a small voice...

Five changes we need to bring about in the way practice our profession

She had to choose between life and death, she chose death. The doctor is dead.

Doctor is dead…some serious introspection needed

Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, was reading the newspaper one morning when, to his shock, he turned the page and discovered his obituary inside. Incidentally, his brother had died, and the newspaper had published Alfred’s obituary by mistake. The obituary read, “The merchant of death is dead”.

Nobel was taken aback by how the world will remember him after his death. It is believed that due to this shock, Alfred Nobel decided to establish the Nobel Foundation.

Thirteen lakhs or so doctors in India today are reading their own obituary, but not in the sense Alfred Nobel read it. Not to have an enlightening realization about how the world will remember them after they are gone, rather dreadfully conscious of the way the world treats them while they are still alive, pushing them to take the extreme step. They are seeing everything in reverse motion, the end of their beginning, as if they are on a death row and waiting for the noose to tighten around their neck, waiting for the floor to gape in and suck them into a dark hole. Dr. Archana was just one name among these, only the first one to take the plunge, unfortunately not the last if society continues to have its ways.

The premise on which our healthcare system is forced to function is public perception. The perception that medical service is a commodity worth fiddling with at will, that the remedy to ease our suffering is guaranteed by the very fact that we seek it. Any violation of this perceptive guarantee is visualized by the public as an intent to kill, and by the local goons as an instrument to exploit the doctor for their vested interest. Dr. Archana was an archetype victim of this malicious game which the corrupt politicians and government officials along with the attendants of the patient played.

We are entering into an era where doctors, myself included, are encouraging their children not to take medicine as a profession. We have entered into an era where capable hands are refusing to treat complicated patients due to fear of an irrational public mentality. We are entering into an era where people are destined to suffer more because the vacuum created by the efflux of nobility is being filled by an influx of stupidity.

You, as the enlightened public, have to choose between life and death. Unfortunately, by writing the death sentence for doctors you are embracing your death.

Five changes we need to bring about in the way practice our profession.

Now, as a doctor, and as a member of the bereaved community, I wish to share a few suggestions with my fellow healers. You may find my ideas revolutionary, unrealistic, or even foolish nonetheless, I do wish to go on record and profess them. Because I feel the only way to put a stop to this emanant catastrophic ending is to do some serious introspection and to mend the way we practice our profession. Even if these ideas seem regressive.

1. Stop Charities:

 We should stop all free services to patients and the public. Nothing in this world is free so why should our time, intellect, and money be. individually these charities earn us absolutely nothing, not even a brownie point of credit. and even while rendering free services you are liable to persecution for your mistakes. If we offer our services in association with NGOs, schools, or corporate organizations, the credit is stollen by them. The organization gets a grant or an aid or benefit in taxes and we are left with ‘Babaji ka Thullu’

I do understand that some of us by sheer virtue of the goodness in them are always itching to help the poor but my argument is that we resist all urges to indulge in these acts of foolishness. Even if we wish to extend our services to the needy, we should do it only after we receive a written request from the authorities, and in lieu of offering free services, we should bargain subsidies in electricity, taxes, etc.

2. Stop hero worship

Stop hero worship:: Where are those celebrity doctors whom we idolize, who spare no opportunity to appear on television and showcase their upper-class connections, those corporate biggies who apparently have a say in policymaking ( devising norms of practice to benefit themselves). They are silent while an average doctor is fighting for his rights–rallies, Dharnas, and strikes, everything by the ordinary souls.

3. Stop being a common man:

Medicine was once considered a noble profession, so let us go back to that era, keep a distinct line between GODs and followers, if at all, we should demarcate this line of differentiation more boldly. I am reaching a point where my experience says that we resist mixing with the general public. We should stop sharing our knowledge with people who have absolutely no respect for our wisdom and hard work. It is purely to the dispersion of our hard-earned experience and pearls of knowledge on television, on social media, and in public meetings that people with the malicious mind are able to point arrows coated with half-baked poison at us.

