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Just what the doctor ordered!

I want to ask the medical community as to what it plans do with X-rays.

I feel compelled to pose this enigmatic question based on my recent experiences with the medical practitioners.

Here’s how they panned out:

Three Months ago

Me: Doctor, I’ve a tooth ache…

Doc: (After seemingly examining the area): Get an X-ray done on this portion.

Me: Doctor, here’s the X-ray finding

Doctor: (Distractedly looking at it) Hmm…we need more details. Get a scan done on the portion.

Two Months back

Me: Doctor, I just banged my little toe on the wall. There is a lot of pain in the webbing between the two toes.

Doc: (Without even looking at my feet): Take an X-ray

Me: My X-ray report

Doctor: (Cursorily glancing at it) Looks like a hairline. Can’t say for sure. We need a scan to confirm it.

Last Month

Me: There’s some throbbing pain in the abdomen area, doctor

Doc: Need to have an X-ray before we can proceed further.

Me: The report, doc

Doc: (Holding the report up) Just as I thought, it’s inconclusive. But trouble is brewing. We should go for a scan of the area.

Me: Oops! Sorry doc, I got it all mixed up. That was not my X-ray report. That was an old Insat picture of the monsoon clouds over Telengana.

Okay, I made the last one up. But the fact of the matter is even if I had actually given a satellite image in place of the X-ray report, it would not have mattered.

X-rays and doctors, I suspect, have become much like the DMK and the Congress in the UPA-2. It has come to a situation where one finds the other not terribly useful now. Yet, they seem to stick around because back then both had made plenty of money together.

These days, I have decided to follow these early diagnostic procedures without even going to the doctor:

1)      Get an X-ray done

2)      Put the report in a tightly-sealed cover

3)      Do not open it

4)      Look for a trash can

5)     Drop the X-ray report in the bin

6)     Go for a full-fledged scan.

I think this method is more practical and less time-consuming for all concerned, till the time they take the X-ray machines out and shoot them down.

Also, these days, I don’t see doctors use the stethoscope as much as they used to before. Doctors seem to have improved their skills so much that they now take just one look at the patient, or whoever turns up at the door, and immediately diagnose that he or she is in very urgent need of an MRI or a biopsy.  They tell this even to the postman who comes to deliver the letters.

At this rate, stethoscopes will be found only in the Barbie Doctor Set — that is, till Mattel Inc comes up with pink-colour scan and ECG machine models to go with Dr Barbie.

Another piece of valuable medical information that I would like to pass on to you is: If there are two possible methods for detection and diagnosis of a possible illness or ailment, straightaway choose the expensive option. For, it will actually cost you less.

Allow me to explain: If you settle for the cheaper method, it will throw up only a highly inconclusive finding. This is due to an important modern medical rule that doctors seem to follow since the days of Hippocrates:  The patient is a sucker.

And so, you will have no other go but to undergo the costlier test, which if you were smart enough to take in the first place itself, would at least have saved you from spending on the seemingly cheaper procedure.

But luckily these days there is medical insurance that covers all the ailments and diseases in the world, except the one that you come down with.  At any rate, the amount that any health insurance provides you would not be sufficient even to cover the cotton and gauzes costs.

As far as I know, medical insurance buys you the idea that you have bought peace of mind. Apparently, this is psychologically very important.

Before I wind up for the week, let me leave you with the final piece of crucial advice that you will require when you wheel in a patient for emergency. As the person accompanying the one who may not be in a position to volunteer any information, it will be your duty to provide all the vital details that the doctor may require before he can decide on the course of treatment.  And in times of emergency, the first question that a doctor will throw up is —- take a pen and note this down —:  Will you be paying through cash or card?


  • I have found x-rays to be enormously useful. Have used a lot of them for my class 7-10 biology class…used to keep them behind a sheet in the record notebook where I’m supposed to draw those complex botany/zoology diagrams.

  • KBalakumar


    It never occurred to me. As my biology drawings were done for me by my brother. 🙂

  • Interesting post. When we switch doctors, the new one sure cancels all the previous medications and prescribes different, more costlier ones. And the atrocities that are happening in corporate hospitals are beyond any morality. We need a Lokpal type of person to deal with these medico-legal issues. 

  • Interesting post. When we switch doctors, the new one sure cancels all the previous medications and prescribes different but costlier ones. And the atrocities that are happening in corporate hospitals are not only illegal but also immoral. We need a Lokpal type of person to deal with these medico-legal issues.

  • Sudha Narasimhachar

    Very well written!  Such a great truth expressed so humourously!  One of our 90-year-old friend, who served as a doctor in the army very well said, ‘these days medical students are never taught diagnosis by feeling the pulse and listening to the symptoms expressed by the patient with patience!  They diagnose based on the reports of umpteen tests only and they are specialised only in one field.  So, a doctor meant to treat the right main toe will treat only that, whatever may the effect of his treatment on the other toes or the body as a whole!  Imagine the damage the various kinds of medicines we consume, prescribed by so many different doctors may be doing to our body as a whole!  One medicine leads to another problem and the chain continues!  The beneficiaries are the doctors, labs, drug companies and above all the plastic industry which makes innovative containers to store different kinds of pills that we need to take on a daily basis!  

    And the damage that the increasing number of X-Rays and all kinds of rays that we are exposed so regularly cause to our bodies?  Nobody knows!

    Sudha Narasimhachar

  • Anonymous

    Corporatization of medicine is indeed a problem in a country like ours.

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