KG Hospital Chairman Dr G.Bakthavathsalam in an interview with Sun TV, telecast on Tuesday morning (November 28, 2017) expressed his candid and forthright views on the modern healthcare sector, the functioning of the private hospitals and government hospitals, the National Eligibility and Entrance Test, the types of diseases prevailing among humanity and the preventive and curative aspects.
Dr Bakthavathsalam said that allopathy was useful in detecting the diseases and treating the patients in emergency situations such as those who suffered heart attacks and road accident victims. Allopathic doctors, before prescribing any medicines were in the habit of looking more for the side effects than the efficacy of medicines.
There were occasions when patients who underwent dental surgery died of heart attack that ensued immediately. Indian systems of medicines such as Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Siddha were existing alongside allopathy, he said.
As for the controversy over the contents of the Nilavembu kashayam (decoction of the herb Nilavembu) which was promoted as a cure for Dengue fever and the need for research into its ingredients, Dr Bakthavathsalam said that he did not have any idea about what constituted this herbal medicine. Any fever would subside after a course of 4 to 5 days, he said.
As for the allegation about the commercialization of healthcare delivery system in private hospital, Dr Bakthavathsalam said that hospitals too were being run like any other businesses, but there was a major difference: ie., the hospitals were in the life-saving business, Dr Bakthavathsalam said.
He said that the private hospitals were preferred by the patients because of the hygienic condition, well furnished rooms and other infrastructure facilities. No hospital was in the habit of accosting the patients to it.
Dr Bakthavathsalam said that in his view the government hospitals, district headquarters hospitals, taluk hospitals and Primary Health Centres too were offering good medical services, but the only drawback was that the hygienic conditions in these government-run hospitals were not to the desired level.
He pointed out that the people would always prefer to go to good school, good hotel and neat temple. Similarly the patients wouldy choose to go to hospitals that are neat and clean. About the adverse portrayal of hospitals and doctors in movies, Dr Bakthavathsalam said that there might be 5 per cent of doctors/hospitals who, in public view, might not be good.
But the remaining 95 per cent of doctors/hospitals were sincerely rendering healthcare services. It was this service motto that was the watchword of KG Hospital. He started KG Hospital 43 years ago in a modest scale, with bank loan and with just one surgeon (himself), an ayah and a helper.
Now, KG Hospital had recorded a phenomenal growth with 70 departments equipped with Rs 500 crore of modern equipment. He rubbished the theory that private hospitals were subjecting the patients to unnecessary and unwanted tests.
Need for vital tests
Dr Bakthavathsalam said that one may have more than the permitted sugar level in blood that might remain asymptomatic for some time, but over a period of time it would manifest in many forms of diseases.
So, detecting the exact physical condition and to identify the occult diseases, certain tests considered of vital importance by doctors ought to be conducted, which may in layman’s view not needed.
He pointed out that nowadays more than the communicable diseases, lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and peptic ulcer had become widespread. Persons over 50 years of age, those who were obese, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar level were most likely to get heart attack.
Dr Bakthavathsalam further noted that if one feels giddiness or sharp pain in the left side of the body and neck, or the so-called gas trouble he would be the sure candidate for heart attack. Such of those people ought to be treated within the first one hour, called “Golden Hour” in medical parlance.
Considering the severity and the sudden onset of the heart attack, Dr Bakthavathsalam had propagated the Loading Dose, a combination of three tablets, to be consumed at the very moment of getting any symptom of heart attack. This video of him had gone viral in the social media.
He said that in America and Canada the doctors were advocating the Loading Dose as a first aid measure to ward off heart attack. After taking the dose, the patients should report to the hospital for further examination within 3 hours.
Explaining the efficacy of Loading Dose, he said that a High Court Judge developed sudden heart problem at Salem and a policeman, who was his orderly, immediately handed him over the Loading Dose kept ready in his pocket.
Later, the Judge went to the Mohan Kumarmangalam Government Medical College Hospital and enquired about the Loading Dose. The doctors concurred with the view that it was the most effective dose and the policeman had did the right thing at the right time in saving the Judge’s life.
Dr Bakthavathsalam noted that just because a few doctors or hospitals were functioning with commercial motive it was not fair to put all the private hospitals in the same brackets. There were certain inappropriate people in politics, police department and so on, but branding all the departments bad was not right, he said.
‘NEET not needed’
Regarding the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET—the nationwide entrance tests being conducted for admission to medical colleges), Dr Bakthavathsalam categorically said that as far as Tamil Nadu was concerned NEET was absolutely not necessary.
He underscored the point that ‘‘our country is a United States of India, in which students hailing from various States such as Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Bihar and so on are having different IQ levels.”
Dr Bakthavathsalam felt that admission to medical colleges should be a State subject, and therefore, Tamil Nadu should conduct the entrance test for medical colleges on its own. After all, Tamil Nadu government had invested money in establishing medical colleges, and it was not appropriate to ask those colleges to fill 20 per cent of medical seats with candidates who cleared the NEET.
Tamil Nadu had produced excellent doctors and at no point of time their eligibility was faulted or questioned. Much before the advent of NEET several doctors from Tamil Nadu had gone to America and other developed countries and proved their mettle.
When his views were sought whether the healthcare sectors had attained self-sufficiency, Dr Bakthavathsalam said that he had 52 years of professional experience, and 42 years of running KG Hospital, a super multi-speciality trust-run hospital. In his opinion it required only Rs 20 crore to Rs 50 crore to build a medical college, and not Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore as projected, and only Rs 20 crore to start a hospital.
But the unwanted restrictions imposed by the sanctioning authority like the Medical Council of India had made the starting of a medical college and a hospital a costly proposition. Dr Bakthavathsalam concluded by stating that healthcare was holy and doctors were holier. Through KG Hospital he was rendering healthcare services in full according with his conscience.