Nagpur: Nagpur Today has learnt from its sources that the Medical community of the city – and in fact, state and country as a whole – is seriously concerned about the rising instances of attacks against Doctors.
Specially vulnerable are the small hospices run by individual Doctors or physician couples since they cannot hire expensive security and are more exposed to general public.
When a person becomes very sick or critical suddenly, it is the closest hospital that the family thinks of taking the patient to. Often the Doctor running it is also known personally, and people are confident that he will take case seriously.
“But for us, EVERY patient is important and every case is taken seriously” says a General physician who does not want his identity known.
“Society at large is guilty of not appreciating or understanding medical fraternity, and the tremendous pressure and tension we work under. Every case is one of life and death – how many other professions have to work in that kind of pressure?
Often, making a diagnosis is a matter of ruling out other possibilities to hit bull’s eye. Many tests may have to be undertaken, there is an element of trial and error also. But we Doctors are not allowed any scope for human errors or difference of opinions. And the dire threats we face when the outcome is negative, not necessarily death, but even incomplete recovery or normalcy, we are blamed at once!”
After the recent case of a potentially fatal attack on Pediatrician Dr. Khalatkar – which attack was not made in the moment of grief by a bereaved father but a pre- meditated, brutal attack made almost an year later after child died of dengue – the fraternity has decided to get united to fight this threat to their lives.
The question haunting Doctors is – how safe are we ourselves as we go about ‘curing’ people and saving lives?
And this fear is not unfounded at all, it shocked this writer to learn that over 70% of city doctors have faced attacks, often getting hurt badly.
Even women Doctors have not been spared.
Often, Doctors do not come forward to lodge complaints – who has the time to keep making rounds of Police stations and may be worsen their own position in the process? If the first attack has not been grievous, the attacker may get provoked because of a complain and attack more seriously next time?
Even when complains are registered, attacks against medical fraternity is not taken seriously.
May be it is human nature. When a demise has occurred public sympathy is on the side of the bereaved family and if the onset of disease and death has been speedy, the first tendency is to attack the ‘treatment’.
In their grief and helplessness, often guilt as well (the family did not pay attention to the worsening health of a family member in time and by the time medical attention was sought it was too late!) people find Doctors and hospitals very easy targets. Specially if it is not a Corporate Hospital that has a good and fool proof security system, CCTV cameras and many guards and non medical staff on duty.
“Such cases have become far too many now” says a Surgeon; we have to think of our own safety now and get organized in our defense.
“Unfortunately, in this process, it is people who will suffer and medical treatment can get more costly! Small hospitals may take a policy decision to not admit or entertain critical patients at all and straight away direct them to GMC or a Corporate hospital… even in cases where primary and instant care may make a huge difference to the prognosis. The Doctor will always worry – what if the patient’s condition worsens? What if she or he does not respond to treatment as hoped?”
“People – and also unfortunately the ‘media’ too – need to understand one fact – no Doctor wants his patient to die! It makes him feel he has failed somehow, his time invested in the treatment was futile and his/ her hospital gets a bad name in the process. Worst of all is the demoralizing and emotional toll a death takes on the treating Doctor!
Have you known many of the clinical fraternity to have lived healthy lives well into their 70s and 80s? We Doctors, often die young!” Says a Cardiologist, who has his own fairly large hospital.
Another couple with their own nursing home, opine candidly – yes there may be some, few, unscrupulous elements in our profession too, like in any other, they may fleece some patients financially, but not one of them will like a patient to not get cured or die!
Doctors do not like to turn away patients who come to them for treatment either. It goes against the spirit of their profession – which is still a NOBLE one, and it certainly goes against their Hippocrates oath, but soon they may have no option left.
We have to understand that human life is indeed mortal. We all will die one day – no Doctor can keep human beings alive forever or treat every ailment successfully. But if we keep taking it out on the Doctors – we will only end up making them feel an endangered species, instead of being our saviors!
And if they begin acting defensively, or more and more of the fraternity discourage their own children from following them in the medical profession what are we going to be left with??
Expensive, and often impersonal Corporate hospitals whose treatment not even 10% of our population can afford.
We are still not a medical insurance covered society and there are many instances of people losing their homes and their properties for treatment of loved ones; or worse we have seen people watch their close ones die because they cannot afford treatment like simple ‘dialysis’ ( for kidney failures).
If small hospices close down or reduce in number, society as a whole will suffer more.
Time we, as a country, understand this fact of life.
It is sad when an internationally acclaimed hospital like Narayan Hridayalaya, Bengluru, has to display signs prominently reading:
“This is a zero tolerance place where violence against doctors is concerned!”
Let us dwell on this seriously, for our own common good.