Straight from the heart

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Krishan Kumar in conversation with Dr KK Aggarwal

Dr KK Aggarwal
National President IMA & HCFI

Krishan Kumar: The earlier medical days of Dr KK Aggarwal.

Dr KK: Krishan, now a days, there is a lot of mistrust between patients and doctors. Was it there in your era also?

Krishan: No, during my PG and early post PG days we had very cordial relationship with our patients. We used to get full respect from the patients and we used to take decisions on their behalf. There was no question of any violence. But why are you asking this question?

Dr KK: Today when we cross the ICU corridors, relatives do not get up. And when we enter the room of the patient, the relatives talk to us sitting on the sofa. We do not get the same respect you are talking about.

Krishan: But during our times most of the hospitals in private were trust non- profit hospitals and not profit making corporate hospitals. That perception that the hospital is not-for-profit was sufficient for the public to trust the hospitals and their billing. Also, in 1995, full one week treatment in ICU for a heart failure patient was Rs 12000/- only.

Dr KK: But why are the patients are violent today? What was in your era that this violence was missing?

Krishan: In our time, there were no mobile smart phones and internet services right at our hands. The patient was dependant on information provided by us. Today your patients are well-informed and want to be a part of treatment unlike our times when we used to take their decisions.

Dr KK: In your time, were the patients a potential litigant?

Krishan: No, we never heard of that. Only occasionally we used to hear about cases going to consumer courts. We used to have a very efficient and good patient and relatives redressal mechanisms.

Dr KK: Who used to refer patients?

Krishan: Mostly family physicians referred the patients. The association was on merit. Once the patient was discharged, they (family physicians) followed up with the patients.

Dr KK: Was there an allegation that doctors used to get referral fee for referring patients?

Krishan: No, the first CT scan in Delhi was put by someone named Dr Gupta, he started the scheme “refer four and get one poor patient free”. There was no concept of referral fee without a service.

Dr KK: Did you ever see dengue patients in that era?

Krishan: Yes, in late nineties, for up to ten years, we used to see a mysterious viral illness with low platelet count. Most will recover by themselves. Later, this was named by AIIMS as dengue. Because we used to treat them as simple virus fever, there was no panic. We never repeated platelets counts. No platelet transfusions were given.

Dr KK: Are you happy, that you did your MBBS in 1975-79?

Krishan: Yes. I learnt how to treat patients without investigations. We used to treat heart patients with lifestyle management with very satisfactory results. My fee at medical college was only Rs 100/- per month. I do not think I could have afforded studying at a private medical college at that time.

Krishan: Are you not happy that I never started smoking or taking alcohol in my college days?

Dr KK: Yes, I am very thankful to you. I know today how difficult it is, even for doctors, to stop addiction.

Krishan: I have heard you always wear a stethoscope?

Dr KK: You are right. I love my profession. A stethoscope, all the time, reminds me of my medical dharma.

Krishan: You are known to be deep into Vedic Philosophy then why are you planning the campaign Dilli Chalo on 6th June?

Dr KK: I am a Vedic medicine student and believe in both Rama and Krishna. Both taught us to fight for our Dharma in the interest of the community.

We need to fight for the rights of the patients, community and our profession. How can we allow second grade treatment to our patients by quacks and government sponsored quackery through AYUSH? How can I allow criminalization of medical practice on my doctor colleagues? How can I allow my doctors to go to jail for clerical errors? How can I allow my medical students to go for one more exam once they have cleared their MBBS? How can I allow my MCI to be replaced by a nominated body?

I believe in my conscience and I will do what is good for the profession. I do not think so you would have done differently if the same situation was in your era.

Krishan: I agree with you. I think IMA is doing a humane job for the community.

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About Krishan Kumar

Right from the age of four, Krishan wanted to become a heart specialist. Born in an average family of nine brothers and sisters he did his schooling at ASVJ higher secondary government school, Darya Ganj Delhi, pre-medical from Desh Bandhu College Delhi and in 1975 joined Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences Sevagram Wardha and did MBBS and MD Medicine from there getting a medal in every subject, topping all three MBBS and getting Nagpur University Gold Medal.

About Dr KK Aggarwal: At Moolchand Hospital, his boss was Dr K L Chopra (Krishan Lal Chopra), father of new age Guru Dr Deepak Chopra. To avoid confusion, Krishan Kumar now became Dr KK Aggarwal. At Moolchand, he joined as a consultant in Medicine and Cardiology, went to US for Fellowship in Non-Invasive Cardiology and Color Doppler Echocardiography, started Echo institute and Heart Care Foundation of India, received Padma Shri in 2010 and currently is the National President of IMA.