The great Greek physician Hippocrates once quoted, “Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity. ” Doctors, no doubt, put their sweat and blood in treating the patients. The amount of hard work they employ during those 5+ years of graduation can never be imagined. Things do not end here, they further dedicate their entire lives to the patients they treat. However, the world still looks at them as ‘money-making machines’. They are thought of as people who do M.B.B.S only for the sake of money. But the question for the modern-day population is, “Aren’t the doctors paying a heavy price for entering the profession?” The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world badly and escalated pressure on doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff members. The role played by healthcare professionals is enormous, it can’t be measured. Various serious issues concerning the healthcare staff can be seen during this harsh time. The biggest problem faced by medical team members is safety. They are not safe in the true sense, especially in India. The first thing to be discussed in this context is the lack of PPE kits. In March, many doctors had to wear raincoats and helmets as there was no proper protective equipment available. A report by Reuters claimed that India needs at least 38 million masks and 6.2 million PPEs. There was also speculation that the country required over one lakh PPE kits per day in March but the number of kits available was very low. This forced doctors to compromise with their protection and safety, which resulted in many doctors’ contagion to the virus. Since the onset of the infection, along with the general public, many doctors have also tested positive. The matter is of great concern as doctors and healthcare workers have been the frontline soldiers fighting against this pandemic while risking their lives. Lack of proper medical protection kits is humiliating and unsafe at the same time.
The problem doesn’t end here. The country’s doctors and medical staff are being attacked by mobs. Many incidents have occurred so far where people attacked the healthcare workers when they were on the ground for testing.
Incidents like these question the morality of people. A doctor died serving the nation and that’s the kind of tribute he gets. The safety of healthcare workers has always been of grave concern. But limits have been crossed this time. How doctors are being treated in India is somehow affecting the spirits of young and aspiring medics. The unsafe and disrespectful environment is making them question their decisions. The hard work they put in for becoming a doctor has started to feel like a total waste of time and money.
Tarishi Kabra is an aspiring Doctor and has completed her MBBS this year. On asking about what she feels about the current scenarios in which doctors are coping up with fighting the virus and saving themselves from the mob at the same time, she says:
“Let me answer that question by putting some light on this incident where a doctor died serving the Corona patients and when it was time for his last rites, no one was there to take him to his grave. Instead of being respectful, people threw stones at him. After serving all his life in this noble profession, did he deserve this? Does his family deserve this humiliation? The answer is a big NO. Let us see what the stages in a doctor’s life are. So, we all know that it takes 5.5 years to be an M.B.B.S graduate, 3 years for doing the postgraduation, and we have super Specialisation after that. We just don’t get everything served in our plates, it’s sheer hard work that gets us through. We have an entrance exam for everything and now exit exams too. Basically, we all know this, right? What you don’t know is what we go through to get that tag! There are not hundreds but thousands and millions of sleepless nights to learn and understand how to save someone’s life. I might not be wrong by saying it takes our sweat and blood to become eligible to do what we do. We don’t get to go home for ages and in return, we don’t ask you to call us Gods. Respect is all we need. We spend more than half of our lives studying hence we deserve a better future. But the current scenario makes us question our choices. It disappoints us when we hear about an attack on or death of our colleague, we fear for the future. I still feel that the laws are not up to the point, strict laws need to be amended and strict actions should be taken against those causing harm or breaking the laws. In this hardship of Corona, people still misbehave and want to run from isolation! A COVID-19 infected person needs to stay isolated for 14 days. What people don’t know is a doctor ttreating a COVID 19 patient needs to stay in isolation for another 21 days. If it’s hard for you, it’s much harder for the doctor. Many celebrities are posting videos to render support the healthcare staff, which is appreciated. But this is not enough, where is our security?”
Another second-year MBBS student studying in KGMC, Lucknow conveys her thoughts on the condition of anonymity.
“Seeing the horrible incidents that are happening to the doctors makes me, an aspiring 3rd-year MBBS student feel a little bit uneasy. It makes me question my choice and struggles I’ve put in to reach here. We and our seniors spend day and night studying hard, attending clinical postings, missing vacations and family to serve the country at all costs, to serve the people, and seeing this kind of response from people makes us feel sad. It has obviously made us feel insecure and scared, and especially our parents who are more concerned and worried than anyone else. I’ve seen resident doctors from my own college being attacked and there’s no one to save them. People watch it standing blindly as if it’s a show. Violence against doctors has come to light to the general public only now, because of Covid19, the truth is we’ve been facing it since the beginning. Long gone are the times when we were considered next to God. Now, we are really scared and we question our choices. But as our college logo says, ‘Sincerity, Service and Sacrifice’, we will stand firm as long as we can, serving the country at all costs. I’m scared but I’m not a coward. I will stand by my choices and will serve my purpose whenever needed. We just hope and wish for the people to understand that doctors are also humans. That’s all I ask as an MBBS aspirant.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has scarred many people but the doctors and medical staff are the worst affected. They need protection, safety, and respect. Stricter laws need to be implemented, fake news should be tackled, and scams need to stop. By the time all this happens, the general public should respect the healthcare staff as they are the frontline warriors during this harshest time humanity is facing.