When doctors forget the Hippocratic Oath

Heard Shri Santosh Hegde, Lokayukta, Karnataka address the convocation for the medical students passing out of Sri Sri Ayurvedic College last evening and and came back very impressed by the simplicity and the directness of the message. Do not recall the complete speech, but here are the snippets of his speech.

I am person in hurry, I am 70 years old and I use every opportunity I get to talk and spread the message, and have already spoken to 216 colleges and institutions.

Before I took over the post of Lokayukta, I was like a frog in the well, after taking this post and travelling to nooks and corners of Karnataka, I am distressed to see the suffering of the poor.

The rich have grown richer, the distribution of wealth is not even…

Corruption has seeped into the society and today anyone with money – irrespective of the source of the money- is looked up to and the society does not condemn such people.

He narrated a heart rending tale of a poor tailor from Bagalkot with his wife came to his office one day and sat down on the floor and put their infant child in front of him and told Justice Hegde to take care of the child, since they did not have any money to give to the pediatric surgeon in Hubli hospital to get a surgery done for the child.

Apparently the child had a rare condition of his lower intestine not being completely developed and used his mouth to defecate. The pediatrician at the Hospital asked for a bribe in order to perform the surgery and without finding a solution, they came to Justice Hegde’s office as the last resort. Apparently the doctors basic salary in 2006 was 33,000 and by 2008 had gone upto Rs.80,000 still the money he earned wasn’t enough to satiate his hunger for more money.

The office of Justice Hegde apparently issued a appeal to all the hospitals in bangalore – saying that the Lokayukta is begging the hospitals to treat this child. He said I could have referred the child to Victoria or Bowring Hospital, but knowing how they function, I did not want the poor parents to run around. Manipal hospital responded to the call and did a free surgery the next day. The parents stayed with the support of staff of Justice Hegde – he re-emphasized that no govt. money was spent on the parent’s stay, but his staff pooled and took care of them – for about a month in Bangalore and went back home happily with their kid.

Their is one disease in the world for which there is no cure, that of greed. Don’t ever let the disease catch you.

Earn by all means, but remember that money earned by dubious means does not give comfort.

Be trupth (content with your legitimate earnings)

And remember that there will be times when the patient will not have adequate money to pay for the treatment, at such times, be generous.

And lastly cultivate the quality of being human.

Deccan Herald has a link on the same story

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