When I joined medical school in 2018, everyone around me was brimming with pride and joy, for someday they all knew I would be (hopefully) treating them for free. I too was, extremely glad, for medicine was what I had worked for, and was always passionate about. College never proved me wrong, and was life-changing in so many ways, both academically and personally.
The recent pandemic crisis that overpowered global resources, however, got me thinking about how my timing of entry into the medical field was so ill-fated! At least, if I was an MBBS graduate, I could have been of some help, however small, to the consultants and paramedics working day in and out, tirelessly to tackle this global disease.
That aside, humanly speaking, we should be ever grateful to the national and State Government(s), which are coming up with a strategy after strategy to handle the sudden spurt in cases and to provide us basic amenities, and to the doctors and paramedic staff, who haven’t seen their own families for probably days together, the sanitation workers, police officers, the delivery personnel, shop owners and thousands who are working to ensure that our families, and we, are well fed and safe within the four walls of our homes, setting aside their own personal commitments and priorities. Each one of them is taking a significant step towards fighting the COVID-19 and they all expect one thing in return from us: to respect them and value their actions by staying home.
Another aspect as a medical student that bothers me is how quickly fake medical facts spread around. To quote a friend “Something more serious than the virus itself is stupidity.” Certain facts I see make me run towards my textbooks or Google, to see if they’re actually true. Because it is usually considered that “Doctors are always right, so are med students!” So. the extra responsibility on me is to ensure that I send every message only after proper scrutiny. When I say ‘me’, I speak for the entire bunch of like-minded people who hope to keep unwanted panic at bay, atleast for a little while.
The last main aspect is the fact that healthcare workers are mistreated everywhere. This isn’t a new issue for India, but during the times of trouble, we’re supposed to follow the “Anekta mein ekta” (unity in diversity) code, correct? Why are we getting news reports even now about doctors being attacked? Where does the faith that you have on doctors (that literally coined the phrase) “Doctors ko Bhagwaan maana jata hai” (Doctors are considered to be gods) go the second something happens beyond their control? Is it because you know that they can’t punish you more than the Lord of the Heavens can?
I end this article with one question to my readers. We are given the best training possible from our colleges to treat and manage any disease. Do you want us to undergo training in self-defence and how to deal with poor tempered people as well, irrespective of whether or not a pandemic exists?
Your typical Indian medical student.