Published on: February 4, 2011

Atul Gawande writes in the New Yorker about Camden, New Jersey:

1% of patients account for 30% of the city’s medical costs

The New Yorker: The Hot Spotters

Most of these costs are unnecessary, like the woman with a headache who kept going back to the emergency room because she could not bear the pain, and would get a new MRI scan every time.

That is the United States, would it matter at all here in India?

The same 1% of patients would hardly matter at all to the Indian Government, because the Government does not pay for their treatment. All their treatment costs are out-of-pocket.

So, they and their families would try hard to raise the money, would fall into a debt trap, family relationships may break down, their homes would be taken over by loan sharks, their children would starve and drop out of school, and then we shall be angry about the rising crime rate!

A few of us would weep over an occasional Suma and then… isn’t Suma nearly forgotten already?

Please read what Gawande has to say in  “The Hot Spotters” at The New Yorker website.

Jeffrey Brenner, MD

It will do us good to read about heroes like Jeffrey Brenner and about several ordinarily-insignificant, but very real people like Vibha and Jayshree.



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