Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Visit to the Consulate General of Pakistan in Houston (TX)

May 20, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi

It is not by way of a complaint but under feeling of acute sadness that I am writing this account and the drawbacks that I witnessed as a journalist at the Pakistan Consulate General in Houston. After entering the building from the backdoor where you park in the open space, it looks all chaotic inside. I have been here once or twice before. 

However, the overall conditions were not as desperate as these were this time. It is another matter that despite knowing that I am a former diplomat the then Consul General Mr. Baloch and his vice consul Mr. Naeem didn’t oblige me by renewing the passport of my daughter.

After repeated reminders and soliciting the help of the local influential friends to convey to the consulate staff that I didn’t receive the passport with a new endorsement even after more than month. I wondered then that if it can happen to a colleague of the same service who had been doing the same work in the embassies what could be said about the plight of the common folks.

Ironically, I had to face the same embarrassing situation for the second time also. Way back in 2013, I sent through first class mail, a power of attorney to the Consulate for attestation I started calling the Consulate when I didn’t hear from the consulate for several weeks. 

It was through the intervention and express help  of  Saadia Altaf Qazi, the Consul and  Head of Chancery that finally the packet was recovered from an  isolated dumping  place and the needful was done in a couple of days.

The building of the Consulate must be very old. It is simply small to cater for and accommodate the in-flowing visitors to the tune of over hundred or so daily from various parts of the state of Texas. Two opposing small rooms situated on the left side in a rectangular hall deal with visas and passports and the attestation of such documents as Power of Attorneys etc. 

The two gentlemen sitting in the visa room were exposed to the crowd from the door. They seemed to be under as enormous pressure as the needy visitors sitting on the ramshackle chairs. Those among them who would not find vacant chairs were standing or restlessly loitering in the open space in front of the main entrance or for a while in the grassy open space outside.

All the staff members whose number is ten (10) including the Consul General sit on the upper floor. The Consulate’s monthly income from the services is estimated roughly to be between $ 60 to 80 thousands. With this income a new spacious building can be rented or even purchased. Yet truthfully the conditions were more dismal and degrading this time than what I witnessed way back in 2103.

There seems to a pervasive hassle and an atmosphere of disconnect, boredom or disgust from both the attending officers and the visitors. When waiting for a long time, the papers were not returned to me with attestation, I called one of the erstwhile retired officials of the consulate to help me. 

After some time when an official of the Consulate came down to hand over the papers he looked at as if I was a street urchin. He handed over the documents with a sly and dry facial impression and went up: No Salam, no Kalam, no pleasantries exchanged or saying hello-hi.

While I was waiting in the open street with my wife and brother-in-law, a relatively old and bearded person appeared from behind and after uttering a few Quranic Ayas coupled with filth slogans for the prime minister walked away. I could understand one sentence, “I threw the documents on their face and am now I am going”.

I saw another young person in a sheer panic imploring the female official sitting at the documents’ attestation window to accept his papers as he had to fly soon. The officer asked him to go back and bring the complete set of documents. But he insisted that those were complete in all respect.With me her attitude was reasonably less questionable but asked me to pay for the photo copies which I did and thanked God for the acceptance of the application.

Instead of the staff sitting in the open rooms, it would be efficient and handy if the elevated counters are built within the open hall or room where the people can talk to the respective officials while standing out in the line and the officers sitting on the other side. We have seen such counters in every office in the United States: be it the drivers’ license or Tax payment offices, the Social Security department and even the courts and the police stations.

Just by way of comparison I may state that a few years ago I visited the Indian Consulate with an Indian citizen and it was through the counters that the conversation took place and that saved lot of time and frustration of the applicant.

Since as a former diplomat I had faced the similar situations in East Europe, I would suggest that a protocol officer should sit in the lobby near the main hall and guide every visitor to his window The protocol officer can issue the token numbers to the applicants and guide them which window to go. During my visit on May 16 the token machines were out of order and that made the people nervous as they would push each other to be in front of the window.  

