In the past few weeks I came across two patients - one who is actually related to me and stays in Mumbai and the other - a reader of my blog. Both had very thin veins because of which repeated attempts at making a fistula in their arms had failed. This should have been clear in the first attempt itself. Despite this, the patients were made to undergo the torture of a failed surgery again and again. Both had residual renal function. Both did not have an issue of not being able to afford the cost of treatment. Despite this, Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) wasn't even mentioned to them as an option!
Why this antipathy to PD?
I find it extremely frustrating that patients are not even told about it. Its like it is a bad word! I know I keep talking about this again and again but when I hear about these kinds of cases, my guts revolt. I feel helpless and angry at the powers-that-be in the dialysis industry who spare no thought for the plight of patients and can think only of their own selfish, commercial interests.
While chatting with my fellow dialysis patients while undergoing dialysis in hospitals, we used to often say that this is such a horrible disease that we would not wish it upon our worst enemies. But when I get to know about such cases where there is scant regard for basic human values, I find myself hoping that these people who take such decisions should get this disease. Only then will they realize what it means to suffer like this. Only then will they realize what it means to be denied a chance to decide for yourself. Only then will they realize what it means to be condemned to a life of hemodialysis when there is a better alternative. Really, they should experience this first hand.
We really need to move to a system of healthcare where the treatment is decided devoid of any commercial consideration whatsoever. Doctors must strictly be on a salary. In fact, I would go to the extent of saying that a part of their salary must be based on the outcomes of the patient they treat. If a doctor's patients live longer and have a better quality of life, he or she must be rewarded. Currently, our healthcare system is so horribly flawed that it is commercial gain more than anything else that dictates many decisions.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) had a while ago banned the giving and receiving of gifts and trips by corporates to doctors. This remains mostly on paper. This corrupt practice is far more dangerous than the multi-crore rupee scams carried out by politicians. They are actually playing with human life. This is the most base, the most sickening form of corruption.