OUR doctors go on strike sometimes because of demands for an increased salary package, sometimes against transfers of senior doctors by the government and sometimes against the ‘objectionable’ behaviour of the deceased’s family who put the blame on doctors on duty for their alleged negligence. Ultimately, it is the patients who suffer in all such cases.
To my surprise, hardly any doctors’ association or society demanded an inquiry or investigation whenever a patient dies owing to professional negligence. Every day hundreds of deaths are reported but their cause is never put in the record. Scores of deaths as a result of failed deliveries due to dose-related errors are blamed on malnutrition or poor maternal health.
A huge number of deaths because of drug-drug interaction, adverse drug interaction and drug-food interactions are blamed on deaths due to allergic reactions.
A lot of deaths of traumatised emergency cases occur because patients’ guardians are directed to shift the patients to a teaching hospital without giving the patients first aid. Millions of children are being prescribed and subsequently administered with indiscriminate antibiotics, knowing the fact that they are getting resistant against microbes, making it problematic to cure diversified infections with limited antibiotics in the near future.
Why don’t medical professionals display degrees at the place of their practice to end the issue of quackery? Unfortunately, the clinching argument presented by the medical fraternity is: doctors, being a highly prestigious class of society, should not be made liable to such inquiries as it puts stress on their moral high ground.
But equally important is that until this doctors-dominated healthcare system is made conscious of accountability, deaths would continue to occur unreported.
Why aren’t internationally practised standards of medical care put into practice? Why induction of professional drug experts (pharmacists) is opposed which can stop deaths due to drug-related errors.
Why isn’t the practice of generic prescription allowed to be exercised, which can end prescription of fake or adulterated drugs?
Why is the establishment of drug information centre opposed both at policymaking and district level, cobbling of which can save millions of lives at home by providing retaliatory measures next to snake bite, acid burning, allergic reactions, heart attacks, electric shocks and drug-related complications?
Massive deaths can be prevented each year just by overhauling the healthcare system not in a way demanded by doctors, but in accordance with the WHO guidelines and internationally practised standards, in which accountability guarantees professional outcome.
DR ZAIB ALI SHAHERYAR Lahore