Jesus was a Non-white Arab Jew!

May 19, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi

Some time back there was an interesting and animating discussion on the CNN whether Jesus was white or not. That debate has once again been reignited in emails endorsed to me as well. That gave me an impetus that if the Jesus’ followers who believe in him as the white Son of God and promised Messiah can also discuss this delicate subject. Let me too offer my point of view.

To claim or believe that Jesus of Nazareth had a white pigment is factually and fundamentally untrue. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod. According to Saint Luke, one of the gospel writers, Joseph the future adoptive father of Jesus went up from Galilee out of the city Nazareth into Judea. Joseph was engaged with the mother of Jesus Mary and would visit here from time to time.

But to believe that Jesus was a white person born in a frigid or cold climate or region is totally devoid of truth. The land of Palestine including Jerusalem, the Galilee, the Judea, the Bethlehem have Mediterranean climate which is warm or moderate than being cold most of the year. So the portrayal of Jesus born in snow clad climate is factually incorrect. 

The birth date of Jesus being December 25 is as controversial and obscure as several other events related to his life. Some writers projected his birth in the month of June which is hot and humid. He was also a Jew and at the same time ethnically an Arab for having been born in the Middle East.

The people living in the Middle East and even in the upper reaches of the Arabian Peninsula touching peripheral towns along the Mediterranean coast have fair to brown skin. As such for the Christian believers it is sheer passion or fantasy that they try to paint the life of Jesus as if he was born in the winter and in extremely cold part of the year which could be only in Europe or North America.

The display of sleighs descending from the heaven with Santa and the  with flakes of heavy snow falling around carry the depiction of regions closer to the North pole or at best of these areas that are covered with snow during the winter. Then the roaming of the deer and antelopes in woods with pine trees in a sort of blissful aura all around, is entirely romantic and far from reality. It demonstrates a kind of propensity to show Jesus as the dweller of the cold region and that his birth took place in the snowy and freezing part of the year.

At the age of 30 Jesus was baptized by his cousin John in the river Jordan to be formally proclaimed as a Jew. His preaching or ministry lasted for three years from his age of 30 CE to 33 C.E. In 33 C.E., he was sentenced to death by a Roman governor Pontius Pilate, against trumped charges of blasphemy, calling him the Son of God and not paying taxes, leveled against him by Jewish priests and Pharisees.

Jesus is a redeemer, Messiah and anointed son of God for Christians, He is a promised Messiah also for Muslims and a prophet but not son of God. Muslims venerate him specially for being the prophet with a book (B) with three other prophets namely Moses, David, and Muhammad. However for Jews he was an apostate, a blasphemer of the Jewish religion and not the real promised Messiah.

All the dates from the birth of Jesus Christ to his hanging at the stake on the order of the Roman governor Pilate, his entombment for three days and his ascension and reappearance all lack credibility and f actuality. The reason for fallacious dates and incredible chronology is understandable as there were no foolproof methods during those primitive times for recording events with authenticity. Especially the gospels or four accounts of New Testament or Greek Bible were written by their respective authors many years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 The journeying of his mother and his perceived father Joseph to Bethlehem was out of fear due to severe penalty from the fanatic Jews, Pharisees or rabbis who would take as sin the birth of a child from a virgin mother only betrothed to a man but still not married. According to the New Testament, Mary was found to be pregnant, although she had not lived with Joseph, to whom she was engaged and that he did not have marital relations with her before the child was born. According to the Jewish tradition of those times, the girls were betrothed around the age of twelve or twelve and a half.

During the betrothal period, which would last about a year, the marriage was not finalized and the bride remained in her parent's house. Perhaps it was during this period that the pregnancy took place which we learn from gospels that it was due to the divine design through the Holy Spirit. But this contention is subject to contest as pointed out by Stephen L Harris, who proposed that the accounts of Matthew and Luke were written to answer Jewish slanders about Jesus' illegitimate birth. St. Paul a prominent protagonist of Jesus and his successor was also silent on the virginity as implying that he knew no account of the virgin birth of Jesus.

