Friday, March 24, 2017

Save Doctors

Yeah, as if we are an endangered species.

Hello.. Been some time, I have been off. Nothing much to write about I guess. Although recently something has happened that has brought me back to writing.

It has a lot to do with the relationship between doctors and patients, and the growing mistrust. And it has something to do with apathy of the government towards it or the lack of sufficient infrastructure for health.

In my line of work as an Emergency doctor, I was in constant flux with unruly patient and their relatives. I got man-handled, received death threats and all that. I tried talking to my seniors and all they had to say was that I was the one who was highly qualified and better educated. I couldn't break down so easily. I had to be the one able to handle my patient and their attendants effectively. So.. I tried..

But let me tell you, it is tough. Considering the workload on each doctor because of the abysmal doctor-patient ratio, as humans, it sometimes becomes impossible to take the stress. And to top it when government fails in providing sufficient infrastructure, it is the doctor who receives the blow standing in the front line. How? Let's examine what is happening in Maharashtra.

In a place called Dhule, a person met with a bike accident. He was rushed to the nearest hospital. The first doctor they met told them that the patient was a case of head injury and since the hospital had neither a CT nor a neurosurgeon, it would have been best to take the patient somewhere the facilities were available. The relatives didn't take kindly to that and started beating up the doctor. The doctor sustained severe injuries on his skull, chest and elsewhere. He is also reported to have lost his vision on the one eye he was injured. Here are the details.

There is a YouTube video of the incident. One can be seen here.

It didn't stop there. Supposedly, the relatives, who assaulted, were jailed, and one guy committed suicide in custody. And the relatives wanted to file a case against the doctor for that, too.

Next was some news about residents being beaten up at another place in Maharashtra, Sion. This particular resident got slapped by a patient's relatives. This is his story about the incident.

Episodes preceding this incident and following this incident led to a huge cry by doctors there for their justice. A thread on twitter has been posting regular updates on the cases.

So, while the residents doctors were on strike, the senior doctors took over to fill in the gap as much as possible. But some people can be so incorrigible. One relative allegedly assaulted a female paediatrician, whose statement can be seen here.

Doctor in Maharashtra took to the street protesting, while those outside supported the strike on social media. Various tweets and posts on Twitter and Facebook could be seen.

Now one would expect the government to come in and act responsibly. But Bombay High court threatens doctor to resume duty.

Elsewhere doctors were suspended. It's a total chaos. The one place you seek justice, threatens you. A simple demand of increased security is not being met by the government.

On the other hand, many patients were suffering too. They were caught between this fight between debilitated doctors and apathetic government. Some 58 patients were reported to die during this strike. Everybody now blames these deaths on doctors.

Some senior doctors have tried exploring the problems. They have some well written articles on the web:
  1. India versus "The Doctor"
  2. We need to protect our junior doctors

This is what I last heard of the strike. (will try to keep the post updated as the matter proceeds)

Update:  Seems like the strike has been called off to an extent. Although the protest continues.

Looks like the political parties are playing their roles too. Details here.

I hope the matter resolves as much as possible. But it has not been eliminated yet. This rabbit hole goes deeper. The growing mistrust between doctors and patients is a social failure. Each one of us has to work towards a better society where everyone can live as healthy as possible. The mistrust needs to be ameliorated. Health is a joint venture, not the sole responsibility of a doctor.

Some blogs like Health Curator, Unwrap Health, etc. are trying to create awareness.

For a better future. Peace and harmony.

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