When Doctors Were Ethical

When Doctors Were Ethical.
- Jagannath Chatterjee

Doctors are not scientists by education. They are practitioners who have to mostly blindly follow what they are taught, and increasingly obey what a coterie deciding government policies demand from them; particularly in matters of sterilization and vaccination. The problem with modern medicine is that those practitioners who question the injudicious interventions are either bludgeoned into submission, sidelined or stripped of their medical licence.
Those genuinely interested in the health of populations have realized that remaining low key, and setting shop in isolated regions is the only way to serve the masses. There are fortunately at least 20 of them in India that I know of. These doctors do not balk from studying and accepting methods from practices outside their calling. It is a tragedy that they too have to do so furtively.
This is a far cry from what we observed 30-40 years ago. Doctors then openly prescribed ayurvedic formulations like Liv 52, Diabecon, Amla and Triphala Choorna, among others.
A very popular doctor in Odisha who was also the Principal of the SCB medical college in Cuttack Dr Ragu Sahu practiced what can only be termed naturopathy and supplemented it with a few generic drugs. He had an extremely high rate of success and despite his frightful temper, his patients considered him to be a God. In Bhubaneswar the late Dr Jagannath Mohapatra of Old Town area (brother of Late Dr Gadadhar Mohapatra – who preferred advice and patience over prescription) prescribed nutrition, spices and herbs, besides generic drugs, with emphasis on the former. A very well known MD of Forest Park area who concentrated on children refused to treat children who were vaccinated. A prominent and soft spoken opthalmologist of Rajmahal area also practiced homeopathy and was awarded for his successes. A Bengali MD of Unit IV treated with what he called “sympathy” and practiced all pathies with élan.
There is a very senior and highly qualified pathologist in Sahidnagar (a student of Dr Raghu Sahu) who has a wide repertory of such doctors from Odisha but he keeps his knowledge to himself.
When I broach this subject with modern day doctors they say that medical science has advanced and they no longer need such support.
A Professor in Medicine from Kolkata who used to correspond with me narrated how he was pulled up for asking his students to also study other medical philosophies. A letter from him is in my notes section. Plainly, the IMA has forbidden doctors from practicing other pathies.
In an NDTV debate, the then IMA President shocked the audience and even Burkha Dutt when he openly admitted that serving the interests of Big Pharma was his prime duty and he remained mute when Burkha wondered aloud if he was also duty bound to suppress practices outside the domain even if they were beneficial.
It is essential to realize that our present day medical experts are not committed to health. If Richard Horton pointed out that just 15% of medical interventions can stand up to scrutiny, other medical researchers were quick to point out that he had failed to consider the ultimate litmust test – replicability.
Under these circumstances we have no recourse but to be our own doctors. Be informed, be prepared and concentrate on preventive practices. An article today in Medical Express concedes that parents who do not vaccinate their children also prefer organic foods, tend to stay away from chemicals, do prolonged breastfeeding and adopt other healthy practices. A recent study on cancer and women advises women to “stay as natural as possible”. Both people and researchers are waking up. Doctors are laggards because earnings are important and so also is allegiance to the industry that feeds them.