Published On : Sun, May 17th, 2015

“Dear Child! Do anything, please don’t become a Doctor like me”

This is an impassioned plea from a Doctor father to his unborn child. Right here in India. We, as Indian citizens and common people, have another view of the medical profession altogether. We have ourselves had one or two “bad experiences” or have anecdotes of friends and relatives to quote how “unprofessional, unscrupulous, greedy and money minded” Doctors have become. “Not like before, it is not a noble profession at all” we lament.

So full of animosity the divide becomes occasionally, that when a patient dies, his relatives do not think twice about beating up – sometime even killing! – the Doctor held responsible. The hospital, nursing home, clinic is vandalized, equipment damaged, furniture upturned. With police watching mutely many a time… An unfortunate gynecologist in Haryana was shot dead at point blank range by relatives of a woman because he refused to do a sex detection test of the owman’s fetus.

When in Narayan Hridalaya in Banglore two years ago, I was stunned to see a warning outside the operation theatre that read
” this is a zero tolerance area for violence against Doctors”. Things have come to this?


Read these heart touching words from a blogging Physician about why he does not want his child to become a Doctor too.

A as walking down the street when it came across a group of young boys. The leader of the group spotted the dog and pointed it out to his friends. Seeing the boys, the dog too wagged his tail and barked, looking forward to being petted and making new friends. However,even as the pup wagged his tail, one of the boys picked up a stone. The boy turned to the others and told them how dogs are bad because another dog had bitten his grandfather years ago. As he nodded, a second boy picked up another stone even as he spoke of the incessant barking of stray dogs in his neighbourhood at night, disturbing the sleep of his family. A third spoke of how dogs are bad because of religious reasons. The others realized the wisdom in their friends’ words and each picked up a stone, aware now that breeds like this could not be trusted. The pup stood where he was, confused as he watched the boys come closer to him.

By the time night had descended upon the land, the boys had dispersed and gone to their individual homes. There was a sense of accomplishment, having stopped a menace from entering their streets. Lying bloodied and brutalized, the pup that had wagged his tail in hope of giving and receiving love licked its wounds. It was too young to know that the physical wounds would heal in due time… but it was now old enough to have learned to distrust the species of stone throwers. The most selfless creature since time immemorial now knew to hate… because that was what it received for no fault of its own. For the crimes of others, it had paid with its body and soul.

That, in a nutshell, is the reason why I will never allow you, my child, to become a doctor in India.
He is not in a minority. Ask Dr. and Mrs. Barads who are both Doctors with good practise in Nagpur. But their only son Rishi is studying to be a CA.

Omkar Pradhan’s entire family is of Doctors – from his Dad and his Mom’s sides. But when he finished his 10th his father told him categorically that he expressly forbids his son from aspiring to be one. “Don’t even dream of it, I will throw you out of the house” was his strict admonition.

Dr Rupali Jain’s only child is hell bent on being a Doctor – she wants to be a surgeon. Both parents are very worried about this decision and are still trying to convince her to do something else, anything else, in fact.

India already has a very dismal patient – Doctor ratio. For every 1000 patients, we have only seven doctors. It is one of the lowest in the world already, if more and more youngsters are discourages by their parents from going into medicine as a profession, just imagine our future!

So why do Doctors feel so strongly about their kids following their profession?

Here are some of the main reasons –

In India you are almost middle aged before you can begin your practise. Doing MBBS, then internship, then compulsory rural practise and then studying for your M.D. entrance exam, getting admission and finishing it, takes so long a person is close to 40 already! Till then he/ she is often dependent on parents financially.

With private Medical Colleges, often owned by politicians, the whole academic atmosphere is corruption ridden and many sources admit that you have to pay crores, “under the table” to get admission to the post graduate specialty of your choice.
Even big Corporate hospitals, not to speak of individual Doctors running their own hospitals pay pittance to their employees but at the same time making them work long hours.

That is the fourth but very important point – MBBS passed Doctors doing their Resident ships ( called Junior Doctors) are often made to go 2 – 3 nights without sleep and live on the hsopital premises taking care of patients. Would this be imaginable in any other profession? Say a pilot?

Now more and more stringent laws are coming in, that levy fines and even imprisonment for Doctors for any ‘preceived negligence’. This can include , believe it or not, not filling a form properly!
To again quote from Dr. Roshan’s blog

Are you willing to die for your profession?

The Indian Medical Association confirmed in May 2015 that in India more than 75% of Doctors have faced some form of violence at the patient’s hands in India.

75%. This is after admitting that not all cases of violence get reported to them. There are even instances of some doctors being killed for following the law. How do you explain that to his widowed wife? When was the last time you saw a software techie being killed off for not making an app properly? Still feel like using the ‘Selfless service’ card again? That’s a pretty thin card to keep playing while beating every 3 out of 4 doctors, don’t you think?

The recent verdict in one hospital called Joseph Eye Hospital brought the reality of the Indian mindset home to many doctors. Handing down verdicts of imprisonment to 3 doctors for the loss of vision of 66 patients following an eye surgery camp, the judicial system showed an amazing lack of comprehension about what was going on. It does not need a rocket scientist to realize that a single trained doctor cannot make the same mistake 66 times in 66 different eyes on the same day. The obvious answer to such incidence of mass endophthalmitis is in the use of unsterile solutions used – the unsterile part being a fault of the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the solution.

There is no way for a doctor to know (without opening every individual bottle and testing them!) if the solution contains microscopic bacteria just as there is no way for you to know if there are any in your coffee before drinking it. And yet, to please a crowd baying for blood and money, even though it was obvious the fault lay with the tainted solution, the doctors were sent to prison. Sounds familiar, does it not? Remember what happened in Chattisgarh where women died after sterilization operations? Everyone knows the doctor’s name in that case. It was later proven that the fault was with the tainted medicines which were made in rodent infested factories. So tell me, what was the name of the pharmaceutical company and what action has been taken against it since then? You don’t know? How shocking!

Draconian laws, little respite

Not many are aware of this but just 15 days ago ALL gynaecologists and Sonographers went on strike in Maharashtra to protest against the PCPNDT act. This excerpt is from an interview of Dr. Hitesh Bhatt with Nagpur Today –

As Dr. Bhatt recounts his journey he narrates how as a gynecologist dealing with pregnancies and all the check ups and tests it entails he realized how draconian and one sided the PCPNDT act was. For lay persons that is Pre Conceptional pre natal diagnostic technique Act. In simple English this act is supposed to ensure that Doctors and hospitals do not disclose the sex of the unborn baby through sonography. This is for protection of the girl child whose numbers are dwindling in India due to all the abortions that happen when parents find out they are expecting a child of the ‘wrong sex’.

“This law has been absurdly and very stringently used and abused over 16 years now. Have the abortions stopped? Has the ratio of male vs female babies improved?” Asks Hitesh.

The reply of course, is no, it hasn’t.

Lastly, Modi has cut funds for Health Care showing how little priority this holds for his government.

As it is, India’s health care status is very grim. Very little budget is available by way of public health care and funds for fighting dreaded disease like TB, Cancer and HIV/AIDS.

One out of every 4 Indians is susceptible to getting TB or diabetes. We have the largest population of cardiac patients.
And istead of increasing our health care budget this government has made a 20% cut in it, in its very first budget!

All in all, India is no country any more to be a Doctor.

Neither is it a place one can afford to fall sick it seems!

… Sunita Mudaliar

To read Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan’s blog go to link