Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Dr. Venugopal had to go... but more needs to be done.....

Dr. P.Venugopal, Director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences until July 5, 2006 is indeed an eminent medical professional. And the sack orders he received may do him some good. His eminence and his experience should land him in one of Delhi’s multi-speciality clinics and make him richer than he would have been if he had continued in the AIIMS. And the state run AIIMS is indeed a loser having lost yet another professional of his caliber.

All this, however, does not mean that Venugopal must have been allowed to remain Director of AIIMS. For, his role during the recent strike by medicos against the Union Government’s decision to implement a reservation formula for Other Backward Classes in institutions of higher learning amounted to conspiracy against the Constitutional scheme of things. And no democratic nation can afford to condone such an act.

Article 340 of the Constitution makes it imperative for the Government to appoint a Commission and investigate measures aimed at ensuring that the Other Backward Classes are brought into the mainstream of the national life. And the Mandal Commission, set up in 1979 was only a step in this direction. After the 1990 decision to reserve 27.5 % of Central Government jobs for the OBCs, it was necessary that such a formula be implemented in institutions of higher learning too.

Hence, Venugopal or anyone else for that matter had to necessarily do everything to effect these measures. And when he refused to do so and used his office as Director of AIIMS to defend those who sought to frustrate this measure, it was the duty of the Union Health Ministry to sack him. This was important in defence of the Constitution.

It is a different matter that such eminent professionals have not internalized this national duty. The reason for this is that our curriculum framework in the professional colleges do not contain any activity that will enable the students, all of them bright students, to internalise the unequal socio-economic order that prevails across the country that denies the right to education to a whole lot of people simply because they were born into castes that are considered Backward by others. In other words, Dr. Venugopal would have behaved differently if only he had an opportunity, in his college days, to realise that caste based discriminations lead a number of children to drop out of schools.

The point is there is a pressing need now for revising the curriculum framework in our schools and colleges and the revision will have to be done to ensure that the youth are made aware of the inequality that guides our social set-up even now and that this is something that each one of us must detest. Social sciences cannot be dismissed as an unwanted discipline in our professional colleges.

Be that as it may. This is also an occasion when we may consider changes in the Oath that medical professionals take when they pass out of colleges. A revised oath has been formulated and administered by Dr. Leo Rebello, a Mumbai based medical professional since 2003.

Dr. Rebello formulated this in 2003, since Hippocrates Oath is now partly outdated being centuries old. This revised Oath has been widely circulated, accepted and appreciated. And here it is!

I, -------------, do hereby swear on this solemn day that :- I shall NOT prescribe unnecessary medicines and tests to my patients;
I shall NOT give false counseling; I shall NOT overcharge and accept cuts and gifts;
I shall NOT rape tiny tots with mercury laced innoculations or vaccinations, for they pollute the blood stream leading to serious diseases like AIDS, Cancers, Autism, etc;
I shall NOT prescribe lethal drugs, like anti-retrovirals, chemotherapy, or give ECT to my patients;
I shall NOT indulge in human organ thefts to the detriment of my patients;I shall NOT be afraid of any authority and fabricate medical records or give false evidence;
I shall NOT exploit students studying under me;
I shall NOT manipulate findings or results to win grants.
I, -------------, further solemnly affirm that:- If I cannot treat a disease, I shall not say that AIDS, cancers, diabetes has no cure. But will tell the patient to try other systems of medicine.
I shall treat health practitioners of other systems with respect and not tell deliberate lies to prove my importance.
I shall study Holistic healing modalities to increase my knowledge and wisdom.
I shall not even by mistake say that "HIV=AIDS=Death" or cancers cannot be treated. I shall not frighten my patients with unnecessary comments, opinions or advice.
I still remember what Hippocrates said, namely, "Let diet be your medicine" and shall accordingly prescribe fresh fruits, vegetables and good diet to my patients, rather than tonics, syrups, synthetic multi-vitamins, especially to children.
I shall NOT perform surgery, unless it is absolutely must and will not indulge in rackets like amniocentesis, caesarian section, silicon implant or liposuction.
I shall work to ban the useless and cruel animal experiments in the name of medicine. I shall participate in periodic workshops, seminars, conferences at my expense or on scholarship (no pharma funding) to educate myself and speak from my conscience if I am called upon to speak or preside.
Finally, I shall not consume alcohol, smoke tobacco, or take other narcotic and psychtropic substances. As far as possible, I shall also not take animal proteins. I realize and aver that a great responsibility of people's well-being is upon my shoulders and I shall carry on my onerous task with utmost dedication. This I swear in the name of God on this solemn Doctors' Day and I shall repeat this oath daily lest I forget that I am in a divine profession to heal the world.

Dr. Rebello has a website :


Blogger Nandhu said...

stopped by. read ur first blog. i am here:

paste me on the sidebar. u have to do that by going to template. i just mentioned ur blog in my blog.

6:37 AM  
Blogger V. Krishna Ananth said...

i need ur help physically to do that nandu. when we meet next. ok. and thanks for mentioning mine on ur blog. will get more people looking at it!!!!!!!!

7:42 AM  

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