Just the other day, I was speaking to some friends about the increasing decline of ethics among hospitals and doctors in today’s times. We live in a part of Bangalore, where we have, what we can call, 3 state-of-the-art hospitals. Yes, in terms of infrastructure and facilities, they are very good. That they charge steeply is also a given considering that it takes money to build those facilities and attract quality doctors. But, we all felt that, most of the time, they are in a fleece mode. They cash in on the panic in stress situations often advising for redundant expensive scans and tests to be done in the guise of investigation.

My elder son, Siddharth had an accident when he was almost 5. He fell off his bicycle on to concrete road. A part of his eyebrow got scraped, and there was bleeding. I rushed him to Emergency, as it was evening. He was in a lot of pain and could have got stitches on his forehead had he allowed the doctor to give him some local anesthesia. It was a simple case according to me. But, guess what, despite knowing that there was no concussion, no vomiting, and loss of consciousness; theΒ  doctor insisted that we get a CT scan done. That was an expensive Rs. 2500. Then they made us get him admitted, told us to get plastic surgery done on his eyebrow, or else his hair there would never come back. What could we do, we had to trust the doctor’s word? They presented a final bill of close to Rs. 50,000 almost $1200. It was steep, over priced, and unwarranted. It was covered by the insurance only because it was an inpatient procedure. That is the reason why they asked him to be admitted in the first place. So, that they could get the insurance company to pay up.

Can you see how the entire con was perpetrated? The fees for CT scan (which is dangerous to unnecessarily expose a child to the harmful radiations) and other medications etc. were borne by us. The end result, we felt cheated and disoriented. I have many such stories of this hospital and others, who do the exact same thing. I would equate such ethics of these hospitals to prostitution.

They take advantage of stress situations to mislead and manipulate. And, I wish there was a body we could lodge complaints with to look into these malpractices. I wonder if trustworthy health care is a pipe dream in India.

There was recently a report about doctors charging almost 40%-50% more for vaccines than their cost price. They also promote expensive vaccines not really mandated by the Indian Health care System but just to make money. This unhealthy nexus of hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies is truly making lives miserable for citizens like us.


33 Thoughts on “The Great Con of Indian Hospitals

  1. Today only I read in RD that one CT scan is equal to 443 x-rays in terms of radiation effect and think about if it is done on a 5 years old boy. But do we have any option as these doctors take benefit of trauma we fo through specially when it is our child’s case.

  2. Healthcare is a lucrative business now

  3. It was really a bad experience.

  4. I know what you mean. Like every business, it’s about money.

  5. @manika I read that too, and I was horrified with these findings. Poor Sid has already had two CT scans in just 7 years.

    @Bhagya Yeah, the commercial interests seem to overpower all other motives. Sad state.

    @Chandrika Yes, it was. The worst is the feeling of being taken for a ride.

    @Agnes I know. Why can’t there be some ethics in running a business? How can people become so callous especially when dealing with others’ lives?

  6. I had covered this subject in my Post TREATMENT.
    The hospitals now are almost five star hotels and can be afforded only by the rich.
    Even a sneeze can get you into a diagnostic centre.

  7. ya money money money:0

  8. @BKChowla I went back and read your post. Nice post. We both agree on this one.

    @Ramesh exactly!

  9. Hi Rachna, Regret read of what you mentioned.
    I guess this kind of foolery does happen especially when ‘insurance’ involved.

    When certain people know they can get easy money via ‘insurance claims’, why not?
    Thats how people get rich.

    Don’t your newspapers there investigate? Then exposed it, naming names whatever?
    We too here have similar such ‘get money’ schemes, but we have journalists who when being tipped off or sniff salt fish in the air so to speak, then its front page news, then on TV, etc…names, locations mentioned…and heads go on the chopping block.

    Only past few days one lady MP got terminated, because of her antics and hubby’s money schemes.
    Big photos of them in the press, full page of family etc….game over, and the Royal Canadian Mounted police getting involved…

    Anyway…I myself have caught several crooks before, ha ha, got 2 sent to jail too.
    Oh well, sad when it happens to innocent people.
    You keep well Rachna, have a nice day, Lee.

  10. hey hello….dear..i posted my comment here ..but nt published,,,,,sadddd….
    anyways liked ur post…the harsh reality,.the fake doctore…smtimes fake Diseases..and mountain touching bills…i m happy that i stya in a town where expenditure on these stuffs is comparitively lower than metros….
    PS: do find time to vist my new post on bth the blogs…tc

  11. @Uncle Lee I think the media is the strongest machinery we have here. We do have a number of stings being carried out by them from time to time. I wish I could tip them off, if only I had this wisdom not in hindsight. Most people are aware of what these hospitals are doing, but I am surprised that the insurance companies are just keeping quiet.

    On my part, I had given written complaint once with this big hospital over another issue. Looks like they did not do much about it. I normally do not take crap from people, but sometimes the system can drive you up the wall.

    I have lived in the US for a couple of years, and I guess Canada must be similar in terms of standards of living. All I can say is that in India, we have a long way to go for many parameters.

  12. @rohini Oh, why did your comment not get published? Lucky you, that you can still get good healthcare at lower costs. Sure, will visit your blog.

  13. Hi Lady. Thanks for your commment! see soon! Changli

  14. Now with the medical tourism will get even worse or better? To wait and see…

  15. @Changli You’re welcome! And, thanks for visiting.

    @Quest Yeah, valid point. Thanks for visiting.

  16. My hubby too observed the same attitude in a star hospital in B’lore..and he spread the word using the effective emailing system. Everything in today’s time is about mere business..Doctors whom we consider next to god are becoming greedy day by day πŸ™

  17. @maverickshree Thanks for visiting. So true and depressing πŸ™

  18. Now why do I think you’re talking of Manipal Hospital????

  19. That’s an eye opener …hope people would realize the ill effect sooner than later…

  20. That’s the sad truth about a money-grubbing society, Rachna! All the professions that we used to respect – medicine, teaching whatever – have chosen to use their position to fleece you with the unique position they are in.

  21. Why haven’t you mentioned and shamed the hospital by name? Plastic surgery for a kid’s eyebrow injury actually sounds laughable if it wasn’t so painful, unnecessary and expensive!

  22. I am hearing these types of stories often here, in Chennai too, nowadays. We are spending money, though via insurance, the unnecessary exposure to radiation often is not good for esp. children. Even for a small sprain, they asked my son to get an X-ray taken, which was unnecessary. We go to that doctor on a regular basis so we have to heed to his advice!

    • I think it is the situation in every city these days. Not only is healthcare prohibitively expensive but not transparent either. These redundant tests and x-rays are prescribed regularly.

  23. Pingback: Hippocratic Oath | Serenely Rapt

  24. Healthcare is turning into a big sham. My husband once got german measles. He went to doctor to be sure about it as my son was just an year old at that time. The doctor first asked him where do you work, so you have insurance and he said ‘get admitted’. They have got into the money minting mode now.

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