‘Why different price tags for same drug’

FM Bureau | 12-November-2012

Detailed News

Dr K K Shanbhogue is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, and a Senior General Surgeon at Kasargod Institute of Medical Sciences, Kerala. He had completed his MBBS from Kasturba Medical College in 1972, MD in 1975, and MS in 1978. After that, he had joined the Kerala Government Service and served it for six years. In an interaction with Future Medicine, Dr Shanbhogue shares his experiences as a surgeon

Inspiration to become a surgeon

The untimely death of my father due to lack of proper medical treatment had prompted me to become a doctor. Then, I gradually learnt that among doctors, surgeons are highly respected and that a surgeon is the epitome of knowledge in the field of medicine. That persuaded me to pursue MBBS and take up surgery as my specialisation. My surgical teachers at Kasturba Medical College had also inspired me through their teachings to become a surgeon.

Memorable surgical experience

A few years ago, I was actively involved in the activities of the Lion’s Club, Kasargod, Kerala. I had suggested that the Lion’s Club should hold plastic surgery camps for poor patients, instead of organising medical camps. Accepting my proposal, the Lion’s Club advertised in the newspapers. We received a lot of requests for free plastic surgery. Among the applicants was a 28-year-old woman who had a defect in the upper lip. She had decided to remain a spinster because of this condition. However, six months after a successful surgery, she, along with her father, came to my hospital to invite me for her marriage. I was emotionally moved when she touched my feet, seeking blessings. I had never thought that I could bring about such a huge difference in someone’s life.

Essential traits of a surgeon

Experience makes a surgeon perfect. A surgeon should maintain utmost transparency with his patients. This keeps up the patients’ confidence. A surgeon should update himself about the latest technologies because surgical technologies are changing with the passage of each day. A surgeon should have good knowledge about basic medicine as well, without which he/she cannot even move forward.

Suggestions for improvement in the healthcare system

Commericalisation of medical education has made healthcare costs unaffordable since new doctors are making up for expenses on studies by heavily charging their patients. The government should immediately take some steps to check commercialisation of medical education. At the same time, drug companies have been charging varying amounts for the same medicine. Such malpractices should be stopped forthwith.

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