We all have witnessed various instances of medical negligence – careless medical staff and practitioners, denial or delays in admission of patients and substandard or wrong medical treatment -- at some point in our life. However, what is alarming is the absolute lack of accountability of healthcare providers and physicians in public and private healthcare centres.
The fact that the malpractice in the name of physiotherapy is causing a lot of sufferings to the patients across the country is not known to many of us. As patients, who take physiotherapy treatments, are not dying of the malpractice, this issue remains in darkness.
You went to a physiotherapist to feel better. But you were injured and now feel worse. Your injury may even results in a permanent disability. It is possible when you fall into the wrong hands. Nowadays, we are receiving lots of patients who have suffered a lot due to wrong treatments.
Types of physiotherapy malpractices
Physiotherapy treats people affected by injury, illness or disability through various manual therapy techniques, exercise, rehabilitation programmes, Kinesio Taping, ergonomic correction, education, advice, some electrotherapy, ultra sound therapy, some electrical stimulations, traction and decompression, etc. A qualified physiotherapy professional is the best person to decide which treatment option is required for which patient. Physiotherapists assess a patient comprehensively and determine the treatment plan accordingly.
As physiotherapy treatment is highly effective and demanding, lots of people are using this as a business tool to earn money. Patients' wel-being is not considered as a priority. Some of the common malpractices are mentioned below:
a. There are a lot of healthcare centres in Dhaka and across the country, where no physiotherapy professional is working. Patients are receiving some electrical equipment in the name of physiotherapy from the centres. Most of the patients are suffering due to the misuses of the equipment. They do not know the actual indications and contraindications of those equipment, which is causing damages to the patients in different ways.
b. Some healthcare professionals set up some electrical equipment in their healthcare centres and prescribe those in the name of physiotherapy. They assign their personal assistants to treat the patients with the equipment. After one month or two, the patients' condition worsens a lot.
c. When patients' condition does not improve, some healthcare providers perform surgeries on the patients. The healthcare providers intentionally avoid actual physiotherapy treatment just for commercial benefits.
Every day we receive many patients at our physiotherapy department, who are coming from different areas of the country. After doing assessments, we find that few months back their condition was better. Due to the wrong treatment, their sufferings intensify and in some cases, it leads to permanent disability.
An awareness is very important to avoid the wrong treatment in the name of physiotherapy. One should not use electrical instrument without proper guideline of a qualified physiotherapy professional. Physiotherapy is the most advanced and effective area of modern medical science. Proper practice of physiotherapy can improve your quality of life by removing all the sufferings from your body. Take the proper treatment from qualified physiotherapy professionals, not from those so called healthcare providers who consider you as a source of money.
Dr Bijoy Das is in charge, Physiotherapy department BRB Hospitals Ltd.