Crime Governance Law & Order

Stop Violence Against Doctors!

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The murderous assault on resident doctors by irate relatives of an elderly patient who died in NRS Medical College Kolkata has raised our hackles. To compound matters, the state government has given the incident a politico-religious turn and accused the doctors of refusing to treat patients of a particular community, agonizes Dr Amrinder. A Different Truths exclusive.

I am compelled to write in the interests of my fraternity, the much-maligned medical fraternity. We are distressed by the treatment meted out by the very people we treat in good faith. The murderous assault on resident doctors by irate relatives of an elderly patient who died in NRS Medical College Kolkata has raised our hackles. To compound matters, the state government has given the incident a politico-religious turn and accused the doctors of refusing to treat patients of a particular community!

How are we expected to dispassionately treat a potential litigant/murderer, who sits in front of us in the guise of a patient? How are we to function rationally and make the right decisions when a pistol is placed on our temples both literally and figuratively?

Fear was never a part of the doctor’s mental makeup. As a result of repeated incidences of violence over the years, it has become ingrained in our psyche. How are we expected to dispassionately treat a potential litigant/murderer, who sits in front of us in the guise of a patient? How are we to function rationally and make the right decisions when a pistol is placed on our temples both literally and figuratively? It is not only our clinical acumen but our very lives that we put on stake when we practice medicine. Why would anyone in his right senses want to become a doctor in the present scenario? Rather become a soldier and incur wounds in battles with the enemy instead of being injured or killed by the very people we take care of.

 Adding to our disillusionment is the attitude of the non-medico fraternity. Instead of outrage, there is a stunning silence. A doctor aptly summarises our angst

Where are they?
The aunty who thrusts her report on my face in the lift
The friend who calls to ask if XYZ is giving him the right treatment
The neighbour whom I tell which drug to take to postpone her periods
The person whose joint swelling I examine at a party?

Right, left, and centre advice is sought and given by doctors as service to society; free advice that people do not expect from their CAs or lawyers.

Right, left, and centre advice is sought and given by doctors as service to society; free advice that people do not expect from their CAs or lawyers. It’s high time we stopped doing it.

Dare anyone stop doctors from protesting on the plea that patients suffer when work in hospitals comes to a standstill! The public will have to make up its mind once and for all – do people die because of our ministrations or due to lack of it. If it is the latter, are doctors are wrong in demanding protection, justice and rigorous punishment for those who use violence against us?  How can a government, so mindful of the mental anguish of those aboard a jet plane that it makes the offender of a hijack hoax pay a fine of 5 crores as compensation, be indifferent to the plight of anguished doctors? It is beyond comprehension.

As it is, our profession is so stressful that the suicide rate amongst doctors is one of the highest.

As it is, our profession is so stressful that the suicide rate amongst doctors is one of the highest. Difficulty in gaining entry into medical college, the struggle through long laborious years of study, the meager salary grueling hours with lack of adequate sleep and nourishment, is beyond the comprehension of the layman. If the government does not take immediate and effective steps to safeguard the lives and interests doctors, it bodes ill for the future. All the bright students will opt out of this low yield, high-risk profession leaving it open for the mediocre. That will be the time when the public will really suffer or as an irate doctor puts it – receive its just desserts.

Photos from the Internet


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1 Comment
  1. Ashok Jahnavi Prasad 3 weeks ago
    Reply

    My compliments on this excellent piece ! I had myself grappled with this dilemma when I penned a column on the subject years ago in India Medical Times that provoked considerable debate !

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