An Appraisal Of Decadence In Private Medical Practice
I recently paid a brief visit to Ikorodu, the former location of my practice. Not so sure what compelled the visit....perhaps some nostalgia for a town that also doubles as my home town. But trust my ingrained medical instincts to lead me....perhaps subconsciously.....to do an involuntary appraisal of the state of private medical practice there....which is a reflection of the national picture.
I noticed first-hand, that all the 5 private health centres around Ikorodu round-about, the major commercial centre of the town are owned by paramedics....obviously quacking as doctors. Many doctors' practices have either been closed down by government regulators.....or by the doctor-owners because of financial insolvency. I in fact caught two of these impostors redhanded....one doing a ward round and the other recently did a CS and a "Herniorrhaphy".
The CS patient now a VVF(vesico-vaginal fistula) due to the reported removal of the urethral catheter after merely 3 days postop.....and I didn't even meet her on catheter 10 days post op. The other patient "brandishing" a surgical inguinal scar looks more like a testicullar CA (cancer of the testis)....considering the age, the main initial symptom being bone pains in ipsilateral hip, buttock, lower back and posterior thigh region, the absence of urinary retention or haematuria and an enlarged testis.
To expect a testicular biopsy would be expecting too much from these centres....but nobody even thought of straight X-rays of the pelvis, lower back or hip. Why do our people have this sordidly weird affinity and avidity for quacks? Why does our government over-regulate and ultimately eliminate doctors' surgeries and have this apparent preference for quacks? Why do our people reject doctors? Is the ultimate aim of regulation not safety? Is regulation meant for its sakes only?
What is the essence of regulatory process that achieves results contrary to expectation? Most of these hospitals are registered by Govt. as nursing or convalescent homes but they operate as hospitals and their paramedic owners mostly males, present themselves to the public as doctors! I enter the aforesaid practices freely on a regular basis. The scenario depicted above is by no means limited to Ikorodu. It is a reflection of a general pattern that replicates across board!
NOTE AND APOLOGY For Copious Use Of Medical Language In This Article. Doing Otherwise Would Render It Unduly Cumbersome
Dr Tosin Akindele Is A Lagos-Based Medical Practitioner And Social Critic