VIOLENCE AGAINST MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
Medical profession is at a crossroads like never before. Till about the turn of the 20th century, medical profession carried the tag of being Noble in capital letters. There were no ifs and buts about it. Doctors were considered next to God and their work was more of service towards humanity as opposed to being a profession or business.
Then, the winds of capitalism started blowing and like everything else- swept the medical profession too. The neighbourhood Doctor uncle, now had a plush upmarket clinic. He wouldn’t see you without an appointment. And the appointment won’t come without a heavy fees!
The Doctors’ bank account was, of course smiling, but the patients were not. They had little choice however- so they toed the line, paid the fees, received the treatment, and went home. Gradually however the earlier loud and heart-felt “Thank-You..s” were getting muffled. They were after all ‘paying’ the Doctor!
Every little error, delay, mistake (or even the absence thereof) from the doctor/hospital was now being weighed on the scales, proportional to the fees that was charged.
“It’s Quid Pro Quo” – they said. “If we pay a fees, we want guaranteed results regardless of the disease or condition of the patient. Else, you will face our wrath”.
Certainly, it is – but unavoidable.
In India, like the rest of the world, about 75% of medical practitioners have faced violence of some sort or the other at the hands of the patient or his relatives. 0.5% of these doctors or hospital staff members have suffered serious injuries in such incidents.
Deplorable to say the least!
Certainly, a few black sheep have helped to add fuel to the fire by showing gross negligence in care or doing their professional duties towards the patient.
But does that mean that the entire medical community must shout “Mea Culpa” standing atop the Eiffel Tower?
So, is there a way out?
This is no time to make harsh laws. Multiple laws are already in place. But things are getting no better.
What is required, is the unity of medical fraternity, to not only protect their own rights, but also to flush out among themselves those who are sullying the name of this Noble profession.
Also, it is paramount, that empathy be aroused among people at large with regards to the efforts, time, money and the man hours spent by an individual in becoming a Doctor.
The most crucial work required at this stage is to remove once and for all, the word – ‘Social Service’ which has become a synonym of medical profession.
It is high time, that the society and the government appreciates, that we are Doctors by profession – and we will do social service, only by choice just like anyone else. You cannot force-feed ‘social-service’ to this profession.
Money – the world must understand, is not a bad word – even for Doctors!