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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

June 20, 2010

Second Rx your doctor’s opinion

Richard Branson is known as a pugnacious ‘ Live life King Size’ type of character, he also writes like one. A recent article by Richard Branson in Mint was interesting as well enlightening, though he wrote on a management topic, he used his personal experience to relate to a theme in the article.

Here branson narrates how he came out of a ligament tear condition while ‘playfully swinging a young girl around’ (now one can make his own deduction of this statement given Branson’s colourful life). However following the right exercise regimen (given to him by the physiotherapist of the English soccer team) he claims to being fit as ‘fiddle’ in 3 weeks flat. In the process he says he discounted two opinions given by two different ‘surgeons’ (definitely of repute & costly by Branson’s standard) suggesting a elaborate treatment including a painful operation.

This brings me to the point of this article. How many times have you been to a doctor and came back with a feeling of being fleeced? How many had an occasion to feel unduly alarmed by the prescription and the course of treatment recommended for an ailment? Branson may be obliquely referring to the fact that Allopathic Medical profession world over is suffering from a kind of blinkered approach to treating ailments. But is there a case of larger commercial interest hidden behind the elaborate rituals of diagnosis & treatment?

Take my case, I went to consult a gastro specialist at the Manipal Hospital to find a cure for a stomach pain that had been nagging me for a while, earlier this year. I narrated the symptoms ; slight burning sensation accompanied by occasional spasms on the upper portion of my stomach to a specialist there. The guy made a cursory check & asked me to come the next day for a Gastric endoscopy and wrote an elaborate ritual consisting of various pathological tests that preceded this exercise. He said that the endoscopy was necessary as he suspected of ‘Ulcers’ and that samples of the stomach lining would be needed for analysis.

Alarmed I decided to take a second opinion & went to ayurvedic doctor suggested by my friend Athavale. This doctor (Dr.Purander) dismissed all the alarmist prescription I was given earlier and said it was nothing more than a normal stomach upset. He gave me a kind of powder that cured my problem in 3 days flat! And that too at a fraction of a cost that I would have spent at the so called leading Hospital in Bangalore.

What was the difference? simply the absence of medical paraphernalia coupled with correct diagnosis and simple effective treatment. This goes to universally prove what the Rand Health Insurance project found in the US- that going to specialist doctors or fancy hospitals makes no more or less difference in health than non- fee- for- service Health maintenance Organizations (HMO). The only difference however was in the costs (& in a large measure).
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