It can be argued that a young woman who was still not properly married and was not religiously authorized to have sexual relations with her betrothed husband could have no other reason except to interpret the birth of Jesus as miraculous and through the Holy Spirit. It could be the only plausible way to deflect the fierce and unforgiving reaction and corresponding punishment from the Jewish religious authorities. In those rigid religious Jewish codes, the only explanation that could be offered was that the child was conceived in the womb of the mother by God through the Holy Spirit.

That answer or explanation might have pacified the Jewish priests and they kept silent almost for 30 years. But the people around Jesus and his parents must be having apprehensions and rather the family might have remained under a stigma attached with the premarital birth of Jesus. Yet for all these 30 years we do not read any account or story that pertains to the shame or ignominy associated with such grave social digression till Jesus started his ministry and publicly declared him as the Son of God.

 It was only after Jesus began challenging the Jewish social misconduct, religious traditions and deviation from Torah that the Jewish religious zealots turned against him. It was at a much later stage that the question of Jesus being born as Son of God was trumped up. But the history is silent on this highly sensitive issue as the Jewish rabbis took a stand against Jesus not for being an illegitimate child but for other two reasons. One was that he called himself a king and refused to pay taxes. 

The second charge was that he was calling himself the son of God.
Quite some time after the birth of Jesus, Joseph along with his wife Mary and son (later Jesus) fled to Egypt where he stays till the death of Herod. Thereafter, he returns to Nazareth where the family settles down.  It was perhaps their absence from Nazareth and Jerusalem for a long time that we don’t find any detailed mention about the family.

The Greek scripture or the New Testament that is the story of the Jesus Christ and formation of Christianity was not written during the life time of Jesus but in later periods by many writers including the four early apostles, namely Matthew, Luke, John and Mark. But these gospels differ in many ways in contents and chronology from each other. The time difference between Mark the first writer and John the last of the four main writers is between 50 to 70 years. The later writers copied heavily from Mark by adding some more details of the subsequent times.

What about the Pakistani Journalists who took Bribe?

May 3, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi

Let us start from the premise that journalists are not angels. They need money because they are less privileged. We all know that 19 prominent Pakistani journalists from print and electronic media took bribe from the notorious property tycoon and founder of the so called “Bahria Town” Malik Riaz.  

The total amount given by Malik Riaz runs into crores of rupees. These leading journalists are still working on positions without any qualms of conscience. Neither these bribed journalists expressed any remorse or resigned their posts, nor did the owners of the concerned newspapers, periodicals and channels think of sacking them.

These journalists are still debating and discussing the national issues and dishing out their moral sermons, wise discourses and astute opinions via their newspapers, journals and channels. They are vibrantly exhorting their countrymen how the business of the state should be conducted and how the people of Pakistan should lead their life morally and socially; whom they should vote for and who was the rascal and who was upright in the political field.

They have conveniently put aside the disgrace and the stigma of compromising and selling their professional integrity and inviolable ethics to the fleecing crooks in business and industry. These crafty business magnates are not to blame because they need a congenial media to ignore their atrocious money making bonanzas. Malik Riaz is a good, amiable and intelligent businessman who is building residential colonies equipped with modern civic amenities, and where the safety and protection is ensured.

That is a good job to do and we need such modern colonies and neighborhoods where people can live with peace of mind. But the irksome, detestable and hard to digest is the sleazy manner these media stalwarts offered them for sale of their services and thus defacing their sacred profession.

Yet another list of 282 journalists, channels and newspapers has come to light that demonstrates how the media has been up for grabs of money for a dishonorable swap of their services in favor of the government and special interest groups.

The money disbursed to these journalists by the Information Ministry is reported to be Rs. 177 million. Besides one of the private TV channels received a hefty amount of 300 million rupees for putting their portal at the disposal of the Information Ministry and the government in power. It clearly surmises that the entire media empire is for auction. Reportedly, another list of 155 journalists who benefited from the largess of the Information Ministry is on the way of being revealed in the near future.