4. Stop compromising with our lives:

 Abandon practicing at odd hours. You are also a human being and your own body needs the comfort of natural diurnal rhythm and routine of timing. Doctors plan their clinic timing in the evening so that patients could avail services after their day’s work. Why? Why are we bending our knees to serve them? The more you bend the more vulnerable you will be and the more worthless you will appear. I feel we should strictly practice 10-5 as normal human beings. Let patients take off from their offices or other work if they wish to consult you. They will value you more. Emergencies should be marked as emergencies and catered to as per a separate protocol set for dealing with them. A protocol that will give you additional liberty of investigation and treatment.

5. Restructure our IMA functionalities
  • Where was the local IMA office bearers and the members of central leadership when all this was happening with her? Why a crisis management cell is not in force in these times clouded with dangers all around? We need to restrengthen our faith in our apex organization.
  • A crisis management cell needs to be created that should have legal, technical and critical care experts. the team should hold meetings at regular intervals and should conduct mock drills if needed to create awareness.
  • IMA should not allow the local branches to have separate existence without strong coherent bond with the central leadership. Before being surgeons. gynecologists, pediatricians, etc. etc., we are and should proudly be the members of IMA. All activities of different specialty organizations should be organized under one banner of IMA.
  • Members should be motivated to, not only take active participation in politics but also we need to vote en mass, defining our own vote bank.

Unless a sort of surgical strike is done into our practice style, Obituaries are bound to grow in numbers.

PS: If you agree or disagree with ideas please come forward and share your thoughts, I have a few more points and will pen them down along with your suggestions

 

10 Comments

  • Seema

    In small towns , working is very difficult as no facilities of blood and anaesthesia and surgical help sometimes even our own colleagues don’t help.
    Complications are part of medical field.people don’t realise and try to make doctor the scape goat.a very pitiable position.

    • shishirdr

      Righty said, that’s why we need to work on our own terms and as per the will and fancy of attendants or authorities. For every bit of charity we indulge in we must ask for a written request from the person concerned, be it a politician or a government official.

  • M Nandakumar

    I am an Indian eye surgeon practising in Colombo .With regard to one of your points, my two cents based on my experience here .
    When I first came to SL in 2005 with apollo , most local doctors were practising 9 to 6 only . Strictly by appointment. Pts really valued those appointments. Apollo came in and brought a bunch of us from India. As is our wont, we started the trend of 24/7 practice. Locals felt threatened and a few started the same . By 2009, competition also started increasing locally . More doctors fed into the system . Now its 24/7 like india.

  • Dr Devesh Kumar

    I storngly feel ,IMA or District Associations,itself are not a united lot they keep on fighting for their petty causes or political inclinations,making different gps. Not worried about Doctors or there interests/welfare.Many of them proved corrupted but even then they were holding the associations by their Chamchas It’s pity for us ,that no strong/selfless/wise/real caring for Medicose /ideal Leader lead us.Hope for the best.

  • Bhagyam Monga

    Well said shishir. Work life balance is important for a doctor. We need to establish boundaries and start giving importance to self care too!

  • Kala

    We doctors need to stop competing amongst ourselves , stop feeling insecure about our practise .and stand together for each other . Or we will be fast an extinct species . Especially the small setups owned by doctors .There will be only business centres ie the corporate hospitals which will own the doctors and the pt treatment . And the biggest loser will be the society

  • Dr. Indu Saxena

    Really well said Shishir, we really need to share our tensions and suffocation with each other.Such calamities are definitely hard for the family but such manipulation of events should not go to our heads. And when your peers ,co doctors to second you, stand by you, there is always strength. Yes, its time to be one , uplift each other rather than competing and downsizing the other.May we learn.

  • Pramod

    We are a democracy.
    Or rather a caricature of democracy called mobocracy.
    Respecting an expert is frowned upon as “elitism”.

    A European leader (his name is a taboo) once asked in his (in) famous book ,” if a surgery is to be done, will u consult a surgeon or will u take popular vote?”

    In india answer to this question, especially in case of caeserian section in a nursing home is the second one. One takes the popular vote.

    The gynecologist is assumed to be looking for money by advising surgery when not needed.

    Unless as a society we learn to respect the experts and the educated, same thing will keep happening.

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