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

India against Corruption

Aadesh Goyal writes on his blog about the rampant corruption and how we can help fight against it.

There have been innumerable cases of corruption – big and small. The Bofors Scam in the 1980s had brought down the then Government – the kickbacks were estimated to be Rs 41 crores. Things have become bigger – in the last 12 months alone, multiple scams (2G, Common Wealth, etc.) totaling more than Rs 1 lakh crore have been unearthed!

One thing is common – hardly anyone gets punished for being caught in a scam. At the most, there is some temporary setback like resigning from a post, raids, being questioned by investigating agencies, some time in judicial custody, etc. Have you wondered what happens to the money that was stolen? It remains stolen – there is no effort to bring it back.

Three things shape our behavior – Values help us to do the right thing, to be ethical. The law of the land defines the things that are illegal. When this does not work, the consequences give a clear message that unlawful behavior will not be tolerated. It creates a fear of punishment if caught doing something wrong.

Today, in India, there is no fear. Why? Because no one gets punished. In fact, the greed has been increasing day by day. People have become brazen, and the quantum and size of corruption related incidents is increasing exponentially.

At some point in our life, we have come face to face with corruption – and got frustrated and angry – and complained and cried – why does this happen! If you gave in, it would have made you guilty and full of anger. If you stood up, the things would have gotten tougher, and it may have required a lot of energy and patience before your job got done, if it did. But you would have felt good, but still wondered – why does one have to fight just to be right?

When talking about corruption, the common man is generally helpless. Our action is generally restricted to complaining in our drawing rooms and intense debates on the television and media. However, no positive change seems to be happening.

However, we do have an opportunity! The India Against Corruption is a Citizen’s Movement started by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ram Dev, Arvind Kejriwal, Kiran Bedi, Shanti Bhushan and many more. And they have come up with a specific plan – to help enact the right legislation and have drafted Anti Corruption Bill and the Lokayukta Bill. And there is a single goal at this time – to convert these into law.

See http://www.indiaagainstcorruption.org/ – there are crisp details including how the current drafts of these Bills are just a lip service, an eye-wash. There is analysis of what is lacking – the drafts are not proposing enough teeth. India Against Corruption has done research and taken inspiration from successful models, especially what transformed Hong Kong.

Go read the blog and if you are in Delhi, join the march on 30th Jan 2011.