A leading doctors’ body in West Bengal has strongly opposed the Centre’s decision to train practitioners of alternative medicine to perform surgical procedures , saying such ‘crosspathy’ or ‘mixopathy’ was anti-people and anti-science.
Last week, the Central Council of Indian Medicine issued a notification allowing post-graduate scholars of the Shalya and Shalakya streams of Ayurveda to independently perform 58 kinds of surgeries including those related to the eye and the ears, nose and throat. The Council subsequently issued a ‘clarification’ saying these surgeries were being performed by Ayurveda professionals “since beginning” and that all scientific advances including standardised terminologies were inheritances of entire mankind and no group could claim monopoly over these.
“We don’t have any disregard for other streams of medicine; in fact, we have great respect for ancient medicine. But just as how I am not competent to prescribe Ayurvedic medicines, can an Ayurveda practitioner perform surgeries?” asked Dr. Koushik Chaki, a founding member of the West Bengal Doctors’ Forum. The Forum plans to write to the Prime Minister and the Health Minister against what it calls a “regressive step”.
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“For surgery you need anaesthesia and antibiotics. Does Ayurveda have them? If Ayurveda develops its own anaesthesia and antibiotics, I am fine with it; if people choose to get operated upon by an Ayurveda practitioner, I am fine with that too. But you cannot accord legal status to what we call crosspathy or mixopathy. It is anti-people and anti-science,” Dr. Chaki told The Hindu .
Medicine, he said, was an evolving field and treatments changed with time and that mixing several branches of therapy like modern medicine, homeopathy and AYUSH may have a detrimental effect on health.
“We should welcome new studied and tested methods rather than being regressive. Once upon a time you used pigeons to carry mail. Today, when you have email, would it make sense to go back to pigeons?” he asked.
The Forum has asked doctors’ bodies across the country to “unitedly fight and resist the anti-people, anti-science and antigenic dictum.” It has already initiated an online campaign, asking people to say “no to crosspathy” and ‘no to bridge course”.