Bimal Chandra Jha, Former Editor, Sachitra Ayurved.
I like to share some of my experiences with the learned readers who are of the opinion that a modern practicing doctor can do no wrong. Undoubtedly modern medicine has progressed much particularly in the area of surgical intervention, but at the same time it has harmed our body’s immune system badly. Sometimes wrong diagnosis and unnecessary drugs prescribed to a patient have done irreparable damage amounting to criminal offence. My experiences in life support my views. My first experience is with my own sons. I have three sons. My brother was suffering from tuberculosis. He had stayed at my residence for a few days. Being a health conscious father I thought it appropriate to get my sons medically examined to remove any doubt regarding infection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium. I approached Dr. O.N.Jaisawal , Professor and Head, Department of Paediatrics , Patna Medical College Hospital for routine examination of my sons. He examined them and after thorough necessary investigation he diagnosed tuberculosis on the basis of my statement that my brother was suffering from T.B. ignoring all test reports. He prescribed streptomycin injection, isoniazid and ethambutol Hcl. In those days Rifampicin also known as rifampin, was not in use. Needless to state that the drug is an antibiotic used to treat several types of bacterial infection . This includes tuberculosis, leprosy and Legionnaire’s disease . It is almost always used along with other antibiotics, except when given to prevent Haemophilus influenza type b and meningoccal disease in people who have been exposed to those bacteria. However, I had no option, but to give streptomycin injection to my sons as recommended by the renowned doctor. Reaction was severe. They complained of dizziness, crump etc. I immediately stopped the use of drugs and thought to seek second opinion. Fortunately, I had a friend doctor who was also top chest specialist and used to practice at Makhaniakuan Road in Patna. I narrated everything to him. Having gone through the test reports and chest x- ray he became furious and began to abuse the aforesaid renowned doctor. He assured me that none of your sons had T.B. He was very confident about his diagnosis. Now, the question is- what would have happened had I not obtained second medical opinion ? The same case is with my friend’s mother. She complained of cold. The treating doctor gave her antibiotics, but coughing was aggravated. The doctor without investigating the reason for continued coughing began to give her medicines for TB. Medicines reacted sharply. Ultimately she was brought to Patna. She was examined properly but there was no trace of TB symptom. The interesting example is of my maternal uncle. He was with me when I met a severe bus accident in the year, 1987. There were three casualties. I also met severe head injury. My whole skull was badly damaged. The treating doctor at Darbhanga Medical College Hospital had lost hope regarding my survival. Any how I survived. My maternal uncle who was also travelling in the same bus got injured. His injury was in the neck side just above the shoulder. A good number of neurosurgeons treated him but of no result. Ultimately he went to AIMS, Delhi. The doctor examined him physically. No pathological test was advised. In fact, no test was done. He simply caught the neck and shook it all of sudden. The pain he was suffering from the last one year vanished quickly. One tablet of brufen was given and he was alright. This way I have hundred of examples of mine , my friends and of the people in the society which suggest that doctors can commit blunders in treating a patient.
From the reminiscences as above I do not mean to cast aspersion on the ability of a doctor. Majority of medical students labour hard while studying their subjects, but the irony of the fact is that they do not apply their mind while treating a patient. They depend on test reports. We all know that we are a poor country. Majority of Indians do have access to health facilities. They also lack money to spend on unnecessary tests. They even find it difficult to buy necessary medicines as a result of which they perish and ultimately die. My suggestion to allopathic doctors is that they should not advise unnecessary tests. If physical examination is not possible and the life of the patient is at risk, in that case he is duty bound to suggest necessary tests.