One cannot blame the doctors; they are also tempted. Unfortunately, the black sheep outnumber the good ones. But the bigger issue is the spurious basis of so-called modern medicine
"I have not observed men's honesty to increase with their riches"-Thomas Jefferson
The problem of corruption in the medical world is too gigantic to tackle on Sunday morning television. The show Satyamev Jayate is right in its conclusion that there is lot of corruption in modern medicine, as in any other field in India, including cinema. Let us admit that there are good, bad and ugly doctors just as there are people in every other field, including the media and the judiciary. Politicians are a class apart and have reached the Everest of corruption in India. Man, in the palace or pad; castle or cottage, is governed by the same passions and emotions, was Shakespeare's opinion. One should also not be naïve to believe that stricter rules and tighter controls by watchdog bodies will set things right. Only change of heart among the concerned people will change the system and not rules, regulations and policing.
Building corporate hospitals and insurance covers are also not the answer. In fact, a recent study covering14 industrialized countries showed that where there were more doctors, more specialists and more hospitals, death and disability rates were very high compared to countries like Japan where there are fewer doctors per capita and very few specialists. Health indices and longevity were also inversely proportionate to the number of doctors and specialists. We need family doctors as in Japan to "cure rarely, comfort mostly, but to console always". (JAMA 2000; 284: 483) Healing is basically to humour the patient long enough to help nature to heal the sickness. Medical insurance has been a curse in the USA and it is making its way into India in a big way!
In several places like Bogota in Columbia, Saskatchewan in Canada, Israel, and Los Angeles County in the US, etc, when doctors went on strike for various reasons, death and disability rates in society plummeted to very low levels only to go back to the original levels when they came back to work. Human health depends on clean drinking water, a roof on top in place of the star-lit sky for the poor, three meals a day, and a job to do with adequate sanitary facilities and not by hi-tech modern medicine. A humane, compassionate and empathetic family doctor will add to these basic needs.
Modern medicine is based on the reductionist western science, which has become a dangerous fanatical religion trying to proselytize the whole world for the sake of making money even at the cost of human life! Modern reductionist medical science is completely faulty. Audits in their own backyard have shown the medical establishment to be the leading cause of death and disability even in the US but the government there could not control the medical establishment mafia there. Michael Moore, in his film SICKO shows members of the US Congress walking in with labels attached to their chests giving details of the millions that they had clandestinely received from the pharma lobby, starting from the then President Bush to the very last Congressman.
What we probably need is for someone with Aamir's charisma to make people see the truth and deschool society's thinking about medicine and healing from its current obsession with a pill for every ill. The truth, there is an ill following every pill! Medical research is flawed too and has become a dangerous enterprise again running after money. "The attitude of the American Medical Association (AMA) towards lay practitioners is as rigid as the attitude of the church was towards the lay interpreters-and has the blessing of the law," writes Paul Feyerabend in his book Against Method.
AMA was started fifty years ago after some MDs in the US got together to start the Homeopathic Association as the methods of blood letting and hot iron applications in modern medicine practiced those days were inhuman. Mr McWilliams, one of the presidents of the AMA, once admitted that "we did not fight the homeopaths on any scientific principles. They came to our domain and took away our practice; so we banished them!" In this game, many doctors themselves get trained under a system, fully believe in what is taught at medical school, and are the dark about its faulty science base.
The doctor is also a pawn in the hands of the pharmaceutical mafia which influences medical textbooks to include doctored research and sexed up remedies all to amass huge profits through drugs and devices which in the long run are of little benefit to the suffering humanity.
When people get better it is PURELY due to their firm faith in the system which provokes (proven now) powerful drugs in the human brain that cure the illness, the Expectation Effect of physics. Reductionist chemical drugs that we use in modern medicine are the leaders in the cause of human death through adverse drug reactions (ADRs). However, the establishment tries to kill all other alternate, simple but effective methods of sickness care one by one-the latest under the guillotine is homeopathy, a very useful and scientific method of healing. There are many others, not to speak of the mother of all medical wisdoms-Indian Ayurveda. Emergency surgery and corrective surgery with emergency resuscitation methods are a boon in modern medicine.
Alternate effective systems were finished off using what is now famous-the Flexner report of 1910 in the USA. Up until 1899 the most popular systems were chiropractic, homeopathy, radio aesthesia, herbal medicine and many other healing methods along with a tottering chemical drug using modern medicine. With one stroke of the pen they were all banished as unscientific after the Flexner report. Curiously Mr Flexner was only a retired headmaster of a school, run by Andrew Carnegie. Today's prohibitively expensive cancer treatments were developed by destroying all alternate systems and by suppressing the famous Fitzgerald report of 1953 (a secret document till very recently). The Fitzgerald report is now in the public domain due to the Right to Information (RTI) movement and is available on the Internet. It shows how useful and inexpensive methods of treatment were banished.
Even today, government scientists in India conduct reductionist research based on holistic herbal drugs using western medical science. I would like Amir Khan to read the great classic, AGAINST METHOD, by Paul Feyerabend to understand how the fallacious western science in general and medical science in particular are converting every medical student into toeing their line of thought. In my opinion this book is an all time great and exposes how money runs and control science research today: many ace researchers are only working to get more funds, thicker CVs and an occasional Nobel Prize. They do not work for human good. My own book, What Doctors Don't Get to Study in Medical School also discusses these issues. Many stars of Indian medical research are funded by get lots of money from pharma lobby for doing so called research and the latest trend is that they get 'Big' western medical degrees free if they are with the pharma giants!
Occasionally genuine scholars also get those degrees Honoris Causa also. Unfortunately, the black sheep outnumber the good ones.
When we got political independence we should have followed the Chinese model of encouraging traditional Indian wisdom in healing which flourished for centuries. The Chinese did that very effectively and did not import westerns science and medicine whole-heartedly. Chinese medicine is doing well even in the west today. Unfortunately, China too has begun embracing western science!
Amir Khan would do a favour to mankind if he joins us as our brand ambassador in our efforts to push genuine health care to our masses through the Wellness Concept. This is about assisting the body's immune system to keep one healthy as long one lives. It is the essence of Ayurveda-swasthashya Swaastha rakshitham-preserve the health of the well segment. The idea has to be sold against the modern medical claptrap of regular check ups, drugs for every minor alteration in the human physiology and disease mongering efforts of the establishment called the health scare system. The concept is simple and could help people of all ages. Its three salient features are tranquillity of mind, change of mode of living from an unhealthy to healthy lifestyle and regular moderate exercise. In addition, consumption of sathvik food in moderation, with no tobacco and alcohol, also help.
I do not blame the doctors; I blame the system and corrupt environment in general in the country for the mountain of corruption in the medical fraternity. Making money is our religion today and money is our God. Unfortunately, society also respects only those that make it big in any field, whatever might be the means to get rich. So doctors too are also tempted. Authenticity and merit have turned into weaknesses in India.
In a beautiful study "Failure of scientific medicine-the Innu community study" in Canada, the authors showed that up until money came into their lives, Innus, the aboriginal race off the coats of Saskatchewan, had a happy sustenance economy and were healthy. With money, diseases and unhappiness came into their lives.
Sathyam in the medical field is not corruption but the faulty science and its system. That satyam eva jayate. Who wants sathya? In India the slogan is Anritam eva jayate-Na satyam.
"Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police"- Albert Einstein
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])
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