Unethical Medical Practices

Dear Sir,

Currently I am a postgraduate, M.Phil. Trainee/lecturer in the Department of Pathology at Ziauddin Medical University- Karachi. Recently, my supervisor and Mentor Prof. Dr. Seraj Uddaula Syed presented me a copy of your book “Combination of Acid & Honey”. I read the compilation of columns which greatly piqued my interest. Moreover, the book bears a fascinating title. Hence I felt the need to convey my thoughts to you. Medical Journalism, I believe, could be very powerful tool to cover various important issues one deals with being a health professional in academic or clinical practice.

Your book has enlightened me with many aspects of medicine and related fields that emphasize on the importance of standardized protocols in health industry, that are unfortunately not efficiently implemented in our society, and at the same time an update on the improvements.I would like to mention what you wrote about in the preface and share a personal experience in this regard, as you have mentioned that you have special interest in Medical Ethics.

“The major emphasis in these columns remains upholding merit, ensuring justice and fair play, to highlight intellectual corruption in our medical institutions, un-ethical practices, and corruption that is rampant in the health care industry. Unethical practice by the medical profession has now even made the death more expensive.”

I second to what you have mentioned as the lack of practice of medical ethics has affected my life as a doctor and a student. My Father died because of medical negligence at a very renowned institution of Pakistan, where the doctors performed a surgery and from the beginning of process of acquiring medical and drug history, consent taking, till all the procedures, one after the other an array of medical errors took place with the concluding statements given by the doctor as Unusual/ surprising events that lead to my father’s death. I tried to seek a portal to get through my complaints but neither the Law nor health institutions deal with such medical negligence cases efficiently. The point of mentioning this is that no matter medical ethics is taught at institutions, it is the application of this that makes a doctor a good doctor, reminding of the oath that one takes at the time of graduation.

It is indeed nice to know that there is some improvement in the area of development of Bioethics Committees and I hope the future directions are more optimistic and helpful for non- medical/ medical professionals. Medical Malpractice is an issue to deal with because of the grossly reckless doctors who need to be reminded of how crucial is Medical Ethics for a health care professional keeping patient safety in the vanguard of medical practice.

This book is very useful for candidates seeking updates on continuing medical education and insights on various subjects by recognized authors and doctors. It is definitely worth the read. I will follow more of your publications as well as will feel privileged to get a feedback from you.

Dr. Moomal Aslam Khan
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Those who are dead and
do nothing have no critics

Your above titled column in “Off the Record” published in Pulse International in recent issue have literally brought tears in my eyes. Prof. Najeeb a great man, and a wonderful teacher of mine at Dow Medical College. He served in the then East Pakistan, was Principal at Nishtar Medical College and founder of Liaquat Medical College. Finally he retired as Professor of Medicine from Dow Medical College and incharge of Medical Unit-2 of Civil Hospital Karachi. His one quality as teacher was his punctuality. He used to reach to his office well before 8.00 AM in the morning and dot at 8.00 AM you will find him where the schedule was, I mean either in OPD or in ward or in class room. I was told by one of my senior colleague that he at Liaquat Medical College established unit where drips used to be prepared at a cost of few paisa and quality was so good that never any reaction was reported. Mind you those days these infusion were supplied in glass bottles with rubber lid and not in plastic bags.

After my graduation while I was serving at PNS Shifa-the Naval Hospital Karachi. I received a call from him when a patient of mine suffering from Diabetes Mellitus went to him for private consultation. He appreciated my correct prescription and instructions and sent me his book on Diabetes written in Urdu with his signatures on it.

Sir, you have very rightly written about Shahbaz Sharif and PKLI Lahore. Just four days before media showed what the higher ups have done to Vice Chancellor and his team of Punjab University. Shame for us. The entire world saw it that how we treat our renowned teachers. It must be in your knowledge that most of the hospitals in private sectors and even in government domain are not taking serious and critically ill patients as when they die in the hospital relatives create fuss, start misbehaving with doctors even physically beat them along with nurses and other staff members, break the costly equipment and damage the building. Our media plays a very negative role on such incidence.

In Pakistan no one should work as in vogue in Sind, Baluchistan and to some extent in KPK. When you work you suffer, you are handcuffed as if you are a terrorist. Before verdict you are in the prisons cell and remain there in inhumane conditions. Let us all relax, No work, No tension.

Dr. Abdul Qaddus

Diffusing the Population 
Explosion Bomb

I have been working at National Institute of Child Health (Honorary) since Dec 2007. I look after the skin problems of children in OPD two days in a week and teach dermatology to the postgraduates in Paediatric. Every month I get two new Postgraduate. All of them are blank in Dermatology. My nurse and the postgraduates are a witness that each child that I see has been mismanaged because the treating Physician has no knowledge of the Childs Skin.
On Fridays I am looking after the skin problems of children in Dermatology OPD and teaching Paediatric Dermatology to the postgraduates in Dermatology at JPMC From 8,30 am to 11,30 there are a minimum of 40 children. Again the postgraduates are a witness how each child has been mismanaged as the treating Physician has no knowledge of skin problems of children.
Institute of Skin Diseases Regal Chowk has a daily attendance of five thousand patients. There are forty doctors. Only ten are dermatologists (N0 FCPS). Rest are politically backed appointments. This institution should be revived. It should be a teaching institution, producing MCPS, FCPS in Dermatology and Paediatric Dermatologists. We are 60 years behind the developed countries as regards Paediatric Dermatologists.

Dr. Yasmeena Khan
Department of Dermatology
JPMC, Karachi, Pakistan.

Cost of free treatment
at public hospitals

This refers to Off the Record column in the current issue of Pulse International (15-31 Oct 2018) “Cost of free treatment at public hospitals”. It was a much needed voice to express the feelings of doctors.

While at one hand we doctors should continue to make efforts to raise standards of care especially in relation to empathy, the society particularly the media, should give due respect to this profession and for a change break news of a doctor doing some good work, or a patient getting satisfied! To an independent eye, such examples are in huge numbers daily Alhamdolillah.

Dr. Sohail Akhtar, FRCP,
Professor and Consultant
Pulmonologist, The Indus Hospital, Karachi and Former President PIMA (Center)

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