Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Disease, Doctors, Drugs, Devil and Death

I am NOT a doctor. I belong to a family that has 16 doctors spread over 2 generations, multiple geographies and many specialities including Cardio, General Medicine, Urology, ObGyn, Radiology, Public Health as well as Hospital Management. I have seen the intensity with which they do their work, the dedication, the carelessness, the maturity as well as the money they make. I am aware of the pressures and risks they face in everyday life. I have seen doctors who can save as well as ruin lives. Much has been talked about the medical fraternity since the Satyamev Jayate episode on medical practice. I thought I will add my two cents as well.

For the general population in India, doctors are regarded as life savers than life wreckers. And they surely are.

A doctor in India doesn’t have a reasonable doctor: patient ratio. He is expected to provide personal care and attention to all of them at the right time. This is a near impossible task. Further, patients in our country don’t do what the doctors ask them to do. Despite lack of facilities, lack of patient cooperation and extreme pressure, doctors in India are delivering awesome results.

Unjustifiably, their results are compared with Dublin and Harvard where doctors are a protected lot. They have a perfect doctor: patient ratio, proper insurance and excellent facilities. Patients are extremely cooperative. Outside of the third world, it is near impossible to meet a doctor. They will not give you an appointment in the US or UK without making you wait for atleast 3 days. Here in India, that isn’t the case. The doctor is always available, ready and eager to help.

So stop cribbing about your doctor unless they are callous and bad. Ask them questions but don’t badger. Show some maturity and concern for their time. Ofcourse, your health is most important to you but then, there are many others like you as well.

Don’t ever go to a doctor thinking that he will steal your kidney/ organs. India doesn’t have great organ storing facilities and not every doctor can steal organs. Even if they steal, they can’t keep it in a fridge or something. You know those movies where they show as though the entire eye of one person is replaced on another? That is never the case. Only an inner membrane from the eye is taken and replaced! So one can’t see his lover’s eyes in another!! Stop watching stupid movies!!

Half knowledge is always dangerous and most of India is armed with this lethal weapon. They read something on google and go pester the doctor with questions. Sure, the doctor has to answer all your questions and he is very much responsible to allay your fears. But please understand that he is much more knowledgeable than you or google on the subject. The doctor would surely have seen numerous cases, read enough about the disease and knows what the current trend in treating it completely is. Talk to your doctor, he will listen. Also, listen to your doctor, he knows.

It is important that people not think about money when choosing a doctor. Choosing the right doctor and right institution to treat an ailment is much less expensive than any other option.

They are doctors, not healers. No medicine can heal wounds. If your skin tears on a knife edge, a doctor can’t make skin grow on the wounded part. The body has to do that on its own. The doctor can only assist the body, fasten things and help relieve your pain within limits.

They are not healers, so they are not God. No matter how many MGR films you have seen, a doctor is not God. A doctor can only operate within the limits of his own knowledge, skill and facilities. You have the right to complain only if he is not doing his best for you.

Finally, he too is human and is very much entitled to all human emotions and errors. So, allow him some space. Show him some courtesy.

To doctors – If someone questions a medical malpractice (which is on the rise in India), it doesn’t mean that they are questioning you. So, please don’t overreact. We know that you have struggled to get a degree, that the Government is putting unnecessary pressure on you, that you have to be 30 before you can get start getting a decent income, that you have to serve in rural areas, that you have very high work pressure, so on and so forth. But very simply, that is not the patient’s problem. You chose this career for yourself for some reason. You have to take whatever comes with it and not transfer it to someone else. Also, I don’t understand how you expect the patient to understand all this! He has come to you for a service and is paying you for it, just do your best. It would be nice if you could stop singing this rant every time someone says there are bad doctors in this world.

The physical body is something very personal. Only because people trust the doctor, they reveal the troubles that it faces. It is not expected to be made fun of. I saw recently on TV, some doctor was saying, “If we strike, you will be helpless.” If I were there, I would have surely replied, “If I stop coming to you, you will be helpless too.” A doctor – patient relationship is mutual. One cannot survive without the other, in more ways than one.

You might have a thousand tensions and worries, but please do not offload it on your patients. If they ask questions, answer them, patiently. Do not make a patient wait. No one likes it – you haven’t descended from the heavens and they aren’t your minions. Treat people as people – everyone loves it and those who did it are definitely more respected than others. People in our country will go to a doctor more for his manners than for his qualifications. So, be nice to those who come to you.


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This entry was posted on November 6, 2012 by in Current Affairs and tagged , .

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