I am aware of a mega graft case that happened way back in the 80s. This case was seldom reported in the press and went rather unnoticed. A mammoth amount of 25 crores (then roughly five million US dollars) was given by the Saudi ambassador to the editor of a local newspaper to drum up support for the Royal Saudi Government’s position against Saddam regime. It was the time when the United States had mounted the first Gulf war (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991) in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.

The Saudi government was on the side of the invading forces and had even provided bases to the coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States. But still it was becoming difficult for the Saudis to win broader support in the Islamic countries especially in Pakistan where a sizable population liked Saddam Hussain.

The said Islamabad-based editors used his newspaper generously and unabashedly for a sustained smear campaign against Saddam Hussain and in favor of Saudi action. He was also instrumental in arranging meetings and venues for the Saudi and Kuwaiti ambassadors in Pakistan to explain the Saudi stance to the media and political figures.

Within a matter of couple of months, the said editor who was driving an old ramshackle car bought three brand new corolla cars and purchased a palatial mansion in a posh sector of Islamabad for about 8 crores rupees. The rest of the money was deposited in a Dubai bank. This is how in once in a life bonanza a journalist cum editor cashed his clout. He is perhaps now the richest among the journalists both from the past and the present.

Until 2001 when I migrated to the United States, Islamabad was rife with rumors about several journalists who were working for certain embassies as informers. One such journalist otherwise a seasoned, experienced and well mannered person was apprehended by one of the premier intelligence agencies for his association with the embassy of a hostile country. He was
extensively tortured and later the poor chap died in a hospital.

The apex court of Pakistan has done marvelous job by taking sou-moto cognizance of the bribes doled out by the federal Ministry of Information in exchange for lenient and favorable media coverage about the government. But is there any chance for the bribed money to be returned to the national exchequer? Let us watch how the legal wind blows upon the beneficiary 282 journalists, the media lords and the TV channels.

One would expect that the Supreme Court might admonish the Ministry of Information for buying the services of the media corps with official funds. But it should also warn the journalist community to desist from the trappings of the buckets full of easy money that only tarnishes their image. It is also an outright dishonesty and shameless betrayal of their profession that is like walking on the edge of a sword.

But all said and done, journalists too are human beings and can be dazed by the glitter of money. We know that some of the leading TV anchors draw monthly emoluments as much as a million rupees or more. I believe that they would shun such ugly enticements if individuals like Malik Riaz and his elk throw at them like crumbs.

Monday, May 9, 2016

One can be Moral without being Religious

May 9, 2016

By Saeed Qureshi
While I contend that man can be ethical and righteous without being religious, I am in no way suggesting, that one should abandon practicing religion. Morality, essentially, is a virtue that is personal and the human beings follow it out of social and personal obligations or volition.

 Let us put it like this, that even in heathen and secular societies, the people, at the same time, tell lies and speak truth. Truth is a component of virtue that one believes not because of religious compulsions or motivation but because it is a positive social value that is appreciated while it’s opposite falsehood is disliked.

When we are speaking truthfully, we seldom think we are doing so because the religion ordained so, but because it is right and commendable to do so. Same mindset applies to other innumerable virtues and ethical values that we practice in our daily lives.

To be law abiding, to care for others, to be compassionate and considerate, to be kind and humane, to treat aged and children with kindness, not to steal, to murder, or rape and so on,  are invariably are virtues that are cherished and commended  equally in the irreligious and the rigidly religious societies.

The religious commandments or injunctions if vigorously and earnestly applied during our social dealings, then of course, we may not err or indulge in immoral and unethical pursuits either by word of mouth or by our actions and deeds. Yet in our daily life and in social interactions, we make a mess of the moral codes ordained by our religions.

Irrespective whether we believe in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam or any other religion, countless times we lie, swindle, weigh less, adulterate the foods, and charge more. We do not keep our promises. We molest, kidnap, speak rough even use abusive jargon, enter into fratricidal disputes, tamper with out utility services, power meters, evade or do not pay our tax in full.

