ill-informed medicos on matters beyond medicine, into roots, ramification and depth of corruption in general as well as in health care.Distinguished medical authors lament corruption There are two books I recommend to my colleagues in medical profession.
1. DO NO HARM---Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery—By Henry Marsh
“It simply tells the stories, with great tenderness, insight and self-doubt, of a phenomenal neurosurgeon, What a bloody splendid book”—Observer
“….while this book may unsettle readers it will at the same time leave them with a searing appreciation of the wonders of human body and gratitude that there are surgeons like Hendry Marsh using their hard-won expertise to save and repair lives”—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Every surgeon carries within himself a small cemetery, where from time to time he goes to pray—a place of bitterness and regret, where he must look for an explanation for his failures”—Rene Leriche (1951)
Admittedly this book confines to just one specialty—Neurosurgery, and the chapters describe difficult to impossibly difficult brain diseases. But equally riveting are chapters describing his arduous path to becoming a neurosurgeon. A diversion is the author’s sojourn in Ukraine, and unsparing criticism. Today boundaries separating medical specialties are becoming indistinct. Viewed in this context every doctor in charge of advising and treating a patient will see in Marsh’s description what he/she had experienced. And I am sure surgeons in particular, possibly obstetrician/ gynecologist as well, would have similar stories in their experience. Unfortunately, it is given only to a few who can pen their thoughts and do it so effectively. Read. You will know. A book that makes you feel good & thankful you are practicing medicine.
2. HEALERS OR PREDATORS---Edited by SamiranNundy, Keshav Desiraju, Sanjay Nagralwith a forward by Amartya Sen.
“Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India ranks among the poorest achievers of good health”—Amartya Sen’s salvo hits the ‘bullseye’ in his superbly written foreword. Apart from editors who are renowned & respected contributors to health care professionally & administratively, care and diligence exercised in selection of contributors are indeed commendable. The chapters can be read at your selection as each deal with different aspect of health care in India. Authors (particularly non-doctors) have elaborated on corruption, tracing its origin to centuries earlier. I only hope it does not take centuries to correct! Mind boggling number of references listed is amazing. Shiv Viswanathan bamboozles with terms & phrases that forced me to dust my dictionary & thesaurus. “Bowdlerization” is one such. “Having different health services for the rich and poor is in itself a morally corrupt idea”, remark by Priya and Ghodajkar bares it all.
Non-doctors among the authors lead us, generally in health care system, highlighting with personal experience and also in institutions, both private & public.Corrective measures offered do not appear to be emphatic.A sequel should come to cover this lacuna.
Title infuriates me.” An animal that preys on others” is meaning of “Predator” given in Oxford dictionary which goes on to define “Prey” --“Hunt and kill for food”.
Read. Decide if you are a healer or predator! More importantly define your individual task in ridding the noble profession of this obnoxious stigma.
PS: Two lines on the author could have been given on the opening page of every chapter.