“Get up and start moving”

A rendezvous with Dr. Suchitra Mankar, general physician.
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Dr. Suchitra Mankar
Dr. Suchitra Mankar

A veteran of medicine, general physician Dr. Suchitra Mankar studied at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune. I spoke to her last evening about her work and life. She told me that she worked for the Indian Air Force as a doctor for 30 years. Her stint in the Air Force allowed her to experience many interesting events. In fact, she has been invited by the Rotary Club to talk on ‘Anecdote of my Life in Air Force’ on January 17, 2014. So I felt lucky to have found her for this interview and talk about her life back in the days. When she talks about those days, her voice is filled with both – emotion and power. The enthusiasm with which she narrates a few of her experiences makes one feel like it’s so fresh that it just happened.

So here’s what we spoke about. Continue reading “Get up and start moving”

Building the Patient Community – Join us, Join the Revolution

A lot has been said and written over the years about the state of the patients in India and about the Medical Industry as a whole.

How patients suffer due to non-availability of doctors in remote areas, negligence of doctors, due to adulterated drugs/bad manufacturing practices, not being able to afford the medical costs, etc.

Every day when you open the newspaper or switch on the news channel there is some or the other story about the patient’s plight, government ignorance towards medical malpractices and such.

Near home or another scenario is a friend or family member falls sick and suddenly we need to find the doctor. And the word doesn’t stop at that, we don’t only need to find the doctor but there is a need to find the ‘right‘ doctor when it comes to our near and dear ones. How many times you think before taking your old parents to a doctor? How scary is it when you have to take your two year old kid to an unknown doctor for vaccination?

Will the doctor be good? Will he treat my parents with compassion? Will he put my kid at ease before the vaccination? Does the doctor specializes in treating the condition for which we are reaching out to him? How much will the doctor charge? Will there be unnecessary tests that the doctor will recommend? and hundreds of other such questions come to our mind. Probably the most important of them “Will the doctor be able to cure me soon?”

So faced with many questions before choosing a doctor to go to, the only solace we can find is if some of our friends, or family have been to the doctor before and if they can share their experience with us. How many times have we ask or have been asked this question or a similar one “Yaar kisi acche ENT ko jaante ho kya?” And if even one person knows a good ENT and suggests, that’s the best that you can expect as of today.

Though the patient community in India is huge it is also unorganized. The information flow except for the traditional word of mouth is absolutely nil. Even with the advent of social technologies and leaps in communication media in the country, there is a dearth of information and interaction within the patient community.

And due to the lack of information the patient community suffers. A person who is looking for the ‘right‘ pediatrician for his kids ailments finds himself alone with no information and tries out his luck similar to a gambler in a casino, with whichever doctor he finds. He has no clue if the doctor is well qualified, if he is affordable, compassionate or what are the experiences of other people with him.

The time has come when “We the Patient Community” should rise, should get together and start a revolution to end this era of information drought, fight against the malpractices, painful experiences with the existing medical system, help bring to justice the wrong doers because of whom we or our loved ones have to suffer sometime or the other and most importantly we help and collaborate with fellow patients to make their lives easy and arm them with information to take the right decision when it comes to doctors or any other medical service(s).

Savetime.com is trying to support this revolution by building the first ever platform for patient community where patients can interact, share their experiences, favorite doctors, help out fellow patients and contribute in many other ways to the community.

Your participation in this is requested. To start with you can go to Savetime.com, search for the doctor you have been to and share your experience in the ‘recommend‘ section for community to benefit from it and being able to take the right decision. And if you consider your doctor to be the ‘right‘ doctor for you, do mark that doctor as right as well.

As this age-old video brilliantly displays the concept of ‘ekta‘ Oneness, or Solidarity, we will also need to practice the same. We will need to be ‘One‘ in this journey, help out each other, fight against malpractices, injustice as one then only we would be able to make a difference.

Abhinav

Abhinav is CTO at savetime.com. Besides the work he likes to be involved in several different exciting things.  Technology interests him but more than that the usage of technology to solve real world problems excites him more.  Working with teams to achieve difficult targets and in the process helping individuals realize their full potential is one of  his skills. He is an ardent blogger and social media enthusiast. When not working, he is either blogging, reading or bicycling.

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.