 We solicit jobs through bribery or influential contacts; prefer our relations and friends for jobs or contracts via nude and unabashed nepotism and so on. We seldom think that all these vices and foul activities are forbidden by religions and despised by the society.

Therefore, whether we are religious or not, we demonstrate outward social behavior without keeping in mind all the time that these are do’s or don’ts contained in the religious codes. If we still persist in good behavior as well as bad behavior then certainly we are simultaneously complying and breaching the tenets of the religion.

 The claim or argument that religion fosters absolute morality would look convincing if we can divide the human race into two clear sections, one being wholly moral because of being religious and the other being entirely immoral because of being irreligious. We know we cannot draw out such clear-cut distinction.

If morality were entirely exclusive to religions then the human generations existing before the advent of religious eras would have been immoral. In the prehistoric ages when there was no ownership of land or property, the communities would be knit into bonds of fraternity, work together, equitably divide their food and resources, and share each other pains and pleasures. Those generations believed in spirits, deities, demons and souls. But certainly they were not the adherents of traditional religions that sprang later.

Even the wicked Pharaoh admonishes Prophet Abraham for falsifying his real relationship with Sara, who was his wife but he faked her as his sister. In this episode, the conduct of the heathen Pharaoh looks more moral as compared to the religious apostle Abraham. If we accept the plea or ruse of Abraham as the need of the hour, then we are tainting or bending the inviolable religious canons with regard to the virtue of truth.

The core aim and underlying purpose of any religion is absolute morality and piety. In addition, it connects the creation that is human being with the creator that is almighty God. In religion, there cannot be any compromise or modifications on the belief in a super human power or God. Nevertheless, when the faith pertains to the affairs of the societies or mutual interactions, the laws and traditions of the religion mingle with the mundane laws of the society and thus the people follow both of these.
The Christian Orthodox Church is succumbing to the pressures and imperatives of the modern societies to the extent that it now permits marriages for nuns and priest. Of late, it has conceded the use of condoms and even gay and same sex marriages. Beyond the cardinal belief in God, the religions flourish and remain vibrant on the strength of their customs and rituals, which are vigorously practiced. The faithful relish, cherish, and draw bliss and spiritual elevation by observing these countless religious chores that become an integral part of our social milieu.

They feel that their bond of obedience with God is strengthened and the reverence for the messengers is reinforced. The examples are Hindus converging on the river Ganges every year and celebrating various festivals like Holli and Krishna Janamashtami etc. The Muslims celebrate religious days, pray, fast and perform pilgrimage. The Jews go to Jerusalem and Roman Catholics go to Rome.

Every religion has a pantheon of deities, an array of rituals and an assortment of customs and innumerable taboos and shibboleths. In Christianity, there is a vast plethora of symbols that are dutifully performed during the service. Some of these are use of candles and rosaries, images of saints, chants ,incantations  prayer books, incense, holy water, long robes, everlasting light before the alters, serving of bread, the special architecture of the church buildings and so on. 

As stated above, In Hinduism, there are countless deities as symbols of various powers, the river Ganges as purifier of sins, the temples, and the sacred books: Vedas, Brahmanas and Upanishads and Puranas.

In Jewish faith, there are many symbols such as tabernacle, Star of David, the holy books Torah and Talmud, Sabbath, festivals and circumcision and so on. In Islam such symbols are the mosque, the minarets, the curved sword, the green color, the holy house of God in Mecca the black stone,  the sacrifice, the two sacred festivities: one after the fasting and another on the eve of pilgrimage. The list is long. 
I shall leave other smaller religions that are immersed in a sea of customs and rituals.Arguably, while these customs and traditions are fervently and zealously followed by all the religions, yet this does not stop them from killing each other and occupying each other’s lands and enslaving them. 

In history and even in present times, there have been horrendous ethnic cleansing of the adherents of one religion by the followers of the other religion such as between Jews and Christianity and Christianity and Islam, Hindus and Muslims, Jews and Muslims etc.Simultaneously, the religious and secular, or irreligious societies profess principles, precepts, and laws that are intrinsically moralistic.

