Karnataka: Cardiologist posts Blanket Prescription for COVID 19 on Facebook; Govt sees red
Bengaluru: Controversy has erupted after a Hyderabad-based cardiologist recently came under the scanner of the Karnataka Government for an "objectionable" Facebook post which was soon taken down by Facebook considering the state government's request to the authorities at social media platform. In his post, the doctor allegedly offered misleading suggestions and medical advice pertinent to fatal Covid-19.
According to recent media accounts, the medical practitioner suggested an elaborate list of blanket drug prescriptions on the widely-used social networking platform on July 8. In his post, the doctor had posted several videos and messages along with prescribing 11 drugs which he claimed to be potentially effective for the COVID patients with "low oxygen saturation but unable to find the bed". He also mentioned the amount of the dosage and the time when the patient can take the dosage. Nearly 4,000 Facebook users shared the post from their accounts.
The doctor's handwritten note, scanned and floated on social media with his number, said it was "to be followed if no bed available, under supervision" and had names of vitamin supplements, some antibiotics, antiviral drugs and two injections, including a blood thinner which is usually administered to patients who are hospitalised. His account also had "videos to create an ICU (intensive care unit) at home" and other posts.
However, on July 16, the Karnataka Government identified the post and under the norms of violating the company's "misinformation and harm policy" sent a request to Facebook to pull down the post while following the protocols by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministeries; as it could be misleading for the masses, especially considering the critical pandemic situation.
He said he had been getting about 6,000 messages every day from people asking for remedies. "I know posting a blanket prescription is not what a doctor should do usually, but this is a pandemic. The drugs I have prescribed are not known to have side-effects." he added.
Commenting on the prescription, Dr H Veerabhadrappa, president of Karnataka Medical Council, said that a blanket prescription was "not just misleading, but dangerous". "Doctors cannot prescribe more than primary care, which includes vitamin supplements or basic painkillers or a diet plan on WhatsApp or call," he said, referring to the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research on the use of telemedicine for Covid-19.
"For anything specific, the doctor who has physically examined the patient can talk to a specialist on phone or video call and get further treatment. It is important that doctors understand how social media posts can trigger panic in people or mislead them," he added.