虎吼猿鸣,泉清河静

Taiji Culture, Philosophy and Technology
 
 
14.05.2017

Something is morally wrong when hospitals are listed

Author: Sim Pern Yiau

The issue of the milk prices, driven up in part by tie-ups with private hospitals, is just the latest in the slow moral degradation of the mainstream medical industry.

 

Over-pricing of medicines, services and medical procedures. Over-diagnosis leading to over-prescription and over-treatment. These are now norms.

 

The medical industry’s support for inflated claims by food companies is nothing new. By now everyone should know that drinking cow’s milk has very little benefit for your bones and in fact causes digestive problems for a great many people. For decades we were sold this dubious claim wholesale. GPs and specialists alike both tout drinking milk for bone-loss. My elderly mother-in-law drank milk and took calcium tablets from the hospital for 3 years, with no halt on her bone density loss. All it gave her was constipation and related discomforts. Her bone loss only started to slow down when we switched to TCM.

 

I myself remember the mass encouragement to buy and drink milk in my primary school days. Only later did I know about lactose-intolerance and that’s probably what made me bloated and had loose stools all the time.

 

It’s also untrue that you don’t get enough calcium if you don’t drink milk. There are many other foods that give you calcium. It’s just marketing touted as science.

 

That’s why I take it with a pinch of salt when people say this and that medical claim is backed by ‘science’. Most of the time it just means its backed by sponsors, tie-ups and specific interest groups pumping money into agenda-based ‘research’ to sell their wares.

 

At best, it just means that’s what their narrow study has shown so far. So chocolate is bad but then later, sometimes good. So cholesterol was bad, later had bad type and good type and now we are so unsure so that the US FDA has removed its 4-decade long advisory against cholesterol. So what happened for decades? It was another tie-up between medical ‘science’ and the food industry to sell you expensive cholesterol-free food.

 

As my wife says, when a hospital or medical chain becomes a listed company, something is already morally wrong. You think first of shareholders and the profit-margin rather than patients and the healing service.
I remember reading a few months ago in the Straits Times a report on the profits of Raffles Hospital. The tone of the article, the tone of the hospital came across as cold and factual and figures-obsessed. Its weird to me, reading a hospital article that mentioned nothing of care, compassion or even medical science, but just how much they earned from which parts of their business in what amount of time? Do they think of their patients in the same way too, as facts and figures? Is that why my wife’s doctors (not from Raffles) stared mostly at the test results and barely looked at her person during her cancer treatment years?

 

I sometimes go to the newly opened Raffles Medical Centre at Holland Ave for a teh-o. They also rent spaces to DBS, atas eateries and Virgin lifestyle gym.

 

Have they, like our MRT, forgotten their core services and are now just geared towards expanding their revenue sources and share prices?

 

Unlike the MRT though, medical services should be a calling for those who work in it. People’s lives and well-being are at stake. But if you are making astronomical sums from people who are sick, deep down, do you want them well or sick? Or perhaps, just well enough to keep coming back for your services?

 

I don’t believe yet that doctor’s consciously wish people ill. But I do observe and believe that subconsciously, something twisted has happened in them collectively. Not just doctors, but the entire medical industry.

 

 


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