There was a time when Bollywood movies used to depict doctors as Gods, there was always this good doctor who would do his best to save a patient. If he couldn’t, the only other entity who could save the patient would be God. Ab inhe dava ki nahi, dua ki zaroorat hain.
That respect (outside of films) was one of the major reasons that the idea of becoming a doctor entered my head. Today, I am sad when I read regular reports of doctors getting beaten up by relatives of patients because the patient didn’t make it.
Last week, three doctors across Maharashtra were beaten up by angry relatives. A Mumbai doctor who was practicing in a government hospital in Dhule was beaten up. Chances are his left eye is permanently damaged. The second one was in Government College, Aurangabad, when a doctor was dragged out of a operation theatre and was beaten up. An intern tried to stop the relatives but he was also assaulted. The final straw was last week when relatives of Rekha Singh, a chronic kidney patient, beat up Dr. Rohit Kumar because she died. I mean, she was a chronic kidney patient. She used to undergo dialysis and then she died.
Doctors do one thing, we delay the inevitable. Sometimes we fail. That is no reason to beat us up.
When we are about to get our degree, we take the Hippocratic Oath which quotes, “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgement, but never with a view to injury or wrong doing.” It clearly states that doctors treat patients according to the best of their abilities.
What you, the non-doctors, have to remember is that we cannot be right always. We are humans too. God forbid, but, in case there is a case of medical negligence, it should be reported in the court of law, instead of relatives trying to pass the judgement on their own. The doctor may have another emergency lined up, and because of the violence done to him, he/she will be unable to perform it, which may result in another casualty. In such a case, who is to be held responsible?
As doctors we do not have the luxury to go on an indefinite strike, or a protest. We have to save lives, we can’t afford to let an innocent man get killed because unreasonable people want to beat us. What we can do is ask for you people to keep your calm. And trust your doctor.
The Wisdom Tooth is a fortnightly column by Neil U. Mitra. Mitra is a practicing dentist in Mumbai. He has his clinic at Bandra where he takes time out to write for us after he finishes his day’s work. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org