Doctors Are Being Beaten Up In India Every Other Day

Every casualty, every hospital, works like a symphony. The doctors, staff nurses, attendees and security guards work in perfect synch- each one with a definite, vital purpose. There are no hierarchies here. We receive the patients, acquire the history, examine the patient- all this in a matter of minutes. Time is of the essence here. The life-saving drug is decided upon and administered in seconds. Each hospital staff is as important as the next. It is important for all of us to function as a unit to keep this symphony going.

A casualty is never about first come, first serve. It is about giving attention to the patient at immediate risk of death or disability first.

This is also the place where we gain expertise from practice. But practice requires a calm mind and the freedom to take prompt action without the worry of being judged by bystanders who don’t fully understand what is being done but are ready to judge anyway. This freedom is being taken away from us. Doctors and other staff working in the healthcare sector are abused and beaten up every other day. Nothing has been done to stop this. What have we done to earn this hatred?

The team works with the intent to not only save but to improve the quality of life- not to kill. We have been trained for five years to heal. We try our best to do what seems right at that moment. So please help us do our jobs. When we take up a patient, we try to do our best to keep them alive and well. Sometimes, they are actually beyond any kind of help. Stocking medicines, hiring specialists, deciding upon the number of beds in the ICU or the wards are not on us. That is the job of the administration.

In India, at the moment, there is just one doctor for approximately 10,000 people and one government bed for approximately 2,000 people. Our government hospitals are heavily understaffed. All this is not for lack of doctors or other healthcare professionals.

After passing out, when we go with our CV to apply for a job at a government hospital, we are shown a bundle of other CVs from fellow doctors, with a casual remark on how the hospital has vacancies, but are not hiring at the moment.

If the Indian medical education is so sub-standard that people think that beating us up is the way to go, please tell me how Indian doctors, who pass out from Indian colleges go on to become the best and most sought out doctors in the world? If there are deficiencies in the system, then please fix them rather than blaming the doctors who pass out.

We try to empathise. We understand that these are usually actions that come from extreme frustration and emotions. But this kind of mob mentality of ganging up against the doctors or healthcare staff is just not acceptable. We are not murderers or con-men.

We, the doctors and other medical staff have been going on strike every now and then in different parts of the country. Our concerns have only met with empty promises. No serious action has been taken on the assailants till date. The security system hasn’t been maximised. The number of healthcare staff are still not enough to meet the needs of the public. Our politicians blame the corporate hospitals for being money minded, but our government hospitals have the potential to be as good as or better than the private hospitals. The bests doctors and the best staff work in our health services. The cream lies there. We can do without a few statues. We can live with the old names for railway stations. The government is very much capable of taking a bigger fraction of our taxes to invest in the healthcare sector. Good healthcare is vital to our survival. That is our right.

As we doctors and medical staff try to raise our voices against this kind of abuse and maltreatment being done against us, please stay by our side. Help us do our job.  Today, we ask for your contribution to help us in helping you. Please raise your voice. Save the saviours.

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