paid subscriber of the magazine, please skip the page.

Please respect the editor's decision on these issues.

MG Warrier

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 2 years ago

Nothing to worry. Some protest and dissent can be accommodated. Moneylife has all along been giving a mix of money, life and matters concerning life. This website gives news, analyses and well-researched articles in addition to news and views from within the country and outside. The criticism has come perhaps because of the individual's 'attachment' to moneylife! Once the idea that this is a newspaper plus magazine (Two-in-one) dedicated to percolation of infirmation and knowledge sinks, reader will have less problem.

subramanian dharmarajan

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 2 years ago

completely agree.the name moneylife itself is a hint that this magazine and its owners care about life as well as money of its readers and everyone else since both are equally necessary.more power to them

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

In Reply to Sucheta Dalal 2 years ago

Madam Sucheta,

Such articles are needed in future on Moneylife's site.

This is an eye opening article to medical fraternity in India. Almost 95% of the doctors prescribe medicines, which are almost three times costlier, than similar medicines are available with generic names with same quality and same strength, but are not prescribed, by the doctors, as doctors are getting huge commission from such medicine companies.

Doctors ask patients to go to a particular medical shop to buy their prescrbed medicines, particular pathology labs for getting patients' pathological tests. Some times doctors even ask patients to get done some pathological tests, which are costly and not required by the patients. Doctors while writing such tests, there is understanding between pathology labs and such doctors. Laboratories do only required cheap pathology tests, and pass extra amount so collected by labs to the doctors, who prescribe such tests.

Doctors ask patients to go to particular hospitals for their operations. In such hospitals, they first inflate the charges, and then decrease the charge as discount to the patient of that doctor, to whom they claim to be the friend of the surgeon, just to keep patient happy. Still hospital has over charged the patient, amount of which is passed to the doctor, who referred the patient to that hospital for the operation.

Prof Dr Hegde, from his informative articles in Moneylife fortnightly has exposed several malpractices continued in medical field.

If such things, as happened in the present article, if it has happened in India, doctor would have gone scotch free. Such a doctor would have put a defamation case against the complainant and doctor would have won, by hiring some good advocate. Such thing has not happened in America.

We want much more such articles to be published in Moneylife's electronic magazine, so that any reader can write his opinion just by typing himself directly in E-magazine.

manoharlalsharma

2 years ago

what is EXPECTED from system is not mainteneble in INDIA because of BAD POLITICS and non existence of ethical code.

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

2 years ago

In American, for his misdeeds, a doctor was sentenced to jail for 45 years.
Will such things will happen in India for a wrong doing by a doctor?

Sunil Suryanarayan

2 years ago

When will we have such exemplary punishments to doctors involved in regular malpractice in India ???

CSR norms cover 16,500 companies
As many as 16,500 companies in India fall under the purview of mandatory corporate social responsibility (CSR) norms, posing a challenge not only for those engaging in such causes for the first time but also others in terms of effective implementation and reporting, experts maintain.
 
"Companies have good intention to spend on CSR but are not able to manage the entire CSR lifecycle," said Parul Soni, global managing partner with Thinkthrough Consulting Global, which specialises in social development initiatives.
 
"They are unable to find good implementing partners -- those who are able to understand the vision of the company," Soni told a seminar co-hosted by the National HRD Network (NHRDN) and Thinkthrough Consulting. 
 
"There is an immediate need to develop the capacity of the implementing partners across different domains so that they can sustainably implement the CSR vision of the company."
 
Stakeholders told the seminar that despite India emerging as one of the fast-growing economies, millions of Indians still live in abject poverty, putting the corporate sector under severe scrutiny due to such uneven development.
 
With Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 laying down the rules for CSR, the seminar focused on "From Act to Action" towards better implementation of the mandate given to the corporate sector, as also to prepare a blue print for the road ahead.
 
"CSR needs to focus on issues related to women empowerment, child nutrition. We say our children are the future of this country! Let's collectively make an effort to keep our future well nourished at an early age, as most of their growth happens during the first few years," Lalitha Kumarmangalam, chairperson of National Commission for Women, said.
 
"Also let's rise & contribute towards the women empowerment by ensuring financial independence, instilling soft skills and by making them technology savvy," she added.
 
Most NGO's or foundations for social welfare, are run by people with good intentions but the lack of execution and insufficient co-ordination with the corporates is not getting them the respect they deserve, K Ramkumar, national president NHRDN and executive director ICICI Bank said.
 
"It is this mismatch which is making the funds fall through the cracks."

