Incompetence and Rip-Off in Medical Profession
07 July 2016
By Saeed Qureshi
There is an uninhibited field day for the medical practitioners
in United States. Once you are attached with a PCP (Primary Care Physician),
you will seldom get rid of him or her and your ailment minor or major may
seldom cure. Your personal accounts could be siphoned off. We have known some
patients who turned paupers and their medical afflictions never or partly came
to end. In many cases those rather accentuated with the passage of time.
If you are the recipient of Medicare or Medicaid, these
departments would keep paying your bills round the year. In recent years we
have read in the press about quite a few fraudulent doctors who milked
millions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid on fictitious or fraudulent
A PCP facilitates the treatment of the
patients without wasting their time in the long queues at the hospitals. He
refers the cases to other private departments for additional or complimentary
services. Yet there must be a code of conduct or strict watch over the PCPs if
they manipulate their pivotal role by overcharging or calling the patients
more times than needed.
The PCPs may resort to overdosing which may temporary relief but could be
harmful in the longer run. Same is the case with the privately run hospitals
and nursing homes. Although these may offer between atmosphere and facilities
yet overdosing or overbilling has also been complained about them as well...
There could be several reasons for this professional
incompetence and financial rip off. The medical students get huge loans from
the banks and the financial institutions for payments of their fees and other
heavy costs on books, residence and even transportation. These loans could
range from half a million to beyond a million with interest bulging with the
After graduation the first and the foremost urgency or priority for them is to
pay off their loans which if not paid, they can lose their credibility and
cannot get any loans for the future. These student doctors have no option but
to keep their inflow of patients on some pretext or another. This is pecualir
to those doctors who are from less privileged sections of society.
The PCPs maintain their links with other counterparts and exchange or share
the patients for various procedures. They may be knowing each other for being
batch mates or from the same background or working in the same hospitals.
There is a whole range of tests such as for kidneys, prostrate
performing MRI or X-RAY, radiology chemotherapy , physical therapy, check up
of heart, eyes, ears and so on. Thus they help and support each other and
enable everyone to share the booty. It is not with all the PCPs but the number
of upright physicians could be limited. The treatments and tests keep going on
and the patients keep paying from their own pockets or out of the government
We are witnesses that the hospitals
run by city or county or state or by private entrepreneurs are always
overflowing with the patients. This is particularly so in case of the
privately run and group-owned hospitals. There is a common observation that in
such hospitals the doctors dispose off their patients for ensuing visits for a
variety of procedures and tests. In case of cancer patients they have to keep
visiting the hospitals or the clinics for years or indefinitely. I am not sure
how many are finally cured or ultimately pass away.
a patient is rushed to the emergency section of a private or even the
government hospital and later cannot pay the hefty bills his case is referred
to the collection agencies which plunges them into another unending nightmare
till they get rid of that burden by selling their properties or assets.
When the medical technology had not advanced or the latest
gadgets for various checkups and fast procedures had not come into being, the
rate of recovery was higher and the cost was not as astronomical as it is in
the present times.
There is continuous research going
on for improvements of the medical equipment, instruments treatment and
procedures as seen in the hospitals and clinics medical centers. But woefully
while the number of patients keeps growing, the rate of cure or healing is
correspondingly not rising. One wonders while all the deadly diseases and
ailments are now cropping up despite easy detection and prompt testing. Yet
the situation in the past was as desperate as it seems now.
This is perhaps due to the perceivable factor that the more
illness the more income for the healers. The senior doctors pass on a part of
their jobs and responsibilities to the budding doctors who occasionally seem
flabbergasted before the patients and cannot offer a plausible or convincing
explanation about the nature of the malady or the procedure they would be
The Health sector both public and private
needs a thorough overhaul for removing the deficiencies and drawbacks
besetting it. There should be high powered commission that should look into
the rising cost on medical treatment, overdosing and overbilling and less rate
of recovery from the illness. Some mechanism needs to be put in place to gauge
the performance of each and every doctor, department and ward of the
Besides the conduct of the physicians and
the para-medic staff in their dealing with the patients who come from
different ethnic and racial backgrounds, has to be watched. It has been seen
that the para-medical staff especially nurses remain overworked and
occasionally try to shorten the procedure and show lack of involvement needed
in serious cases. The performance and expertise of doctors particularly the
new inductees should be kept under strict watch for ensuring the veritable
treatment to the patients.
