How Pvt Doctors can help in the Covid Fight

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
14 July 2020 17:08 IST

Much as we are aware, and frankly we are now past caring, the Private Doctors in this country are routinely condemned as blood thirsty vampires.

Only profit, no service, no humanity, scamsters, con-men without a conscience.

Sometimes, if a middle aged, pontificating individuals are asked to kiss Vijay Mallya or a doctor, they would kiss Mallya.

Maybe, it was the effect of the extra Kingfishers the previous night, but who knows??

Be that as it may, now that the Corona pandemic has struck,  we are suddenly seen as angels or warriors or the suicide squad who should be prepared to die for man, woman and child.

And trust me; despite the horror picture they paint of us, we are actually quite human: we have a heart, we certainly have a conscience, and we are prepared to serve.

When the State needs us!!

But guess we won't serve like goats to the slaughter, as if Bakri-Id is round the corner.

Again, my familiar whining and squealing which pass off for suggestions:



There can be no argument that the Doctors at the GMC, COVID hospital and DHS have put their heart, mind, body and soul into fighting this pandemic.

The wise and wonderful and forever quibbling people of Goa owe them a lifetime debt of gratitude.

Hopefully, never again will an innocent resident in Casualty be thrashed again.

But then, if wishes were weapons, butchers would ride.

But the time has arrived because these doctors, doing the heavy lifting all this while are visibly exhausted to the point of collapse.

The private sector, must step up to the table.



This is not just a badly thought out idea, but alarmingly dangerous.

Imagine two cases of stable heart attack in an ICU and suddenly a Covid positive patient is admitted by this logic in that same ICU.

That's a 100% infectivity rate for those two innocent patients.

With single AC ducts running through most ICUs, the rate of transmission will be astronomical.

This is the precise reason the GMC does not reserve 20% beds in its ICU.

And a separate Covid hospital was established.



The bigger corporate hospitals (spoiler alert: I am associated with one) can be encouraged to create a separate, dedicated unit with all ICU facilities to treat patients.

Most large hospitals have the space to do so.

The nitty-gritty will have to be worked out.

But at no cost can the main hospital block or general ICU be allowed to be contaminated.

This is a catastrophic calamity if the 20% rule holds.



By all means do regulate the capping of fees, but do not come under the assumption that the Private Doctors are doing this to make a killing.

We have to first live before we can think of making a killing.

And the way this virus behaves, we know we are forever in the crosshairs of the sniper.

Of course private enterprise is about decent profits.

But in unison we would say damn your profits from Covid.

One or two pegs of Scotch, to calm our nerves daily, is more than enough for me.

Personally, I would settle for a Chenin Blanc.



This is another area in which the Private Doctors can contribute.

Many doctors I know are prepared to do 24/7 duties at a dedicated Covid hospital for 3 or 4 days a month, Gratis, no remuneration.

Not that we want to be sanctified or beatified but, if both private and government doctors rotate duties, there is a large pool of doctors who can be utilised optimally without wearing us out irredeemably.

This is a serious, no-brainer suggestion.

I'm sure many docs would willingly sign up.

Just lead!!

And in case you insist on paying, a glass of Chenin Blanc will do after the duty is over.



I know profits have dried up and the future looks bleak for industry.

But if there is one corporate activity you can indulge in aggressively is to make Remdesivir and Tocilizumab (both expensive molecules) for the wretched and needy of the earth.

Government resources can go this far.

But if the situation gets overwhelming, please help.

And oh yes, Tulip Diagnostics, a 5-star company that started from scratch and today is a global brand, you guys did have some terrible luck.

A mega cluster of Covid!

But stuff happens. And when it happens, it must be mandatorily reported.

Once your workers improve, do encourage them to donate their plasma to the Plasma Bank, a fantastic initiative.

And another little reminder, you can always give a generous bonus to your employees, working under trying circumstances, the moment your stock blooms again.

In sum then, this is the time for us to walk hand-in-hand (without touching one another... how freaking absurd!!) to a destination yet unchartered, yet unknown, yet flabbergasting, and a destination we do not know if we will ever reach!!

But walk we must. Together!!

Because it's only in walking together that we will remember this priceless, illuminating journey, even if the destination seems a mirage.

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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Previous Comments

Good job, just want to get the private doctors such as you yourself make some more dough why the pandemic is ravaging. Corporate must have social responsibility? but what about private doctors social responsibility and helping the needy in the time of crisis, why don't you yourself set an example to your doctor friends as a poster suggested below. You are quite good at providing lip service!!

- Anil Sardesai, Margao | 19 th July 2020 05:22


Isn't it simple math

Govt doctors+ Private doctors= successful health system

If only… they took Teachers seriously

- A. Furtado, Panaji | 18 th July 2020 01:57


The biggest thing you can do as a private doctor is to charge 50% lower for all your services to needy patients during these trying times.

Having dealt with with private doctors like you, I know for sure that, by changing your fee structure for a while, it wouldn't cause a dent in the wealth you guys have amassed over the years.

You have been pontificating on this forum for a while now, good time to set up an example!!!

- Ravina Kamat, Panjim | 14 th July 2020 21:13


Well said Oscar. Will the Health Authorities that matter bite the bait?

- J. Heredia, Alto Porvorim | 14 th July 2020 15:17


To which address may i send you a bottle of chenin blanc? Any particular brand?

- Rameela , Goa | 14 th July 2020 15:01


You are such an awesome doctor and even more a fantastic writer with such excellent ideas. I only pray that it will be rightly nailed on the brains of those to act as per your writing for out health

- A Silva, Margao | 14 th July 2020 14:52


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