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A.P.J. Abdul Kalam: India's missile man, an indomitable spirit
An enthusiast till the last for sharing ideas with students and youth, it was not surprising that former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was delivering a lecture at the IIM-Shillong when he collapsed and died in a hospital shortly afterwards.
 
His last tweet on Monday sounded enthusiastic "Going to Shillong.. to take course on Livable Planet earth at IIM." His handle @APJAbdulKalam, described him as "Scientist, teacher, learner and writer. Served as the 11th President of India (2002-07). Working for an economically developed nation by 2020."
 
Popularly known as India's "Missile Man", Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam crowned a illustrious acientific career with a term as india's first citizen after the then Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government put forward his name as K.R. Narayanan's successor. He was recipient of India's highest civilian honour - the Bharat Ratna - in 1997.
 
One of India's best known scientists, Kalam was full of ideas on how to solve India's problems - on bridging the rural-urban divide through his pet concept of PURA or "Providing Urban amenities in Rural Areasa - for empowering villages, and also to use solar power in a big way to tide over India's energy needs.
 
PURA, Kalam said, was about giving a cluster of villages physical, electronic and knowledge connectivity and he had in mind creating about 7,000 PURAs across the country.
 
"I believe that connectivity is the key to bridging the rural-urban divide. The core-competence of the village will enable the production of competitive products for national and international markets. This will lead to rural enterprises which will create jobs in villages and lead to a vibrant economy in India's hinterland. That is how prosperity will emerge in the rural environment," he said in an interview to Wharton in 2008.
 
He enumerated five traits that a leader, especially the president of India, must have. "The leader must have vision. Without vision, you cannot be a leader. Second, the leader must be able to travel into an unexplored path. Normally the tendency is for people to travel along well-laid out ways. Third, the leader must know how to manage success, and even more importantly, failure.
 
"The fourth trait is that the leader should have the courage to make decisions. Fifth, the leader should have nobility in management. Every action of the leader should be transparent. And finally, the leader should work with integrity and succeed with integrity," he said in the same interview.
 
Kalam had also drawn up an elaborate plan to power Rashtrapati Bhavan with solar power, but his term ended before he could implement it. He believed that besides solar, India should also go in for nuclear energy and also bio fuels from jatropha plant and algae.
 
Born on October 15, 1931 at the Hindu pilgrim town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Kalam specialized in aeronautical engineering from Madras Institute of Technology and in 1958, joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
 
He moved to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), where he was project director of India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III), which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India a member of the exclusive Space Club.
 
In his two-decade stint in the space agency, he was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration. 
 
He rejoined DRDO in 1982, and planned the programme that produced a number of successful missiles, earning him the "Missile Man" nickname. He took up the responsibility of developing indigenous weapons as the chief executive of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He was responsible for the development and operationalisation of Agni and Prithvi missiles.
 
From 1992 to 1997, Kalam was scientific adviser to the defence minister, and later served as principal scientific adviser (1999-2001) to the government with the rank of cabinet minister.
 
He played a prominent role in the country's 1998 nuclear weapons tests, Pokhran-II, which established Kalam as a national hero.
 
He also gave thrust to self-reliance in defence systems by progressing multiple development tasks and mission projects such as Light Combat Aircraft.
 
In 1998, Kalam put forward a countrywide plan called Technology Vision 2020, which he described as a road map for transforming India from a less-developed to a developed society in 20 years, and called for, among other measures, increasing agricultural productivity, technology as a vehicle for economic growth, and widening access to health care and education.
 
From November 2001, Kalam was professor, technology and societal transformation at Anna University, Chennai.
 
He wrote four books - "Wings of Fire", "India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium", "My Journey" and "Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India".
 
One of the most distinguished scientists of India with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions, he was was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1981, and Padma Vibhushan in 1990 before the Bharat Ratna.
 
Not many known that he was a poet too. His favourite poem was "The Vision", which he also recited in parliament.
 
"I climbed and climbed/Where is the peak, my Lord?
I ploughed and ploughed/Where is the knowledge treasure, my Lord?
I sailed and sailed/Where is the island of peace, my Lord?
Almighty, bless my nation/With vision and sweat resulting into happiness".
 
On July 22, Kalam tweeted: "An indomitable spirit stands on two feet.. vision and firm thought". It could serve as an apt description for him.

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COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

2 years ago

ONLY PRESIDENT CAN BE MATCH WITH PURE INDIAN AS AN COMMON MAN & NO INTEREST OF POLITICS,SUCH A LOSS CAN NOT BE FULL FIELD./thanks to his humble NATURE.

Vikram Dhotre

2 years ago

APJ's golden years of holding a public office will remain unmatched by all known standards.

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