Dr. A. Velumani’s Personal Blog

Operation Jonk. I say “Thrilling”!

Dear Friends,

Recently a colleague of mine passed on to me a You tube link which was about a sting operation conducted by a TV channel, in the name of “Operation Jonk”. It had 4 to 6 “live” episodes each spanning to 20-30 minutes and more thrilling to watch, than many stunt movies! The prime focus was to throw light on namely four or five, big diagnostic centres (that do PET-CT in Delhi) as to how they operate. No shame! No reluctance! It is open! Not only that, they assure the doctor, “You do not worry. We have a perfect system in place. We have thousands of doctors in our list. All are safe”. The height is, the doctor is also advised, “you can reject our competitors’ scans as substandard and ask them to come to us only”. It is this “hurricane” that ate many more lives than the diseases or nature could.

In my last 19 years of business, not less than 80% of our franchisees and 5% of patients have complained to me, verbally or through mails that, “Consultant has thrown the report on the face of the patient, as soon as our “Logo” is seen. It means even before looking at the numbers in the report, it was rejected”. I knew what it meant. Obviously innocent patients, who consider doctor as God, cannot imagine that God could be biased to a brand due to commissions. This was happening in Thyroid Testing reports from 1996 till 2005. Though slowly over the years, percentages of such complaints have reduced.

Like how 3.0 Tesla MRI is demanding an unjustified premium, Chemiluminescence (CLIA) was demanding a premium and the Noble Prize winning (in 1959) Radioimmunoassay(RIA) Technology was belittled and also ridiculed. In the year 2003, in frustration, I gave up RIA (with great pain) and brought in CLIA. Though costlier, I did not increase the cost and got out of that “stigma” created by “hurricane” community. Hence, I can understand what this TV channel says, means and communicates on MRI or PET-CT scans or Vitamin D mania! I do not know where I got the courage to declare countrywide, in 1996, that the Thyroid Testing is only Rs. 250 when all players evolving around this “hurricane” (intentionally or accidentally or unknowingly or by miscalculation), were charging anywhere between Rs. 600 and Rs. 1000. Against all propaganda against me by those who felt insecure (I called it as marketing done for me) I made it as world’s largest Thyroid Testing laboratory in just 10 years, simply because this country has still 33% doctors who are absolutely honest. Be it Punjab or Kerala, Gujarat or Assam, this 33% of honest doctors want all benefits going to their patients. You must be wondering about the remaining 67%. It is unfortunate that, 33% do not sleep if they do not get their promised share in their pockets, even if it is from their kith and kin! That leaves the remaining 34% who would take if given a small percentage or in kind, only if given, but would never demand. Thus, it is this 33% who are in this “hurricane,” spoiling the reputation of the entire fraternity. The diagnostic centers who have seen it working dared to send TDS cut cheques to innocent consultants too. A few months back one diagnostic center in Mumbai got cornered, when the concerned honest and courageous consultant forwarded the cheque sent by them to MCI to explain or understand or act.

In the year 2013, I again had to decide, this time, the price for my PET-CT scan. When everyone was charging anywhere between Rs. 18,000 and Rs. 30,000, I thought, I can make a decent business even if I charge Rs. 9999. (Knowing fully well it is costly because like MRI, PET-CT is also in the next “hurricane”). Predictably, I started getting complaints, “consultants are throwing the reports on the face at the sight of the logo”. I did not get discouraged because it is the same PET-CT machine they are also using. In fact, the quality cannot be spoilt, even if I intended to, technology is such. My heart and family said “Lage Raho”. Within 5 months of launching our Delhi center, we have crossed already 30 scans per day, whilst majority of those in the core of this “hurricane” surprisingly do only 4 to 6 scans/day even after 5 years of starting! If my Delhi operations in PET-CT is more successful than our Mumbai, it says either Delhi patients are affected more by real cancer or artificial cancer.

Fortunately, things are changing and it should change faster in the years to come. It definitely has to be cleansed but would not happen over night. It is just not in India, but the world over too. At this rate it would take nothing less than 99 years to bring down this 33% to 3%. I do not know, whether this evil (like dowry) it is created by the giver or taker, but it would certainly be undone. Have a look at these atrocities by looking up “Operation Jonk” on You tube. I only hope that they do not pay crores to remove it before you even have a chance look at it. Again I say “Thrilling”!

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