Chemical used in yoga mats and shoes also found in 500 packaged foods

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost of us know that packaged food is suspect as far as kind of chemicals used to keep them shelf-friendly. Now, a health and advocacy group called Environmental Working Group, have come up with a study that tells you how alarming the scene is.

Apparently, 500 foods on grocery store shelves in the US, including the stuff that is labelled as ‘health food’ is suspect because they may potentially hazardous industrial plastics chemical.

For instance, Azodicarbonamide. Better known as ADA, is an ‘active’ ingredient in breads, bagels, tortillas, hamburger and hot dog buns, pizza, pastries, and other food products. In fact, some consumer groups have demanded the complete removal of ADA from food packaging as it damages the body in ways we are still to fully understand. Continue reading Chemical used in yoga mats and shoes also found in 500 packaged foods

Do we care enough?

As an employee at a major multinational in the United States, I remember my first visit to the doctor’s office. I had woken up to a sore throat and visited the doctor the same day. The doctor checked my breathing, took a throat swab, prescribed an antibiotic and sent me on my way. I thought nothing of the visit until I checked the bill to my insurance provider. Imagine my surprise when I saw that my provider would be paying $110 not including the cost of my medicines, or a little more than Rs. 5,800. It left me with an incredibly unsettled feeling and many questions. Nine years after that visit, today a routine primary care checkup in the US costs $176.

As an Indian, I appreciate that a visit to a doctor here in any city costs anywhere between Rs. 50 to Rs. 500 ($10). Incredibly, the quality of primary care we deliver is still the same. I’m also willing to bet that a significant portion of those dollars paid went towards an unnecessary but mandatory test of my throat swab and indemnification of the doctor against the remote chance of me initiating a lawsuit. Such is an environment where fear of legal retribution commands a premium from exactly the same people who it was supposed to protect in the first place.

Which is why it’s a little disturbing to spot a new trend here in India where we irresponsibly name and shame our doctors. Social media and other forms of participative media encourage patients to share their experiences with doctors. Unfortunately, popular review sites are also breeding grounds for negativity where the posters share only their negative experiences.

Mainstream media too plays a significant role in attempting to shame doctors and their profession. I recall an episode of Satyamev Jayate where host Aamir Khan interviewed a family who had lost a dear one to alleged medical malpractice. What was sad was that the Star TV team did not make an effort to ask the doctor at the center of the accusation for his version of what had happened. This isn’t an isolated incident.

Of course, we shouldn’t excuse our doctor’s for their mistakes. Instead, I ask but a simple question- why shouldn’t we investigate and represent facts for what they are before embarking on a public campaign that could destroy a career? My argument is not meant to protect doctors who intend to harm, but for the doctors who had only the best of intentions and have made a mistake. If we judge going only by the outcome, then many of our doctors are guilty for simply practicing their profession. Such is the nature of what they’ve been asked to do.

I’ve known doctor’s to get attached to some of their patients even when it could mean going against what they’ve been taught. The patient could be a newborn, or someone suffering from a terminal disease. Similarly, when all other avenues are hopeless patients can only place their faith in their doctor. Through the eyes of the patient, the doctor truly must play the role of God. How can we expect them to be perfect? In fact, I can imagine that many doctors have a personal ‘near miss’ story where they compromised the well-being of their patient, but a colleague or simply good fortune intervened and the error was found out before it was too late. No one can be expected to humanly perform at the highest levels. Software engineers write bugs, doctors make errors and even voters occasionally regret their choices in leaders. People do fail, and when we do we reflect on our mistakes and feel terrible about them- thankfully.

Here at Savetime, we realize this fact full well. Patients have come to expect our doctors to have the cure, so much so that a job well done is now ordinary. We don’t agree. To fulfill our vision of creating India’s largest platform to bring doctors and patients together – we’re creating tools that will help you share both types of stories- the ones that will give you goosebumps, as well as those stories which you won’t get to hear. Tools that will hopefully help patients relate their experiences carefully. We won’t pretend that we don’t have a role to play. We believe the impact of our work will be felt in raising the overall intelligence of the patient community, better protection against malpractice and most importantly our confidence in the part of the healthcare system that is working well.

