It is time for some serious soul-searching, India. Doctors need your help to end this cycle of violence NOW.
I too was part of the brigade that steered clear of doctors for the simple reason that I felt the profession was not noble any more. Everyone is in it to make money and this is a business more than anything else. This collectively held belief in our society makes us see doctors as a hoard rather than a group of individuals. Individuals who are as human as you and me. Humans with feelings and emotions. Emotions tied to their loved ones – family, friends, people. People who have expectations from them – of time, of love, of money. Just like you and me. This realisation dawned on me when I met Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan, a man who works harder than anyone I know. He does 50 hour shifts regularly and in his own words,
At the end of today’s 30 hr shift, I come home to sleep today. And tomorrow I start a cycle of 48 hrs which ends on Sunday morning. I have to do this because in 90% of India, u have an acute shortage of doctors. So at the end of what is 78 hrs with 12 hrs of rest in between, I have to ensure I have the same level of concentration at the end of hour 78 as I did at hour 1
Dr Shalaka, a lady I went to school with is now a successful doctor. I was discussing this issue with her and she says,
I hate being so guarded while treating patients. You are always thinking of being medicolegally correct. Even if you know the diagnosis by clinical examination, you have to advise investigations to prove it on paper.
There’s no denying that there are black sheep in our profession. Bt you find them in every profession. You cant taint the entire fraternity for that.
The last thing a dedicated band of doctors like them should worry about is their safety. We, the educated Indian needs to stop making heroes of shouting buffoons on TV and shift our focus toward men and women like Dr Roshan and Dr Shalaka. They save lives. They alleviate pain. They end suffering. Let us thank our doctors. Not beat them up.