Tag Archives: Ethics

Beware of unclean endoscopies

diagram of a human digestive system
human digestive system

Endoscopy is becoming an increasingly common investigation these days. They are used to visualize various parts of our food path i.e. gastrointestinal system. Colonoscopy is also a type of endoscopy in which the colon is visualized. Recently in US, a report came out where many endoscopes (endoscopes are the long tube like instruments used during endoscopy) were checked if they were properly cleaned.The outcome showed that good number of improperly cleaned endoscopes were in use on patients. Such unclean endoscopes have high risk of contaminating one patient with another patient’s infection including some of the life threatening ones like HIV, Hepatitis B or C etc. Continue reading Beware of unclean endoscopies

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Doctor of choice for overweight individuals

If you are an overweight or obese person and planning to get  a control on your pound scale what is your mental architecture about the doctor you visit? Well what I want to mean is, do your doctor’s physical outfit make you motivated to stick to their dietary health  advises. To dilute the issue furthermore- how comfortable are you as an overweight individual to get health tips from a slim and trim doctor.

Whatever your answer is here is what studies say about this particular behavior of overweight/obese persons. The finding is that obese patients trust health related dietary advice given by a obese doctor more. This is probably due to the feeling of being in same situation and sharing same difficulties due to increased body weight. But what will happen if the doctor loses weight in the meantime, because one can’t keep that overweight figure forever to inspire his/her patients. Well answer to it will also be available someday, hopefully.

Hawaiian woman

Please cross check informations from other sources too. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. Reference: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_137623.html

Career in healthcare

English: Fill the Gap!
Fill the Gap!

Many people believe that healthcare professionals (like doctors etc.) who help decrease their sufferings by means of providing treatment  are like angels or sometimes even compared with god although they are purely humans and themselves too prone to illness and sufferings. Yes they serve mankind hence they are health workers.

Choosing to be a part of health care providing family can be a decision boosted since our childhood although at any part of life we can really take part to serve the humans but certain issues are there which should be considered to be a health care professional. Currently in most part of the globe where a scientific way of medicine practice is followed there are certain standard paths to follow to be a health care professional.

Apart from certain alternative medicine streams mainstream medicine have certain requirements to be fulfilled to be eligible to serve human health and those are obtaining certain certifications from the medical regulatory authorities.

Whatever the profession you may choose to be in – a doctor or a nurse or a physiotherapist or some other type of health profession getting certified by the respective boards of the country where one intends to practice is mostly a compulsory requirement. This certification process is important probably because todays health care involves a lot of education and scientific training hence just the will to serve mankind without those training might not be of much worth.

Continue reading Career in healthcare

Say No To Gene Patents

Whom do you thing you owe your genes too: a company which decoded it first or mother nature who gave it to you at birth?

Are genes patentable? Probably the world wants to know the answer and recently the final decisions are pending in courts of various nations. First lets look into why do we need patents? Patents honor the inventors invention and give them the right to control its distribution and other uses for a certain period only. Now the question is- should products of nature be patentable?

Probably we are becoming so much overtly proud or greedy, that we want patent of everything we find for the first time but patents are probably for invention of something new but not for discovery of a natural phenomenon. Scientist Newton first found that gravitation force exists, but it was there before he was born even, so if he had claimed patent for discovering gravitational force, probably the whole globe have to pay him for simply inhabiting on earth. If that way things work, tomorrow archaeologists might hunt back in history to identify which country might have discovered the first spark of fire to patent ‘fire’, next time you light a cigarette or even light a candle you might need to payback the patent holding nation for fire.Similarly people might start arguing and fighting for various natural resources like air, water, oil, coal,  oxygen, sun, moon, tree etc.

Just imagine if the nation which first made space journey had patented that no more space journeys could have been possible other than them neither any research could have been done nor so many countries could have sent their space shuttles for research. If HIV virus gets patented no one other than the patent holder can research on this virus and simply stall the progress of science and let people suffer.

Now companies are struggling to patent genes, which is again not their invention (is present in human body for thousands of years since the beginning of the human race), they simply decoded it first. It’s alike an astronomer first finding a planet or star, should they patent those extraterrestrial discoveries. I personally call this a patent mania.

Someone tomorrow discovers a new cancer in human body, so should he/she have the right to patent that cancer; so when we get that cancer we can’t get it treated without his/her permission. Probably this is where business profit acceleration and extreme dynamism urges undermine ethics of basic human life.

Before ending this writing should mention about an American researcher known as Jonas Edward Salk, who first invented polio vaccine but never patented it. If he patented his discovery he could have earned billions of dollars but respecting humanity he didn’t patent it. While questioned in a television interview about patent of his invention he asked if we could patent the sun (link). Today the world is moving towards almost polio free state and that wouldn’t have been easy without his goodness and kindness of mind and thought.

