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09.07.08 12:12

Italy: Unbelievable procedures

The sparse information to the scandal about the private clinic Santa Rita in Italy - a chapter from "Brave New World"?
Comment from NETWORK Speaker Dirk Brandl

Patients who were operated on out of greed, deaths and malpractice, women who have had theirs breasts removed without indication. These horror reports have not only shocked Italy but have now reached the whole world. 13 doctors and the owner of the clinic have been imprisoned, other doctors have house arrest. The dimension opens general and concrete questions that need to been analysed. When it is true what the media state that not only the private clinic but 10 other clinics are under suspicion so that an individual criminal case simply does not come in question. To differ it of course is whether the state insurer was swindled or the swindle was caused through damage to the patient. I don't want to absolute insurance fraud but in my eyes this is criminal assault in undreamt dimensions.

To add to this reports from last months about the conditions in Italian clinics about malpractice, insanitary circumstances and sloppiness. Is this just an Italian phenomenon? If so why is the situation different or symptomatic as to what could happen anywhere? I know the situation well, on the one side by talks with doctors working in Italy and the other is while residing in Italy. I believe that the specific and general causes can be found.

Observe the situation in detail: The doctor's qualification in Italy cannot be compared with any other country. I don't want to exaggerate this but I am willing to be taught otherwise.
1. To say it strongly worded: The system allows a doctor to get a university degree with approbation without seeing a single patient.
2. The normal panel patient has always a contact point in her/his place, region, district. If she/he is gravely ill she/he needs to be examined here first before she/he can be seen by a specialist or hospital for a detailed examination. In these local practices are doctors who earn a fixed rate and come from the above mentioned training.
3. The regional hospitals can but don't have to present these conditions that have been mentioned in the media.
4. The costs including for universities establishments have been cutback and studies are harder to carry out.

These are Italian intrinsic causes. Now we come to the general situation, which applies to nearly all nations.
1. The medicine moves more and more under economical constraints. The primary approach that the medicine is freed from economic constraints is changing since years: doctors and hospitals have to work efficiently. When the pressure from the financial thumbscrews increases, it's not surprising when those that suffer result to fraud. This bears on honest doctors, patients, funds and the community.
2. The capitalistic market rules that apply to the medicine as well means that doctors no longer cooperate with each other but are in competition to each other. This also applies to the health system workers such as nurses, caregiver etc.
3. The primary incentive entrance to the medicine study is led to absurdity, what is meant here is to help other people, to be there in times of need which is the classical human motive.
4. The advancements in medicine and pharmacy are also under economical constraints. It will be researched only where money can be made. This is mitigated from sponsoring private money givers and donations. The sponsorship in countries like the USA is very well developed but in third world countries especially it does not exist. This leads to an even bigger division in medicine for the rich and poor, in nations and in national societies.

Even though corruption and fraud can be in every system, the above described coherences have a system character. The social is pushed in the background; the pure capitalistic market rules win the upper hand. At the same time a regulations fury returns. With these global provocations on the health system is our economical organisation on the agenda. If at this point no chances are made then the system will outlive us all.


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