`Docs asked to put patients under the knife to meet targets` screamed the headline of a story in Times of India , recently. It also mentioned, quoting a national survey, that recommending a number of elective surgeries which don`t involve too many risks, are the preferred way for hospitals to boost income.
I would like to share with you my own experience last year when I managed to narrowly escape going under the scalpel and denied an opportunity for the hospital to make some extra bucks. I was admitted to the same hospital where I was treated for my heart condition, this time with a bleeding problem connected with my stomach. The surgeon who examined me assured me that the problem could be brought under control by stopping the blood thinner I was taking for the heart condition and start on a specific medication. However, to be on the safe side he suggested that I go through a series of tests including a CT scan to find out the origin of the bleeding in the stomach. The cardiologist who was in charge of my case thought it prudent not to stop the blood thinner and await the results of the tests before he proceeded with the treatment plan. In the meanwhile I was bleeding profusely and my energy levels and the blood count were going down .
On the fifth day, after all the tests revealed nothing ominous, the surgeon came to see me and told me with a serious face that he will have to ` cut me open` to see where the problem lay. The same surgeon who had said earlier that the problem could be solved with medicines. I was aghast! I felt that the hospital was trying to take me for a ride. Even in my weak state I became livid and told the doctor that he had not even tried any medication to stop the bleeding and he was now talking of surgery. The surgeon left the room leaving the decision to the cardiologist. When the cardiologist, who was also the owner of the hospital, came visiting I told him in no uncertain terms that I will not agree to a surgery.
I told him “If you are worried about my heart creating problems if you discontinue the blood thinner, I will take the risk. If it is a fight between my heart and the stomach, the stomach gets the priority. The bleeding has to stop”.
The doctor, realizing that he had a tough patient on hand, reluctantly agreed to the procedure recommended by the surgeon earlier. The effect was immediate. The hospital detained me for two more days to give me two units of blood transfusion to ensure that the blood count returned to normal before I was discharged. The seven days of nightmare ended and I returned home happy that I managed to evade the scalpel one more time! But the anxiety syndrome created by this episode continues to haunt me.
While Allopathic medicines helped me contain the immediate problem of bleeding, I consulted an Ayurvedic doctor for a long term solution to my chronic stomach problem. I have responded well to the holistic treatment that he prescribed and my energy levels are good now.
In the past, whenever a surgeon recommended surgery for specific problems, I managed to avoid going under the scalpel, by getting a second opinion or using alternate medicines. I use Allopathy for diagnosis and emergency treatment and go for alternate medicines for treating chronic problems. So far, it has worked for me.
The draft National Health Policy of 2015 of the government suggests greater integration of `AYUSH` comprising five alternate medicines, with modern medicine - a type of `Crosspathy` that a number of eminent doctors of the country including Dr.Naresh Trehan of Escorts Heart Foundation fame & Dr.C.V.Krishnaswamy, the acclaimed diabetologist based in Chennai are advocating.
Even if Allopathy, Naturopathy or Homeopathy fail I can always count on my favourite Lord of the seven hills –- Venkatachalapathy who never fails to come to my rescue, whenever I have sought his `anugraham` for solving my problems.
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