Earlier this week, several news outlets ran a story about a hospital where patients can choose to be diagnosed by an astrologer who will predict the cause and effect of a disease. The news created a havoc online.
At Jaipur’s Unique Sangeeta Memorial Hospital, before treatment, they offer a ‘perk’ many hospitals would likely frown upon. Unlike other hospitals in the city, this is the place where patients get diagnosed with the help of astrology.
Rajasthan: ‘Unique Sangeeta Memorial Hospital’ in Jaipur diagnoses diseases using Medical Science&Astrology. Pt A Sharma says”I see 25-30 kundli daily. We use astrology for diagnosis only, for treatment we use Medical Science.We do it so that diagnosis is correct&no time is lost” pic.twitter.com/PAySqnwcqz
— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2019
According to the story broken by ANI, the patients are also given ‘advise’ on whether they would need to take medicines or undergo an operation. The treatment, however, is done only using medical practises by in-house doctors. The report also quoted a doctor from the hospital who admitted to consulting the astrological diagnosis before beginning treatment, and claimed that patients are satisfied with the technique.
Doctor: When a patient comes, he is subjected to astrological evaluation & astrological diagnosis. The medical & astrological diagnoses are then compared. Treatment is done with advanced technology but we take the help of astrology for diagnosis. Patients are satisfied. (27.05) pic.twitter.com/jVHAbOE6fL
— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2019
While InUth wasn’t able to get in touch with the doctor and verify the claims, astrologer Pandit Akhilesh Sharma who is associated with the hospital, spoke to us via telephone about the initiative. “For astrological diagnosis, one must submit three details of the patient -place of birth, date of birth and time of birth. A horoscope is created and analysed. We later submit our observations to the patient. He/she presents it to the doctor who later decides the course of treatment,” he told us.
But he went to clarify that astrology does not interfere with medical treatment. “It is totally up to the people to opt for astrology. Patients can directly go for medical diagnosis. The treatment will be purely based on medical science,” he added.
Unique Sangeeta Memorial Hospital is run by a trust, Indian Institute of Ancient Astrological Science, which was set up in 1992. “We got the land from the state government to set up a hospital for astrological research in 2016. We also have five doctors (at the hospital) who are state government employees,” Avdesh Mathur, president of the trust said.
The hospital is probably the first medical institution in India where astrological diagnosis is practised. Which Sharma empahises was a practice was prevalent during ancient times. “One should look astrology from the prism of science. It is not just about an individual’s present, past or future. Astrology has a very wide scope and can be used in agricultural science as well as meteorology,” he says.
“The accuracy level of astrological diagnosis is 95 percent. But I won’t be satisfied till I prove it by successfully testing on 10 lakh patients,” he added.
Dr Kumar Asnani, an anaesthetist with Jaipur govt hospital, who works with Sharma in the astro-medical research project, substantiated the astrologer’s claims. “His predictions are quite accurate. I have myself witnessed it,” he said.
He went on to add that the field of astro-medical science has immense potential and requires extensive research. “I have requested him to work in the field of cancer research so that we would be able to save potential patients,” he adds.
But not everyone from the medical fraternity is supportive of the idea. “Diagnosis is the first step of treatment and is the most important one. We do not approve of such techniques which have not been prescribed by the government of India,” Dr Dhananjai Aggarwal, member of the Rajasthan Medical Council said.
Apart from allopathy, the Union Health Ministry only recognises Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. Astrology finds no place in the the Indian system of medicine.
But Pandit Sharma is hopeful about his field. “People will criticise everything new. Even medical concepts and scientific theories are criticised all the time. I am waiting for the day when astrology will be on par with medical science,” he signed off.