Do Mysore’s doctors, hospitals have any ethics?
Or were the rules of medicine changed while you were sleeping?
Originally, this post was prompted by Nagu’s observation that the current edition of the Mysore Yellow Pages is actually on white paper.
(Question: are yellow pages on white pages still yellow pages?)
Never mind, but a random glance at the doctors’ section of the yellow pages on white paper shows something more distressing.
Our doctors and hospitals are not merely announcing their presence but advertising their services unabashedly. One of them, Dr C. Sharath Kumar, who runs a fertility centre (or an infertility centre depending on who you are) actually has six, yes six, display advertisements besides the mandatory three-line entry most doctors get.
Display advertisements, not entries.
It appears under: 1) fertility specialists, 2) gynaecologists and obstetricians, 3) infertility specialists, 4) laporoscopic and endoscopic surgeons, 5) surgeons, and 6) hospitals.
If you read this in conjunction with the press releases and advertisements that Dr Sharath Kumar’s “well-wishers” insert in the local papers whenever he is going abroad for (or returning from) some major (or minor) seminar, which is quite frequently, it doesn’t seem a coincidence.
Actually, Dr Sharath Kumar isn’t alone.
Surrogate advertising is now the norm. And a far cry from the days when Dr Shreeram Lagoo was stripped of medical license for using his “Dr” while modeling for Saridon.
As competition catches on, medical advertising is taking on different, more questionable forms.
Super-speciality hospitals which have invested crores are now using every trick in the book (and some outside it) to woo “customers”.
On the cable channels, it is now common to find doctors and surgeons holding forth most eloquently on Sunday afternoons with their phone numbers and hospital/clinic name flashing on the screen.
In the newspapers, it is routine to find free cancer screening camps to get some free publicity, so that the patients can be milked at leisure at the speciality hospitals.
And, it seems, there are no angels left.
Not only are tourists and travelers entering Mysore welcomed by giant hoardings of Vikram Hospital as if it were a hotel, it is also surreptitiously using ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’ to advertise its presence.
And both Vikram and Apollo Hospitals have begun to exploit the naivete of newspapers correspondents and the financial vulnerability of their publications to advertise every little operation conducted in their premises as a world first.
Is this OK? Or is this OK?
Join the debate.