Question of Quacks
Editorial

Question of Quacks

August 13, 2019

Despite the advances in methods and devices used in diagnosing and medically treating various illnesses along with expertise of the Physician with name and fame in society in general and among the regularly consulting patients in particular, sometimes one is advised to seek a second opinion from another practitioner of medical profession, also bestowed recognition in society. In that backdrop, one is prompted to cite the adage “No two watches agree” and its ironically sounding extension “If they agree, they are not watches.” Without meaning to treat the medical profession and its practitioners lightly, the analogy of the adage when applied to the healers would lead to the ridiculous expression that if two doctors agree (on the nature of illness and certainly on the line of medication), they may not be doctors (qualified or otherwise). The practitioners of medicine not qualified by passing the prescribed examinations and going through probation have come to be identified as quacks.

Relying on the advice of one Physician, similar to knowing the time by referring to one watch, is same as relying on information from only a single source. Further, just as a person with one watch can’t really be sure he knows the right time and has no way to identify error or uncertainty, the patient who doesn’t seek a second opinion is also unsure about the appropriateness of the treatment by his Physician. However, the note of caution is about the pitfall of having conflicting prescriptions. If one of the sources of prescription comes from a quack, the patient has no option but to say his prayers!

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The issue of quacks practicing medicine is not confined to the allopathic system of medical practice alone. They are known to be merrily practicing the other systems namely ayurveda, homoeopathy, siddha, unani, yoga and not to forget naturopathy, a system without clearly spelt regimen. The unchecked presence of quacks, particularly those prescribing allopathy drugs with disdain across the State, including Mysuru, was highlighted by the print media a few years ago leaving the matter unaddressed by the administration. The four-column heading in a widely circulated broadsheet reading, “Are most Indian allopathy ‘docs’ quacks? Government says no, then yes,” which deserved space on the front page of the daily but was in one of the inside pages, may or may not alert the citizens whether they seek second opinion or not.

A report attributed to the global agency keeping a close tab on healthcare across the world has disclosed that 57 per cent of practitioners of medicine, the quacks, have no medical qualification. The quacks are going scot-free with nobody questioning their quack… quack… virtually ducks in human form.

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