However, at the same time morality could be variously interpreted and is relative in case of each society. In permissive yet religious societies as in the West and the Far East, such pastimes as nightlife, clubs, drinking and dancing are integral part of the social life. In dogmatic Islamic countries, these social features are sins liable for harsh punishments.

Yet in these glamorous and socially open societies, people abide by law, respect each other, give charities to the poor and downtrodden, take maximum care of the toddlers and young children, and maintain nursing homes for the old people. They behave politely and respectfully to each other. Any discrimination based on color, ethnicity religion or gender is unlawful.

 Although, these and similar other values are preached by religions, yet these are also manifestly practiced in religiously liberal societies. It means it is the culture or the law that enforces these good traits. That eliminates the difference between being religious and non-religious in order to be socially moral.

The citizens of these religiously tolerant countries obey the civic rules, seldom taint the food, or tamper with their meters. Their agitations and protests rallies are orderly and peaceful. They maintain environmental cleanliness and respect the rights of their neighbors. They are by and large peaceful and allow religious freedom for all believers.

Such societies are havens of civic comforts and facilities. These are moral and human manifestations of such societies, which accord scant or customary regard to religion. Nevertheless, they believe and practice the well-established principles of morality, ethics, and good conduct. These serve their people well and manifest good governance for the welfare of their people.

Temperamentally humans when born, possess inbuilt good or bad traits with varying degrees. These traits are not influenced by external factors and remain as the unalterable part of one’s personality till the last breath. These may be suppressed under peculiar conditions or circumstances but can never be eroded or rooted out from the mind.

As such socially and temperamentally, some people tend to be highly moral, less moral or conversely highly immoral or less immoral. A miser and greedy man can never be generous, a brave person cannot turn coward and a cruel person would be devoid of compassion, a timid would not be outspoken and an introvert cannot become an extrovert, et al.
Humans tend to be hypocritical in posing as moral and religious by exhorting others to be good while they would be wicked themselves. The religious clerics, clergy and preachers though preach moral values, do not offer practical examples by their own conduct. They ask others to be frugal and simple, while they themselves wallow in wealth and lead lavish lives. 

They crusade against the moral evils and goad reverence for God. Yet they exploit their adherents by using wrath and pleasure of God. Many of them work as touts of the respective governments .They are known for hoarding money and even caught in heinous rape of minors.

Such a sermonized morality looks to be sham and mere humbug. As morality is ingrained and very personal to an individual, my accent is on social and ingrained moralities and not political or for show off. In politics, morality is nonexistent as the interests of state supersede the moral contours set by religious movements and gospels as well as the traditional social or individual morality. For this reason an absolute religious government is hard to work for a longer period of time.

Secondly the religious doctrines and tenets are meant for a specific period of human societies and become outdated and collide with the emerging conditions in subsequent times. In simple words, the societies are dynamic and evolutionary while the religions are static.  Thirdly morality is a universal virtue and is not exclusive to the religions. Fourth, we have seen that the religious societies get infested with divisions, factionalism, power struggle and disharmony because of irreconcilable sectarianism. 

Only the religion of the majority remains dominant. The religious bias takes its toll of suppressing smaller religions by the adherents of the majority religion.  That phenomenon deprives a society of the moral fiber by way of intolerance, lack of coexistence among various denominations and faiths.

These are inhuman and immoral manifestation that may be scantly found in a secular societies or a nation state. Just to reiterate that religions bind us to the faith in God and to practice rituals and moral principles. Yet we have seen that even  in religious societies people are not angles. They commit crimes, are intolerant, tell lies, swindle, cheat, steal and pilfer, usurp and indulge in immoral pursurits.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Incompetence and Rip-Off in Medical Profession

May 1, 2016
By Saeed Qureshi
There is an uninhibited field day for the medical practitioners in United States. Once you are attached with a PCP (Primary Care Physician), you will seldom get rid of him or her and your ailment minor or major may seldom cure. Your personal accounts could be siphoned off. We have known some patients who turned paupers and their medical afflictions never or partly came to end. In many cases those rather accentuated with the passage of time.

