To the 42,379 people who have (to date) read my recent blog post about my experiences at Apollo Hospital, Dhaka for clarity I would like you all to know that the hospital has responded with their own blog entry. Since they did not put link to my blog in their response, I am not going to put their response link to my blog either, and more over I do not intend my personal blog to be a corporate marketing tool.
I find it interesting that the vast majority of comments I have received gives me the impression that there are many victims and dissatisfied patients at Apollo. Of course there are also happy customers as well – as I was when I first went to visit them which I have already mentioned once here in a previous post. I have no reason to be vindictive towards that hospital. However, the stories I have read here indicate that victims of medical negligence in Bangladesh do not get any redress and the hospitals internal investigations about their own negligence or unethical practices are to be considered absolute and final as to the truth. In the absence of an independent regulator or legislative framework to bring action against negligent medical practitioners and institutes the situation will remain one side’s word against the other. The whole situation is such that “us” on the patient side is always considered wrong and the hospital side is always right. They can do no wrong. They are so right that they won’t even let us see a copy our own medical records whilst being treated or provide us with a copy of our lengthy consent papers. They will never admit their guilt and therefore change and improve their practices. I was not the only person who has had a bad experience at Apollo Hospital. What about the numerous other cases I have heard about on this blog and on the web? What about the disgruntled Mayor of Rangpur? And countless others? We must all be wrong then. The only right side is the hospital. Since that is the case the patient side has no redress but to speak out and raise awareness amongst the patients before they are victimised.
I initially planned to take this matter up to the media but having read other stories my case appears insignificant. Apparently the legal regime here is such that doctors are only investigated by their peers and in many instances they are simply immune to prosecution and in luxury hospitals star doctors are beyond the reach of any action by the State. Conveniently this particular hospital even has a stakeholder who is a member of Parliament and therefore it is no surprise that they are beyond the reach of anyone. So perhaps victims should form citizen’s action groups on the web and in the social media to register their grievances for others to read and make up their mind because it is simply an individual against a corporate behemoth.
In the country that I come from strong rule of law mean that citizens have redress in the Court and there are criminal and civil sanctions over negligent behaviour. In a developing Country like Bangladesh where the State is restricted from doing any form of regulation for fear of staving off foreign and domestic investment and other such concerns citizens have to be wary before they take a decision about their medical care.
Again I must reiterate by no means the experience I have had is any worse than the horror stories I have read. My experience only reflects an unethical practice of profiteering. Others have suffered far worse. I am not the worst victim of Apollo but the point is that there are people who have made serious allegations which involve cases of serious bodily harm and in some cases death. These people have had no redress against the hospital. These are a handful of other stories I have read:
http://newagebd.com/detail.php?date=2012-03-23&nid=4908#.Ut1AK9JSmt8 (The case of Nahid Mehjabeen Hossain )
http://www1.bssnews.net/newsDetails.php?cat=7&id=261906&date=2012-07-03 (Government Minister promising action against Apollo’s negligence)
The above news stories are just from English Newspapers published in Bangladesh. There are plenty in Bangla news papers I hear. My bangla is not that good yet. There are many more horror stories that I have heard from people who have emailed me personally but of course I cannot speak for them. Readers have their own mind and it is for them to decide what is best for them. I do not speak for or against anyone – I only wrote what happened to me and my daughter. I am not here to change the World but if in any way if what I have written is helpful for others then I will consider that I have made a positive difference.