In big and renowned
hospitals one can see the plaques of dedication and acknowledgment of the
doctors who donated money for constructing patients' wards, lobby, surgery
rooms, or even a complete hospital. It's a great humanitarian gesture and
demonstration of service by those physicians for the people at large. But at
the same time it shows the wealth of the physicians who had retired and are
living or passed away. Most of the hospitals that I know are in the name of
famous physicians or governors of the past.
been a great deal of negligence or carefree attitude of doctors in the
overcrowded hospitals. The patients with serious ailments are seen
occasionally by the under-training doctors. The patients are disposed of by
prescribing some medicines or in case of wound a fresh bandage. The emergency
sections of the main hospitals remain full of patients with extremely serious
problems. To be admitted in an emergency ward and get a bed sometime takes
takes hours and even after waiting for a full day or night.
That defeats the very purpose of being seen without loss of time in emergency
wards. I have seen that inside the emergency departments many patients are
kept in corridors till a room was available. I have also seen the scores of
patients waiting in front of particular emergency portions to be examined by
the doctors. But invariably they are ushered in after an excruciating long
Let me narrate the case of my wife as to give
you an idea how she had to spent many years in visiting the hospitals,
confronting the casual attitude of the attending doctors and finally
culmination in the amputation of her right foot all five toes that was
avoidable in the beginning which was ten year earlier. Let me narrate the
whole painful saga.
There was a lingering problem of
blood circulation in the right and left legs of my wife. It was negligible in
the beginning. She has been visiting the Parkland main hospital and its
affiliated branches in other cities for several years. Each time after
excruciating wait in the lobby, she would be ushered in and after a kind of
Doppler test or on few occasions the computer testing she was discharged with
some pills or lotions.
When we moved to Tarrant County
we started visiting the JPS hospital and its affiliated branches. After a few
months the PCP of a local branch at Arkansas Lane referred her to the mian
hospital for further check up.
She visited Pediatric
and Vascular sections umpteen times. The young doctors led by a seemingly
senior doctor would appear and let her off by writing some antibiotics. In the
meantime her right foot fingers started blackening. The PCP of the local
branch, in her SOS reference notes, pointed out gangrene. But in her several
subsequent visits, the cardiovascular doctors or those of podiatry showed no
panic or urgency and kept her on lotions or small bandages.
I the meantime her all five fingers turned black and started
rotting. Twice we had to rush her to the emergency room (not the main
emergency section) of the hospital where the attending doctor was horrified to
see the foot. She got a prompt x-ray taken and told us that the bones of the
foot were still safe from the onslaught of the gangrene.
She ordered her admission in the main emergency ward of the
hospital where she lay down the whole day and had to come back without any
treatment. We rushed her second time to the emergency department but remained
in a precarious condition in the corridor for the whole day without any
inspection by a doctor.
It was many days later that
the angiography was recommended and Dr. Anderson the head of cardiovascular
sections performed the angiography first on the left leg and after a few days
on the right leg. It transpired on the second angiography procedure that there
was only 5 per cent blood circulation in the right leg while the left leg was
in better condition.
A stent was put in her right leg
and she was discharged. Thereafter one night at home she lost her body control
and started falling down. In the morning she was rushed to the local emergency
hospital called emergency room. In view of her serious condition, the doctors
rushed her to the Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth where through a post
haste surgery her all five toes or fingers of the right foot were removed. She
remained in the Plaza Medical Center for 15 days.
the angiography been done at the very outset to determine the blood
circulation, her toes could have been saved. But look at the time difference.
It took doctors almost ten years to decide about angiography and that too by
chance. That delay cost her five fingers but saved half of her remaining foot.
She limps now and cannot walk without support. I am not aware
how many others like my wife could have been the sufferers due to lack of
timely detection and immediate follow up action to cure them for their
respective health issues.
By that time, although, the
meager blood circulation had started but the fingers had decayed and couldn't
be saved and could have affected the rest of the foot if not amputated. I
wrote several letters to the high ups but no one was prepared to hold anyone
responsible for that gross negligence and medical impropriety.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a
former diplomat. This and other articles by the
writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com.