If you are the recipient of Medicare or Medicaid, these departments would keep paying your bills round the year.  In recent years we have read in the press about quite a few fraudulent doctors who milked millions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid on fictitious or fraudulent billing.

A PCP facilitates the treatment of the patients without wasting their time in the long queues at the hospitals. He refers the cases to other private departments for additional or complimentary services. Yet there must be a code of conduct or strict watch over the PCPs if they manipulate their pivotal role by overcharging or calling the patients more times than needed.

The PCPs may resort to overdosing which may temporary relief but could be harmful in the longer run. Same is the case with the privately run hospitals and nursing homes. Although these may offer between atmosphere and facilities yet overdosing or over-billing has also been complained about them as well.

There could be several reasons for this professional incompetence and financial rip off. The medical students get huge loans from the banks and the financial institutions for payments of their fees and other heavy costs on books, residence and even transportation. These loans could range from half a million to beyond a million with interest bulging with the time passage.

After graduation the first and the foremost urgency or priority for them is to pay off their loans which if not paid, they can lose their credibility and cannot get any loans for the future. These student doctors have no option but to keep their inflow of patients on some pretext or another. This is peculiar to those doctors who are from less privileged sections of society.

The PCPs maintain their links with other counterparts and exchange or share the patients for various procedures. They may be knowing each other for being batch mates or from the same background or working in the same hospitals.

There is a whole range of tests such as for kidneys, prostrate performing MRI or X-RAY, radiology chemotherapy , physical therapy, check up of  heart, eyes, ears and so on. Thus they help and support each other and enable everyone to share the booty. 

It is not with all the PCPs but the number of upright physicians could be limited. The treatments and tests keep going on and the patients keep paying from their own pockets or out of the government insurance schemes.

We are witnesses that the hospitals run by city or county or state or by private entrepreneurs are always overflowing with the patients. This is particularly so in case of the privately run and group-owned hospitals. 

There is a common observation that in such hospitals the doctors dispose off their patients for ensuing visits for a variety of procedures and tests. In case of cancer patients they have to keep visiting the hospitals or the clinics for years or indefinitely. I am not sure how many are finally cured or ultimately pass away.

 If a patient is rushed to the emergency section of a private or even the government hospital and later cannot pay the hefty bills his case is referred to the collection agencies which plunges them into another unending nightmare till they get rid of that burden by selling their properties or assets.

When the medical technology had not advanced or the latest gadgets for various checkups and fast procedures had not come into being, the rate of recovery was higher and the cost was not as astronomical as it is in the present times.

There is continuous research going on for improvements of the medical equipment, instruments treatment and procedures as seen in the hospitals and clinics medical centers. But woefully while the number of patients keeps growing, the rate of cure or healing is correspondingly not rising. One wonders while all the deadly diseases and ailments are now cropping up despite easy detection and prompt testing. Yet the situation in the past was as desperate as it seems now.

This is perhaps due to the perceivable factor that the more illness the more income for the healers. The senior doctors pass on a part of their jobs and responsibilities to the budding doctors who occasionally seem flabbergasted before the patients and cannot offer a plausible or convincing explanation about the nature of the malady or the procedure they would be performing.
The Health sector both public and private needs a thorough overhaul for removing the deficiencies and drawbacks besetting it.  There should be high powered commission that should look into the rising cost on medical treatment, overdosing and over-billing and less rate of recovery from the illness. Some mechanism needs to be put in place to gauge the performance of each and every doctor, department and ward of the hospitals.

Besides the conduct of the physicians and the para-medic staff in their dealing with the patients who come from different ethnic and racial backgrounds, has to be watched. It has been seen that the para-medical staff especially nurses remain overworked and occasionally try to shorten the procedure and show lack of involvement needed in serious cases. The performance and expertise of doctors particularly the new inductees should be kept under strict watch for ensuring the veritable treatment to the patients.

