Journal of New Approaches to Medicine and Health

Namah Journal
Moving Forward
New Issue
About us
Other Publications


Being ill in current times

Dr. Vallath Nandini

To be ill in current times when one is poor amounts to nothing more than gross stupidity. Only a very stupid, poor person would fall ill in our current health scenario. For doctors have long since moved from the realms of godliness and humaneness to a cut-throat competitiveness for power, money and position.

Apart from being poor, if one is uneducated and on a lower rung of the class and caste system, then one is not just stupid but also crazy, to fall ill.

In addition to all this, if one is also a woman, then certainly legal sanctions should be placed against such a person ever falling ill.

Poor sick patients are a nightmare to our current medical practitioners. They are hard to ignore and a drain on the doctor's resources. The doctor is in a pitiful situation if, after years of struggling at becoming a doctor, he or she finally has to deal with a group of people who cannot pay. Should a doctor go on a moral path when bills have to be paid, children have to be educated, social status to be attained, life's conveniences obtained, savings made and a secure future ensured? Should a doctor sacrifice all and cater to a group of people who don't pay?

When IT professionals, engineers and architects are communicating, developing and constructing newer systems of income generation, doctors are indeed in a sorry position of having moral responsibilities, when after all at the end of the day, they are just human beings.

Where does that leave our health system?

Health becomes a commodity that can be procured by the highest bidder. Health ceases to be a human right. There should be a clause in our Constitution that no one can demand health as a human right because our country cannot afford it, given the mind-set of most of our current doctors.

But, then there just may be an alternative. Perhaps doctors are not being chosen correctly. What if, out of a thousand bright young graduates, only those are chosen who have an interest in improving health and not those who can pay or use influence to acquire their degree as a personal tiara? Those who, through some genetic or environmental dysfunction, actually believe that there is more to the world than themselves and their needs should be given the training and degree. Only those who possess by some quirk of nature, an altruistic personality that looks at the world and seeks to plug the gaps themselves should become the leaders in healthcare. This might just work.

Logistically however, if this works, it would mean the end of most of our medical colleges. What on earth will most of our medical colleges do with dedicated students who actually want to improve health? They would have to revamp their entire training system. They would have to terminate all those lecturers who talk about their subjects completely de-linked to any human system. Physiology would cease to be graphs, frogs, tissues and electrodes. Biochemistry would actually have to relate with human beings rather than test tubes, Bunsen burners and foul smelling reagents. Pathology would no more be a series of tissue samples. Many of the lecturers would have to be sent back home.

Apart from this, paying capacity would not be a deciding factor for joining medical colleges. How would medical colleges support themselves if they can't charge a fat fee? Deans, Associate directors and Principals of Medical colleges could no longer strut around feeling like proud owners of their ivory towers where paying capacity, attendance and examinations are far more important than health and people. This might lead to medical colleges closing down completely, which serves nobody any purpose.

Similarly, what would pharmaceutical companies do? They would have to deal with a new word in their vocabulary – ETHICS. This situation would send many of them into other businesses .Many would have to shut down and go away, while some might consider the possibility of consultancy in such fine arts as ‘How to squeeze the last remaining droplets of a patient’s hope and life once the doctors are done with them' or 'The art of collaborating with corrupt doctors who have sold their souls to the devil and still believe that they are serving someone other than themselves’

Such consultancy might probably come in handy in some businesses, but is unlikely to gain as much of a hold in professions other than medicine. This might lead them to fund research demonstrating that the current system of medicine is best and that strong lobbying will revert altruistic motives to purely personal ones.

So one should choose to get into an economic bracket that affords health or not be stupid enough to fall ill. One can be rich and sick, or poor and healthy, not ever sick and poor in our country. But who listens anyway....

Share with us (Comments, contributions, opinions)

When reproducing this feature, please credit NAMAH, and give the byline. Please send us cuttings.


Medical graduates


Medical college