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Friday, 5 July 2013






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Government Gazette

Medical Issues

It is normal behaviour when people choose to ignore a less experienced professional and go to a well-seasoned one to solve their problems. Even though one can not afford high fees, they tend to sell their valuables or property to achieve their intentions.

This situation can be seen mostly in the medical field. That's why some people go to a consultant even for a minor flu. Some are happy by going to private institutes. They bypass well-equipped state hospitals to dry out their bank accounts. Some admit to private hospitals to get treatment for dengue when the most experienced professionals work in specialised government hospitals in IDH.

When there is no cure or if they can afford, people decide to go overseas for treatment. India, Singapore, UK and America are the ascending list. The United State of America is at top of the list for best care for some medical conditions. Heart bypass and kidney transplantation were first performed there many decades ago and UK followed.

But there is no doubt that the UK is also one of the best places for medical treatment. But recently, the Evening Standard newspaper disclosed that some London doctors don't trust hospitals they work at. Only four in 10 doctors at London hospitals would be happy for a friend or a relative to be treated in their wards.

The treatment at government hospitals are free for residents here. They are governed by a Trust called the National Health Service. Most of them are headed by CEOs with no medical qualifications.

Unless you have an emergency, hospital referrals should go through a general practitioner in the UK. You can not buy prescription drugs over the counter. Antibiotics are available only on prescription. As every general practitioner is running on a government budget, they tend not to prescribe or refer to a hospital easily. It can cost their budget.

Recently a hospital made a wrong diagnosis on a two-year-old girl who had a heart condition. She was taken to the hospital with a temperature but was discharged despite her mother's plea to be given a chest X-ray. The doctors diagnosed her with gastroenteritis and labeled the mother 'paranoid'. Two days later the small girl died of a heart condition.

In another incident, a mother who had a miscarriage, died on the operating table in a London hospital after two unsupervised trainee surgeons removed one of her ovaries instead of her appendix. The hospital has admitted liability for her death and apologized to the family.

Recently, a 22-year-old male died at a top teaching hospital in London due to dehydration. Ignored by doctors and nurses as they were busy, the patient dialed the emergency phone number for medical attention from his hospital bed before his death.

It is reported that at another general hospital, up to 16 babies and two mothers have died between 2001 and 2012 because of poor care.

According to a recent research by Daily Mail newspaper in London, it was revealed that nearly 12,000 patients die needlessly in hospitals every year due to blunders by staff. It is reported that doctors and nurses routinely misdiagnose illnesses, fail to treat patients quickly enough or give them the wrong dose of drug.

It is said that when junior doctors first start their jobs there is an increase of deaths at hospitals. It is nick named the 'killing season' and the total deaths rise by 8 percent.

Hundreds of deaths at different hospitals are being examined by the Police after a review identified 200 to 300 cases where neglect might have been a contributory factor.

Medical negligence here is not spared as some other countries we know. There are instances where millions of pounds are paid to victims who need a lifetime care at home.

Recently, a male received 225,000 compensation for the delayed diagnosis of malignant melanoma. In another case, a male was treated at a hospital after breaking his leg. His wound became infected and he was treated over a prolonged period with a drug called Linezolid. He later found out that this drug is usually used in the treatment of MRSA which he did not suffer from. The hospital ended up paying 150,000 as compensation.

Compensation culture is totally a different subject. Wherever you are, whatever the illness is, there is always a chance when treatment could go wrong.

However, I don't think medical negligence should ever be labelled as fate.


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