By: Zara Maqbool Last week I called a pediatrician who was kind enough to respond on text, to take advice for my four years old who had a very bad cough. The doctor prescribed steroids for three days without asking any details about the cough or any associated symptoms. Partly it is my fault to...
By: Zara Maqbool
Last week I called a pediatrician who was kind enough to respond on text, to take advice for my four years old who had a very bad cough. The doctor prescribed steroids for three days without asking any details about the cough or any associated symptoms. Partly it is my fault to take advice over the phone but what really bothered me was how easily the doctor prescribed steroids to a four years old just over a text message.
Had I not been an educated mother and a paranoid one too who questions everything a few times when it comes to my children, I would have given her steroids for a cough that went away with just a cough suppressant. I am not saying that the doctors mean any ill intention but this carelessness can be very dangerous. If I who is luckily aware enough to question, what about all those mothers who blindly follow the doctors without second guessing their diagnosis or their treatment plan.
Most of us would remember Imanae Malik who died due to over medication and negligence of the doctors in Lahore. She was injected with strong drugs because of pain that she was having due to a small burn. There are many more cases like these as malpractice continues in public and private sectors. What is worrisome is that what are the checks and balance of doctors who practice in the private sector and charge heavy fees?
Are we just supposed to avenge the death of our precious children simply by making face book pages?
Here the responsibility lies with not the pediatrician only but at the pharmacies and the parents level too. Parents should ideally not take consultation over the phone and here I want to check myself also who finds it very convenient to consult over the phone.
There are three kinds of medicines in the medical world. There is over the counter, which includes mild cough, fever and pain relievers such as Panadol or Ibuprofen. Then there are prescription medicines, which include antibiotics and steroids to name a few, and lastly controlled substance, which is stronger drugs like opioid medications, such as morphine.
In Pakistan, unfortunately there is no control on prescription medicines and only a small degree of check when it comes to controlled substance like valium or morphine to name a few. Here there is no consumer control and there is accessibility to all kinds of drugs available to people. Government has made some laws but there is no implementation of those laws.
Another important factor is that in case we consult the doctors over the phone, abroad the doctors are told to respond in a certain way unlike here. In one scenario the doctor will advise you to immediately go to the emergency. Second would be to advice a temporary medicine and again asked to go to the emergency. Third would be to advice a medicine and asked to see a consultant in the clinic the next day.
But a doctor can only give over the counter medicines over the phone and is not supposed to give prescription medicine over the phone. A local based doctor states, “ We should not have the power to prescribe medicines without a check up and patients should not have the power to buy them randomly.”
Where the doctors and pharmacies need to assume a lot of responsibility, parents need to educate themselves also. Rightfully pointed out a doctor asked I asked if I knew what the medical degrees hanging in his office meant and neither did I know nor did I ask. We also need to check the qualifications of the doctors and make a right choice. It’s high time we shake the attitude of blaming the others and introspect and review our role in the scheme of things and raise our voice against the wrong doings in our society.