Medicine in India: ‘Qualified Quacks’ and a Baffling Drug Landscape
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Everything about 33-year-old Vishal Chand pointed to a heart attack when he presented to Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur, India, with chest pain.
His heart activity was so erratic that his electrocardiogram (EKG) would have looked "abnormal even to a layman," one doctor later testified. But instead of admitting Chand, the emergency physician at Tata Main sent him home with drugs for pain, heartburn and anxiety. Chand died the next day.
Medical errors happen everywhere. But in the world's largest democracy, stories of doctors being drunk, using rusty instruments or bicycle pumps during surgery, or ordering unjustified procedures are increasingly common.
Now hard data is emerging that show how dismal medical care is for many in India, with providers routinely failing to diagnose common diseases and frequently prescribing useless and hazardous drugs.