We wish all our doctors on Savetime the best for doctor’s day.

Santosh Dawara, User Growth at savetime

Santosh drives user growth at savetime and is a tech-entrepreneur. He enjoys creating products that help users think, create and achieve amazing things with the web. An industry veteran, he’s played roles with BlackBerry smartphone makers, Research in Motion and has taken India’s first online movie tickets aggregator live.

Taking on Negligence, Malpractice and Inefficiencies in Healthcare.

How trustworthy are doctors today? Are they really fulfilling their duties as a lifesaver with full dignity?

Today, individuals are not plagued as much by diseases or illnesses, but by medical malpractice.

A friend of mine who was pretty much fit thought of doing a complete body check up. When her test results came out, she turned blue reading the highlighted, Cholesterol: 300 mg/dL. She ran to her physician with the report. He said she needs to control her diet and stop consuming oily stuff as her cholesterol level has reached the maximum limit. He prescribed her few medicines to lower her cholesterol. Fearful of ill-health, she consumed those medicines and fell sick. She was taken to another hospital where they told her that cholesterol level was never high, instead it went low because of wrong medication. When her family raised this issue with the previous hospital they concluded that there was a small mistake from their end. The reports got exchanged. Really?

How simple it was for them to say it was a small mistake. Was the mental and physical pain the patient had to undergo of no significance? This mistake could have lead to severe health issues for my friend.

Another malpractice that we observe is in the Emergency Rooms (ER) at many hospitals that have become chaotic environments where overcrowding and medical negligence is a serious problem. Many patients are left wounded waiting for hours in the queue in order to be evaluated and treated for their medical needs.  Although most patients who are kept waiting for long periods of time will not see any significant deterioration, some patients may have medical conditions far more dangerous. When doctors and nurses are overloaded with patients, they are forced to rush from patient to patient to manage the crowd, sometimes causing them to misdiagnose a patient’s medical condition. Under this type of workload the medical staff is more likely to be tired, overworked, stressed, and disconnected from their patients. This increases the patient’s medical negligence and they are left harmed as a result. Surgical mistakes are also a big cause of death for thousands of people today. Because the patient is unconscious during an operation, he or she is generally the last person to find out if any medical malpractice occurred. The black market in human organs has become a grave threat to public health. Patients completely rely on the medical practitioners without even realizing that post surgery they return home without some essential organs of their body.

When we approach a doctor we usually have to fill out papers that deal with our personal information, our medical history and anything that the doctor should know about our medical condition. From there, these forms go from the clerk to the nurse, and then finally the doctor. One cannot see a lot of issues with this but it can actually cause more problems than none. Those pieces of paper pass from one hand, to another and in that whole process those pieces of paper can easily be tampered, misinterpreted and ultimately misdiagnosed as well.

Use of right technology not only helps assure that the patient’s information is taken care of, but it also helps the hospitals and doctors in improving their efficiency and the quality of diagnosis. Technology can easily help a doctor pull up a patient’s record anywhere in their office or even share it with other entities that may need it. By using technology, it ultimate helps lower the probability of medical malpractice if done appropriately by making the patient’s  information not only more easily readable, but also very clear and understandable.

To curb this issue of malpractice we need to bring in medical laws that encompass the protection of both patients and medical professionals. Patients should be protected under medical law against medical professionals who cause some form of harm, injury or death to a patient, as well as breaching a level of confidentiality. In addition there should also be a medical law to protect medical professionals who have acted responsibly when caring for a patient, despite being wrongly accused by a patient for medical malpractice or other breach of the law.

Fatima SayedFatima is working as an Associate Support in Sales and Marketing team of Savetime.com. She has completed her Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from University of Pune in the year 2012. When she isn’t glued to her computer screen, you will find her spending her leisure time with pieces of paper creating origami structures to adorn her house.