Still Witchdoctors

The first element in a patient-doctor relationship is of course, the trust. The doctor knows more about the patient's body than the patient, and the patient acknowledges it. This puts the doctor in a position of power, where he can exploit the patient in many ways without the patient knowing this. This is in fact, the commonest of the malpractices, but at the moment the concern is in establishing medicine as a noble profession. It must be recognized as a profession, and that the doctor is interested in medicine for some amount of personal gain in any form, otherwise he would not bear any responsibility towards his patient. Therein lies the problem, Indians are not prepared for lab-coat-white-gloves-face-mask doctors. In fact, almost no one is.

It must be acknowledges that the profession has grown in recent years, and a lot of progress is being made, and this is visibile most in the extension of the average life span of an Indian from forty to sixty years in a matter of a decade. However, doctors have always held a position of respect, and in most of rural India still do, allowing them to benefit too much because of their profession. Exploitation of patients is rampant, and even well educated people in urban areas may be reduced to frequent check ups and visits despite having a perfectly normal and healthy constitution.

Consider such a person sitting on an operating table and deciding how much anesthetic any person should get. Sounds real scary, but these people arent dumb enough to kill you, but they are smart enough to do something to make sure you come back for more. Morphine based medication is still legal in India, and can be prescribed by your physician. It is a common practice for doctors to make patients dependant on painkillers, antidepressants, analgesics, and in many cases, even placebos like asperin. In plain language, thats dummy medicine, medication you do not really need, prescribed for the modest doctor's fee.

Imagine this scenario: you go to a doctor with a cramp in the stomach. The doctor checks you up, mumbles something about tests, gives you some painkillers and asks you to come back if the pain persists. You go back, he orders a bunch of tests, prescribes more medication, your stomach ache disappears on its own accord, the tests all come out normal, and you relieve a sigh of relief.
Not knowing that the tests were unnecessary.

Safeguarding oneself against such medical malpractices is easy. The medical profession respects those patients that take the trouble to take second opinions. Ask for specefic details on the medicical analysis, and exactly what each drug will do to the body, and its side effects, before leaving the clinic. Have a medical insurance cover, and talk openly to your doctor, if he talks back, and answers your questions, he's probably a nice guy.