Coming back to the recent debate of gene patentability, probably an invented diagnostic test to detect a particular gene is patentable and should be since it’s an invention but patenting the gene (whole or part) shouldn’t be acceptable since it’s our own human body part (like hand, foot,mouth, limbs, genitalia, blood, platelet, neutrophil, stomach or skin). We can’t sell our body to honor someone’s discovery. Like parents contribute to birth of their children but can’t snatch basic rights of their children similarly finding out a new structure (gene in this instance) in human body don’t surrender that body part of us to that discoverer. Why do every discovery of product of nature mean business? Let humanity prevail in humans. HUMANITY FIRST!

Humanity First logo

You may share your opinions below in the comments section. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider.

Medical representatives today

Drug Company Reps In Doctor’s Office

Today we will talk about an interesting issue of health care sector which somehow skips our eye many a times. Yes talking about the drug company representatives (referred as ‘reps’ in this writing) who visit doctors office to advertise their products. Let me start with a story I came across during my practice experiences. It was the early days in my medical practice life, as a young doctor just started functioning and was quite innocent about the behind screen culture of drug company representatives vs. doctors.

Advertising advertising

I regularly encountered about 10-12 reps a day and the first illusion I use to get is, they seemed to be extremely knowledgeable persons by their dressing outfits, style of speaking and professional courtesy (although they may be knowledgeable don’t want to argue on that).

Each of the reps generally used to speak a minute or more about their products. Finally when they are done they will leave some leaflets (of expensive print quality) about their product so that we can refer later and prescribe. After the leaflet comes the most delicious part, a gift which ranges from a small pen to a car or freeze or a fortnight trip to Switzerland and in future they might offer doctors a space travel too (since space travel is getting easy these days). Although I don’t support this culture of giving gifts but when you are gifted it pours in some greed at least in the unconscious mind.

But if we try thinking from where the drug company will make out the money it spends for advertising and giving gifts to doctors, obviously not from their pocket rather from the consumers wallet who have to pay more while buying drugs for these luxurious offers to doctors made by the drug companies.

While writing this article another issue bubbling in my mind are the ‘middlemen’ (not sure if the wording is correct) found in hospital settings and how they work. You may not know but such also exist, I remember one such middleman I came across who was well oriented with what type of patients visit a doctor’s office daily. I found him requesting a doctor to order CAT scan to all patients who come with the complain of headache even it might not be needed; generally people take headaches seriously since many fears that they might have a brain tumor and easily agrees to get a CAT scan and for every CAT scan the doctor orders the middleman will give a share to the doctor. Although that doctor denied the offer not sure if every doctor does the same. There are many other types of middlemen related to medical profession and mostly found in developing world, since today we are focusing on the reps lets not talk more about middlemen to stay on track.

Coming back to the  medical reps issue, we already talked about the gift part now lets focus on what about their claims or information they share with the doctor. Starting with my own experience, they deliberately try putting certain words I found in their speech to appear stunningly appealing and convincing to the doctor, following are some examples of such words-  ’evidence based medicine’,  ‘randomized control trial’, ‘sensitivity’, ‘specificity’, ‘positive predictive value’, ‘double blind’ and so on. Although not necessarily they understand all the words they say; rather they might be trained to speak the language the doctors like to listen or understands better.

It’s not completely true that they don’t inform the doctor with correct information, but they might not be sharing the COMPLETE information about their product. Based on my experience while encountering medical reps myself or in other doctor’s office they almost never spoke a single line about the adverse side effects of a drug they are speaking about. Forget about my experience which can be too individual specific but here I will share some raw evidence from a survey conducted on doctors in USA, France and Canada – they found that drug company representatives don’t inform doctor completely about the side effects of their drugs (Ref. LINK). Well these 3 countries make a very small fragment of the world, if surveyed in the rest of the world I believe the scenario will not be any different and might be more grave. Although I don’t think its the drug rep’s who should be blamed alone may be they have no other way besides following their companies training and instruction guidelines about the marketing and presentation methods to doctors.

However, hope medicine practice be tailored for the betterment of mankind and only be encased by truth rather than the deliberate displays of  business stunts. People should raise voice to compel the government’s to bring in bills to protect the basic human rights of health and wellness of their citizen.

Drug companies use direct-to-prescriber advert...
You may share your opinions below in the comments section. For all your health concerns please be guided by your healthcare provider. 
NOTE: This piece of writing is a glimpse of  thought of the author of this website and not meant to hurt anyone in any means. If such happened unknowingly please understand it as purely a coincidence rather than an intention. Thanks.

HIV threat at Dentist’s office

Are you ever scared of visiting a dentist’s office, no not talking about those dental procedures of scaling, filling, hammering or extraction rather pointing towards the serious type of hygiene or infection fear while sitting in a dental chair. If you never thought of this issue I urge you to think now, so that next time you visit your dentist’s office you can assure your safety. Continue reading HIV threat at Dentist’s office