Dearth of Doctors

Recently I was at the Chemist when I overheard a really interesting conversation. The cell phone rings, the chemist picks it up, and after the initial introduction I hear sentences such as – “So you have vomit sensation, what else?”, “Do you have stomach ache?”, “Any other symptoms?”, “Okay I’ll suggest <some medicine names>, send someone to collect it” – each of the sentence spoken by the chemist. The person has some minor problems, instead of going to the doctor; he calls up the neighbourhood chemist, asks him for the medicines and buys it from him. Where did the doctor disappear?

When I was in college, along with Parivesh (his parents are doctors), I (my father is a doctor) used to have a box full of medicines. Those medicines have helped us on numerous occasions; the doctor would come only for an hour sporadically – so we were sought after regularly. We had become the pseudo-doctors in the absence of real doctors in the campus.

Have the GPs (General Practitioners) lost their value in a big city ala Hyderabad? In Raipur (not yet a big city), a GP is not hard to find; but in Hyderabad a GP is rare. I keep on seeing boards of specialists everywhere I see, but no General Practitioner, no doctor where you can just go and say I have fever or stomach ache or cold & cough. Either you have to be sick enough to see some specialist, or you are not sick – that seems to be the mantra these days.

No wonder the chemist is taking the place of General Practitioners…

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13 Responses to “Dearth of Doctors”


  1. 1 nipun March 9, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    hey ..true enough, but u forgot the internet dude. Except for any specialist do yu really need a GP ?? we KNOW cold virus will take its cycle etc. and people are conversant with most of the minor ailments/remedies today. I think this is for the better.Better than those health Fads atleast 🙂
    But pill popping can turn into a serious problem i guess.

  2. 2 mythalez March 10, 2007 at 6:01 am

    yeah … ppl dont need to go to doctors anymore for common ailments ..

  3. 3 Karan March 10, 2007 at 9:20 am

    I totally agree with ya.. in order 2 save a couple hundred bucks, ppl don’t visit the doc for minor ailments. Besides, its an era of specialization, little wonder that the gp ain’t really existent!

  4. 4 blah March 10, 2007 at 11:43 am

    along with alopathic medicines I also used to have some home made concoction. for me GP’s were grand parents.

  5. 5 Playboi March 10, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    its the competition 🙂 just like u dont find any BSc or BA people anymore.
    its like, why would you go to a small shop-cum-clinic of a GP when you can go to a nice hospital and be 100% sure of a cure

  6. 6 Poorna Shashank March 10, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    hmm… thats a very common occurrence as i know it. One thing is, people see no point in spending an additional 100 bucks when they can get the same drugs over the counter and the chemist more or less knows the pills for the basic ailments.

  7. 7 Kunal March 12, 2007 at 11:42 am

    nipun, the internet may be a huge problem if you try to diagnose a problem… there may be similar symptoms for two diseases, with few minor distinguishing features… and I think even you would agree, internet is more noise than information …

    rama, that seems to be the truth

    karan, yeah as pointed out in comments – basically it is now a competition…

    blah, good to see a fellow pseudo-doctor 🙂

    playboi, true, it is the competition… but I disagree when you say you cannot be sure of being 100% cured if you go to a small clinic. trust the doctor, whether he is in a big hospital or a small clinic.. just weed out the quacks (like the one we had in IIIT) … if you know the doctor, going to the clinic is any day better than going to a hospital … but if you are new to the city, even I would suggest a hospital ..

    kopos, it may be a common occurrence, but it may be dangerous too … shelling out an extra 100 bucks for being safe is not a hard deal … but then it is the perspective of the individual …

  8. 8 Rakesh March 12, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Oye tum bimar kab huye?

  9. 9 Kunal March 12, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    rakesh, main beemar nahi tha … medical reimbursements ke liye bill lene gaya tha 🙂

  10. 10 alapana March 12, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Not that we don’t find GP’s in Hyderabad,we do but they are now restricted to the interiors of old city or residential areas in the outskirts and rest of the Hyderabad is buzzing with so many hospitals and specialists all the time that people have forgotten a general practitioner i guess.and its not very good to depend on pharmacists even for common ailments:) and being a hardcore Hyderabadi i never miss reading your hyderabad posts:)

  11. 11 Kunal March 12, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    Alapana, it’s true – depending on chemists may turn out to be dangerous….
    and thanks for the high praise 🙂

    and this is the 1000th comment on this blog… whew!

  12. 12 Ashish Reddy August 4, 2007 at 12:03 am

    I like your blog. Good information on Hyderabad. I agree that doctors these days have become hard to find, and good doctors are a rarity. Since I have sensitive health issues, I have always needed to go to pharmacists who have my medicines in stock. The problem with these new chains like MedPlus and Apollo is that the medicine stock is not suffice and also the service is poor. Whenever you call for home delivery they cannot do the same day and also when they deliver the order is never delivered correctly, some medicine or other is missing. I had success with this pharmacy called MedEx that does home delivery, in fact they don’t have a retail store-front. You call MedEx at 040-40 11 50-11 and they have a qualified pharmacist who takes the order and the “complete” delivery is sent out promptly to your home. Since I know my medicines that I need, I just order directly from MedEx – no docs needed any more.

  13. 13 Sonia Tahi August 14, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Wow Ashish, you are the third person who has told me about MedEx. Looks like the buzz on MedEx is catching up with Hyderabad. I know some folks from ISB ordered medicines from there. Did some ISB alum start the company. Good funda and great business concept.


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I write! Topic does not matter, can be my life, or my travels, or any match I saw, or the Hyderabadi life, or reminiscing about Raipur, or penning Short Stories & 55s.

I can be contacted at kunalblogs[at]gmail[dot]com.

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