As A Doctor In India, I Don’t Just Have To Save My Patient’s Life, I Have To Save Mine Too

Posted on January 29, 2016 in Society

By Pillai Vishnu:

stethoscope on open book on a white background
Source: Flickr

I write this post deeply pained, being a post-graduate student struggling to get into surgery. When I hear the news about a surgical resident being beaten up till his kidney failed, I wonder why am I struggling, why am I doing all this? What is the use?

When my techie friends are settling down in life I wonder why should I sit in front of textbooks trying to store the ocean of knowledge in my head. I thought I was doing it to be able to save lives, but hey, so was Dr. Abhishek. He was beaten up till his kidney failed, just for doing his job.

I am not ranting, but being in the system makes you realize how hard it is to be a doctor in India. From the countless exams to the vast amount of knowledge you should have at your fingertips, to the expense of getting a medical education, all these are greater than and not like any other professional course.

Once you are a doctor, the time you have to give up for patients, the continuous scrutiny of the system, the lack of family life, the lack of any life actually, other than your professional life is what we have to be ready for. Why do we do it then? The satisfaction you get when you put a patient out of his pain, to make him feel better. The job satisfaction is like that in no other profession.

I am not asking for any special treatment for doctors. All I am asking for is to give us security while we do our jobs. All I am asking for is to realize that we are not gods or magicians who can save everyone. All I am asking from you is, the next time you raise your hand to break the hand of a doctor, realize that the same hand tried to save your loved one’s life. All I am asking for is a little empathy.

The following are 3 incidences, among countless others that occurred in the last year, where doctors were beaten or harassed for no fault of theirs. Read them. Support us, not for nothing, but because we give up our lives so we can save yours.

1. Dr. Abhishek Jha was beaten up by a mob of nearly fifty people while the police watched because a patient died. He was blamed even though, and against his advice, it was the patient’s family that didn’t get a CT scan done and took the patient away.

2. A doctor in a general hospital in Trivandrum who treated a journalist was harassed by the media and politicians and was suspended immediately after the journalist died. It came out later that the death was due to cerebral haemorrhage and the doctor had done nothing wrong.

3. Three doctors were beaten up by relatives of a child who passed away due to dengue shock syndrome. This happened because of the unavailability of beds in the PICU. The availability of beds is not in the hands of the doctor but the general public seems not to understand that.

For this to change the general public should understand that they are just that – the general public.

Allow us to do our work without fear. Allow us to treat you without fear. Allow us to save lives without fear of losing ours.

Thank you for your time. This is a dilemma all the young doctors face. This is also one of the reasons why so many doctors migrate to other countries. Hopefully, you will understand the severity of the problem.

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