Doctor's Day Special Viewpoint- From Demi-God to Devil
Doctor's Day- A day in a year to recognise the selfless efforts of doctors to keep the society healthy is an excellent initiative. The date may vary from nation to nation. In USA it is celebrated on 30th March. In India, 1st July is celebrated as National Doctors Day. This happens to be the day on which legendery physician Bharat Ratna Dr B.C.Roy was born. Health care organisation and NGOs honour doctors on this day.
The word doctor, symbolises compassion, dedication, humble, honest, inspirational, idealism, sacrifice and demi -god. But in the current milieu the demi- god of yesteryears is being viewed as devil by the society.
What has gone wrong?
The medical profession is passing through its most difficult phase. The TRUST - DEFICIT between the
patients and doctors is increasing fast. Lack of health education amongst the masses is one of the reasons behind this malady. Even the educated persons are not much knowledgeable about the prevalent systems of Health Care and the LIMITATIONS under which present-day doctors have to work. It is high time that preliminary education about the health is imparted at preliminary education about the health is imparted at the high school level.
The ever increasing , 'out of pocket' EXPENDITURE on health care ; is yet another factor; responsible for the STRAINED relationship between doctors and patients. Very few families, plan a BUDGET for their health needs. Still lesser numbers have MEDICAL INSURANCE cover. Therefore, on one hand there is anxiety because of illness; on the other hand, there is the tension to pay the bills. This leads to misunderstanding and consequently, raised tempers.
The expectations of patients and their attendants are exceeding beyond any logic. The thrashing of doctors and ransacking of hospitals is taking place at the drop of a proverbial hat. The unfortunate episodes of VIOLENCE; which used to be occasional; are now becoming more frequent.
As a result of this, a good number of doctors in private practice have changed their ATTITUDE and PATTERN of practice. The critical patients are being referred to higher centres; for fear of mortality and consequent violence. The next generation of even successful professionals is not keen to take up this profession. It has been aptly remarked, " It is a blessing to be a doctor but to practice as one , in India is worse than sailing through turbulent waters." If present trend of violence against doctors continues; it would be difficult to find good doctors in a decade or two. difficult to find good doctors in a decade or two.
The public has to UNDERSTAND that doctors are an integral part of the society. And no civilisation can survive by having such CALLOUS attitude towards the custodians of their health.
If the patients or the attendants have some doubts about the negligence; they should clear the doubts
by sitting across the table. In few unfortunate complicated cases of death; postmortem can be got done. In Haryana, District Medical Boards for examining the alleged cases of medical negligence had been notified on 31st May 2017 vide No25/10/2017-6HB1, Haryana Government, Health Department; in pursuance of Hon. Apex Court orders dated 5.8.2005 in Jacob Mathew's case, passed in Appeal(Crl)144-145of 2004. The aggrieved attendants and patients can submit complaints in these boards to get their grievances settled.
But, in no situation, attendants or patients should take the law in their own hands. The 'lakshman rekha' of DECENCY; need not be crossed.
Those who indulge in such unlawful activities can be punished under , The Haryana Medicare Service per‐sonal and Medicare Services institutions(Prevention of Violence and Damage to the property ) Act, 2009. As per Section 3(1) of this Act, "Whoever, endangers the life of or causes any harm , injury, intimidation, ob‐ the life of or causes any harm , injury, intimidation, ob‐ struction or hindrance to any medicare service person in the discharge of duty or damage to any property in medicare service institution, commits an act of violence, which shall be an offence under this Act". Section 3 (2) specifies the penalty, for those who commit or attempt to commit or incite the commission of offence.
Imprisonment for a term of three years and liability to pay the amount for the damage caused to the medical equipment and property. The offence is cognizable and non- bailable. General public needs to be made aware about it.
Developing good relations between the patients and doctors is the NEED of the hour. It can be done by patience, understanding and a positive attitude.
The 'love-hate' attitude of giving regards like a 'demigod ' so long as the patient is improving and
viewing the same doctor as 'devil' ; if the condition of patient goes downhill , or the hospital bills have to be paid; though the patient is fully recovered; needs to be REVIEWED by the society.
The concept of medical profession purely as a social service; without any reasonable profits; is a mirage in today's materialistic society. A system of transparent hospital charges based on cost input studies needs to be evolved.
The opinion leaders , the social scientists, the government , health administrators and medical professional associations need to come together to devise ways to decrease the trust deficit between the doctors and their patients. The old concept of family doctor be revived . And a need based referral system for consultation with specialist and superspecialist doctors; be formulated to change the current practice of 'ORGAN' treatment ; to 'whole body and mind' approach....The qualified M.B.B.S.doctor playing the role of a coordinator cum family doctor. Thus there would be less chances of missing some findings in the clinical diagnosis as well lesser need for costly investigation by modern high tech gadgets. The latter are a boon as well bane of modern era ; depending on; as to how these are deployed.
I wish and hope that all the stakeholders shall pay heed to the issues raised vide supra to make our society far more healthier. Let us bring about a paradigm shift from the concept of treating the diseases ; to keeping the society disease -free.
We , the doctors, salute all those who repose their faith in us and give us a chance to SERVE them. The service to mankind is the ultimate source of satisfaction for all of us.
The viewpoint is given by Dr A P Setia, M.S. General Surgeon, Setia Hospital, Hisar and Patron IMA Haryana