Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hospital hoarding stirs honesty debate

MUMBAI: A hoarding put up by a private hospital highlighting the controversial practice of “cuts” in the medical fraternity has upset the Indian Medical Association (IMA) so much that it wants it removed. “Cuts” is an illegal commission paid by a doctor to a fellow doctor for a referral.

The hoarding, located near the airport, reads, “Honest Opinion. No Commission to Doctors". It is the brainchild of renowned cardiac surgeon Dr Ramakanta Panda, who owns Asian Heart Institute in Bandra-Kurla Complex.

IMA president Dr Ravi Wankhedkar told TOI, “What is being claimed on the billboard is the basic work of a doctor. It’s like banks saying we don’t rob people. Moreover, it indirectly alleges that others are unethical.” He said IMA’s Hospital Board of India had written to Dr Panda, asking for the billboard to be pulled down. “We may consider moving the MCI or Maharashtra Medical Council,” he added.

Dr Arshad Ghulam Mohammed, a senior general surgeon, said, “It is part of our medical ethics to be honest with our treatment. It is a part of our ethics to not give or accept commissions. These points are part of the MCI’s code of conduct for doctors. What this billboard tries to say is that there is one hospital that gives an honest opinion and thus gives an impression that others do exactly the opposite. That is where the problem lies.”

An Asian Heart Institute spokesperson said, “The aim was to share that we stand vehemently against the cut practice.” An emailed response said, “A young doctor making a beginning can’t get a patient unless he pays a commission to someone. A radiologist or pathologist pays 30-35% and a new surgeon more than 50% of his fees. They are crying and don’t know where to go.”

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