TORONTO: Medical professionals consider themselves genius and no doubt most of them are. Also, there are some who make you crazy. Unfortunately, their numbers are increasing fast due to various reasons. Collection of examples would turn into volumes of books. The suffering in many shapes is rising to an alarming level and endangering human lives but such doctors, mostly family physicians, damn care. They consider themselves fully secured because they are well protected by the powerful medical bodies. Even their biggest and gravest mistakes are technically, tactically and beautifully covered up. The ‘UNITY’ is visible, with ethics, rules and regulations trampled.

      My friend’s son, Affan Ali Khan, is in Grade-4 in Thorncliffe Park Public School. On January 03, 2005 (the first day of the school after vacation), the nine-year-old boy injured his right hand while playing during lunch break. The school officials tried to contact the parents but succeeded only after some hours. At 2 P.M., Nasir Fahim Khan, father of the boy, rushed to the school and saw the boy in great pain. He took him to the clinic in the nearby mall. It is not understood as to why the boy was not sent immediately to the nearest hospital by the school officials, keeping in view the nature of injury.

      As usual, after long wait the family doctor finally saw the boy, who was groaning with the increasing pain. X-ray was advised. The X-ray facility is in the mall as well but the doctor plainly told Nasir that he was not satisfied with X-rays taken here and that he should go somewhere else and get the X-ray done.

      When Nasir asked the doctor what after that, he said bring the X-ray here and if it shows fracture then the boy will have to be taken to the emergency department of the nearest hospital. Nasir was baffled and started cursing himself for wasting so much time and giving so much pain to the boy. The doctor’s shocking attitude surprised him. 

      Without wasting any further time and saying even thank you to the doctor, he took the boy to the Toronto East General Hospital. The X-ray showed the right hand was broken. For about a month, the boy could not go to the school. Now he is fully fit.

      My sister-in-law, Rana Tariq, is a chronic arthritis patient. Last month, she was affected by severe cold. She kept visiting the family physician but there was no improvement. The medicines were not working. She had to argue with the doctor to do more tests and X-rays to diagnose the disease. The X-ray and tests revealed that she had pneumonia. She took antibiotics and continued the arthritis medicines as well.

      She got well but after some days again fell sick. The pneumonia worsened.

Dr Mewa, the specialist treating her arthritis, said had he known her condition he would have stopped the arthritis medicines till the pneumonia treatment was continuing. Now he has stopped her medicines so that pneumonia treatment could work.

      She is in great pain and needs immediate attention but could not get appointment with the specialist. The staff shows no mercy or concern and just follow the rules like ROBOT, irrespective of suffering and condition of the patients. Now she will have to wait for few days and bear all the pain and torture before she could get attention of the doctor. Such attitude and approach of some doctors and staff in Thorncliffe Park Drive area’s Overlea Mall is common. Their behaviour indeed is shocking.

 I am one of the lucky ones who survived to write this story otherwise I would have been dead long ago. This is happening for a long time. In 1999, one doctor, who is still working here, after thoroughly checking me including hammering of joints, declared me a chronic arthritis patient. When I tried to say something he silenced me by saying: “I am a doctor and know better what I am doing.” I was not satisfied at all and knew that his diagnosis was wrong. My experience as editor of some leading medical journals in Pakistan helped me to understand the situation.

      After some days I again went to the clinic and took appointment with another doctor. Instead of listening to me and diagnosing the problem, he too tried to defend his colleague, which angered me more. Without giving him any chance to send me back, I pulled my pants down in anger and asked the doctor to tell me why there is severe and intolerable pain in my left leg. When he saw the leg, he said: “It is Herpes”. I then said: “For God’s sake please don’t treat me as a guinea pig. Stop experimenting on me as an arthritis patient. I knew it was Herpes but I wanted to tell you and hear from you all.”

He treated my Herpes and I got well soon.

      Just imagine what would have happened if I had started the chronic arthritis treatment. Is it not a serious crime to play with human lives? Such professionals are worse than criminals, because they don’t listen and do whatever they like.

      One of the doctors even said that I was not a heart patient and behaved very rudely whereas after only some days it was found that I needed quadruple bypass. Despite knowing my condition and his wrong judgment, he never regretted. The expression on his face showed that my skin colour did not suit his eyes.

      Whether specialists or family physicians, they must listen to the patients as well. Most of them behave badly with patients. They must learn to respect the patients.

      The conclusion is to never always trust the doctors and allow them to play with your lives. One must always cooperate with the doctors for better treatment but not with humiliation and insults. The South Asians particularly are usually treated badly and considered uncivilized, illiterate and troublemakers. This is what I keep observing in our area. The attitude and approach must change. South Asians too are respectable people and not slaves or guinea pigs. The government must take serious notice of such happenings and action against the responsible officials.