Why I am doing this book review in this blog? Dr Kamal Kumar Mahawar, the author of this book, got int touch with me on LinkedIn and told me about his book. He has studied medicine in India and now works in United Kingdom. As an author and having worked with the health sector closely during last couple of years, I found this book interesting. Dr Mahawar sent me a copy so that I can read it.
After reading it I realised that this book should have been written long ago by a health journalists. This book provdies you a 360 degree view of India’s health system- especially its fallacies which make common people suffer. The book is devoid of jargons, sermons and any kind of patronising talk.It is a plain, simple, effective account of what happens on any given day in the hospitals, clinics, diagnostic labs, offices of regulatory bodies in India.
It is a bold work as Dr Mahwar has been quite critical of the way his own fellow colleagues have been behaving.
It is a must read for any one who wants to discuss anything about public policy in India. The author takes us through the labyrinths of the health system in India which could be disgusting most of the time.
I must appreciate Dr Mahawar for writing this no holds barred account of how doctors exploit the patients in this country through the touts, how the system exploits doctors and more than often compel them to behave more like mercenaries than the ‘life-saver’. He also discusses the hollowness of the archaic rules and regulations governing professional behaviour of docs in India that need an urgent change.
Here are few excerpts from the book, which would provide you a sneak preview of “The Ethical Doctor”:
-In a Chapter boldly titled “The Touts” the author gives specific case studies and points out, “The Indian health system is riddled with these touts. They are sometimes staff working in hospitals, looking to make some extra money. It could be the receptionist, the billing clerk, the ward boy, the liftman, the toilet cleaner and even the telephone operator.”
In another Chapter titled “The Private Sector”, the author writes., “A doctor can keep you in hospital unnecessarily for days, give you one expensive medicine after another, put you on a ventilator, do an operation or anything else he can think of to maximize your bills. As a patient you have no means of knowing, if any of this is strictly necessary?”
Haven’t we all experienced this in one way or the other at some point of time when any of our near or dear one have been admitted to a nursing home or hospital?
Talking about the Public Health System and especially government hospitals, Dr Mahwar is bang on target when he says, “These(govt hospitals) are not places where they(patients) will be treated with respect, compassion, care or even competence. Patient care is handed out as a favor and a patient must politely and gracefully accept what is given.”
The book has been published by Harper Collins and is available at Amazon and other online platforms also.