Opinion | Doctors Turning into Professional Plunders

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By Gowher Bhat.

In Kashmir, common people are facing a lot of problems with medical doctors that don’t care for their patients’ health. In government hospitals, these physicians are compensated well. But visiting these doctors nowadays are becoming more of a business proposition. Many of these health care providers are sending patients to private clinics to undergo various laboratory tests.  Those laboratories are costly and paying the referring doctors commission. To compensate the cost the patients are charged outlandish fees. What’s even more pathetic, these people are on a tight budget and suffer tremendously because they simply can’t afford these tests. It’s getting to the point where no one cares about these patients. The government has banned the private practice for doctors, but those criminal doctors are not paying any heed toward the very sick by not directing them to government facilities that are free.

 Now I personally have interviewed many young adults and their families that have barely any money.  These parents have neurological problems and can be treated and tested without charge at Skims Hospital.  What I have been told that the doctors are rude and show no compassion if they don’t go to these high priced testing facilities. Some of the people I spoke to gave me the addresses of private clinics where they have to pay a hefty fee for a simple blood test. There is proof that those doctors are getting additional money from these labs and the lab technicians.

 The problem is getting worse each year, in the past doctors were caring, selfless,  and they treated their patients with kindness and understanding. They took a Medical Oath and Declaration believing that being a physician was divine intervention. Now it’s different, money has taken over and humanity, caring, and treating the sick doesn’t exist any longer. You can almost say doctors have become heartless looters.

 I request the health department of Kashmir to please pay serious attention to this grave issue.  The human beings who are struggling are facing problems because they can’t afford proper health care. The bar is raised so high on doctor fees, lab tests, and medicine that it is virtually impossible to afford. It’s depressing hearing that, instead of being treated; these people are sentenced to die.

Let’s see who cares?  Is there anyone out there, who will speak up against this huge problem? My soul and heart compel me to write the truth and relay a message through this article. I’m speaking out to the general public please assemble together and raise your voice to this hideous crime. My words speak out to the health department I know they can play a vital role in investigating this matter.  There should be consequences against the doctors who are dishonest. Who is taking great pleasure in watching the less fortunate people just wither away, it is unacceptable. As a human being and as a common Kashmiri, I feel their pain deep inside me when I witness and hear about these situations, while the doctors line their pockets with gold.

The inconceivable part is, these doctors I am referring to once had a great reputation and now they are the ones corrupting the whole health care system.  It is my moral responsibility to highlight and write an article about this injustice.  Don’t get me wrong not all health care professionals are the enemy, but I write this article for the sake of humanity. The government has made every effort to improve these free facilities and they have even gone far enough to pay physicians hefty salaries. But despite all of that the doctors are still deceiving the government and doing injustice to patients. My question is why is this allowed? If there are free facilities in government hospitals and doctors are getting paid well, then why are doctors recommending their patients to private labs?

The Social Work Committee of Kashmir also has spoken out about this and have interviewed these doctors, but they have denied any wrongdoing, saying these facilities have better equipment. I have interviewed one elderly lady and she said she went to Skims Hospital, which is a government hospital, but doctors told her to visit their clinics instead and recommended a private diagnostic center. She went and was charged tons of money.

I wish I can shed some light on this subject, I hope there will be enough complaints to the health department and government so they can start investigating this matter. It is their duty to keep all Kashmiri citizens healthy. It should be stipulated that whenever a doctor can’t put his patient needs before his own, his license should be in jeopardy and taken away if need be. Being a physician is a privilege, and having a human beings health in your hands is an honor, not a profitable proposition.

On a personal note, I want again to thank all my loyal readers on your kind words about my articles. Evidently, people are reading and giving great feedback to the newspaper and me. I’m glad you enjoyed my last article about ‘Curfews and Strikes and Gamjeen Maheed Naraboli donating blood. There will be more in-depth articles about them in the future. Please keep informing me about my subjects, your astute remarks, along with the articles are setting the newspaper a blaze and Kashmir is listening. God Bless and have a blessed safe week.

Email. Address gowherbhat866@ gmail.com.