In big and renowned hospitals one can see the plaques of dedication and acknowledgment of the doctors who donated money for constructing patients’ wards, lobby, surgery rooms, or even a complete hospital.  It’s a great humanitarian gesture and demonstration of service by those physicians for the people at large. But at the same time it shows the wealth of the physicians who had retired and are living or passed away. Most of the hospitals that I know are in the   name of famous physicians or governors of the past.

There has been a great deal of negligence or carefree attitude of doctors in the overcrowded hospitals. The patients with serious ailments are seen occasionally by the under-training doctors. The patients are disposed of by prescribing some medicines or in case of wound a fresh bandage. The emergency sections of the main hospitals remain full of patients with extremely serious problems. To be admitted in an emergency ward and get a bed sometime takes takes hours and even after waiting for a full day or night.

That defeats the very purpose of being seen without loss of time in emergency wards. I have seen that inside the emergency departments many patients are kept in corridors till a room was available. I have also seen the scores of patients waiting in front of particular emergency portions to be examined by the doctors. But invariably they are ushered in after an excruciating long wait.
Let me narrate the case of my wife as to give you an idea how she had to spent many years in visiting the hospitals, confronting the casual attitude of the attending doctors and finally culmination in the amputation of her right foot all five toes that was avoidable in the beginning which was ten year earlier. Let me narrate the whole painful saga.

There was a lingering problem of blood circulation in the right and left legs of my wife. It was negligible in the beginning. She has been visiting the Parkland main hospital and its affiliated branches in other cities for several years. Each time after excruciating wait in the lobby, she would be ushered in and after a kind of Doppler test or on few occasions the computer testing she was discharged with some pills or lotions.

When we moved to Tarrant County we started visiting the JPS hospital and its affiliated branches. After a few months the PCP of a local branch at Arkansas Lane referred her to the main hospital for further check up.

She visited Pediatric and Vascular sections umpteen times. The young doctors led by a seemingly senior doctor would appear and let her off by writing some antibiotics. In the meantime her right foot fingers started blackening. The PCP of the local branch, in her SOS reference notes, pointed out gangrene. But in her several subsequent visits, the cardiovascular doctors or those of podiatry showed no panic or urgency and kept her on lotions or small bandages.

I the meantime her all five fingers turned black and started rotting. Twice we had to rush her to the emergency room (not the main emergency section) of the hospital where the attending doctor was horrified to see the foot. She got a prompt x-ray taken and told us that the bones of the foot were still safe from the onslaught of the gangrene.

She ordered her admission in the main emergency ward of the hospital where she lay down the whole day and had to come back without any treatment. We rushed her second time to the emergency department but remained in a precarious condition in the corridor for the whole day without any inspection by a doctor.
It was many days later that the angiography was recommended and Dr. Anderson the head of cardiovascular sections performed the angiography first on the left leg and after a few days on the right leg. It transpired on the second angiography procedure that there was only 5 per cent blood circulation in the right leg while the left leg was in better condition.

A stent was put in her right leg and she was discharged. Thereafter one night at home she lost her body control and started falling down. In the morning she was rushed to the local emergency hospital called emergency room. In view of her serious condition, the doctors rushed her to the Plaza Medical Center in Fort Worth where through a post haste surgery her all five toes or fingers of the right foot were removed. She remained in the Plaza Medical Center for 15 days.

Had the angiography been done at the very outset to determine the blood circulation, her toes could have been saved. But look at the time difference. It took doctors almost ten years to decide about angiography and that too by chance.  That delay cost her five fingers but saved half of her remaining foot.

She limps now and cannot walk without support. I am not aware how many others like my wife could have been the sufferers due to lack of timely detection and immediate follow up action to cure them for their respective health issues.

By that time, although, the meager blood circulation had started but the fingers had decayed and couldn’t be saved and could have affected the rest of the foot if not amputated. I wrote several letters to the high ups but no one was prepared to hold anyone responsible for that gross negligence and medical impropriety.