*FOR YOUR SAKE. NOT THEIRS.* _-written by Dr. Pranav Kodial_

by Michelle Fortes

Bit of an annoyance, isn’t it?

You’ve got a cough and these stupid doctors are on strike. Striking work because some doctor somewhere got hammered or something.

Not a big deal, though. You can always hop over to your friendly neighborhood chemist. He will give you a tablet and a syrup that will serve you for a couple of days. You can go back to watching the cricket matches on TV whilst enjoying hot tea and pakodas.

After all, you don’t expect the strike to last long. As usual, a day or two, a week at the most. Then your doctor will be back in his OPD, ready to treat your illness.

Currently, too, he is attending emergencies. Being a doctor and a human being, it’s not possible he will stand by and watch another human being suffer and die without doing anything about it.

So, not a big deal. Some temporary noise and inconvenience for everyone like you. In a few days, all will be back to status quo. Doctors treating patients as before. Normalcy.

And that’s where you are wrong.

Some great scientist had said that when something happens to an object and disturbs its equilibrium, even if that object returns to its original state, it is not the same as before. Things have changed.

No? Doesn’t make sense? Allow me to explain.

Every attack on doctors shakes the foundation of healthcare in India. And even if things APPEAR normal after every such event, believe me, they aren’t.

On the surface, everything looks hunky-dory. Problem is, you don’t see the subterranean fault-lines that have developed in the system with each attack. We, as doctors, see them. Cracks, that are not overtly evident to the public, but appear and widen with every attack on a doctor.

One such crack extends deeply into the doctor-patient relationship—one of the most sacrosanct relationships between two humans since human civilization.

No surprises there. A scenario where the relatives will likely kill the doctor for not being able to save their patient’s life (and where the doctor is acutely aware of that possibility) hardly qualifies as a healthy, sacred relationship.

No? Don’t have time for all this senti-talk, this mumbo-jumbo about ‘sacred relationships’ etc? Doctors getting bashed up/ killed doesn’t directly affect you therefore doesn’t concern you?

Oh okay, I get it. You are concerned with the practical aspect. The healthcare aspect. How it will affect YOU, you want to know.

I can understand. In your corporate cabins, offices, shops—basically ANY place of work in India—not much chance of you ever facing a mob coming to kill you for your presumed ‘failure’, right?

Never mind, let’s leave the doctor-patient relationship issue aside. Here’s the practical aspect about attacks on doctors—what’s in it for YOU.

You must agree, fear downgrades the quality of treatment. Working with an overhanging axe above one’s head is hardly an incentive to give of one’s best, doctors included. Forget critical cases, an atmosphere of fear robs a doctor of performing his best even in less challenging cases.

Guess who’s the loser?

Next, a direct, more ominous result of such recurring attacks. Fewer and fewer doctors are now prepared to accept critically ill patients and complicated cases. There are hundreds of cases where the doctor could and WOULD take some risk and treat that patient. More often successfully, than not.

But now, no longer. Which doctor would want to risk losing his life in case of the patient’s death? He would feel safer recommending you shift your patient to a bigger, more advanced and well-equipped hospital. Meaning, increased costs and inconvenience, apart from the delay in the patient getting the treatment.

Remember, a doctor is not legally obliged to accept a case he feels he cannot handle. Nor can he be legally forced to treat a patient when there is a risk to his own life from a mob attack.

Guess who’s the loser?

Finally, over the next few decades, we will see more and more excellent doctors changing their profession or leaving the country for better options abroad. Doctors who went abroad for higher studies and were planning on returning to serve their country are now ditching their plans. For safety, rather than monetary reasons.

Guess who’s…you know my question by now.

There it is. Practical enough for you? Clear on how attacks on doctors will directly affect you?

So please support your doctors. For YOUR own sake. Not theirs.


Note: Many people may be tempted to point out doctors’ wrong-doings and unethical methods that have contributed to the deteriorating doctor-patient relationship. I agree and endorse that there ARE issues in the medical profession that MUST be seriously addressed. But using those issues to justify attacks and violence on doctors is INEXCUSABLE.

We encounter hundreds of unethical, bribe-taking, incompetent, negligent non-doctor professionals, government officials and other people in our lives. Do we form mobs and attack them? No. The same with doctors.

*Please share this unedited. Thanks.*

The same applies to terrorist and underworlds… But are we going to do the same.

You may also like

Leave a Comment