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Attacks on Doctors can never be justified
Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit6/15/2019 10:54:56 PM
Recently the Indian Medical Association called for a nationwide strike , stepping up protests by medical staff demanding better security at hospitals after an attack on doctors in Kolkata. The "barbaric" attack at the NRS reflected a national problem and called for a countrywide protest. The increasing instances of attacks on doctors have more to do with systemic failure over a period of time rather than any recent stray incident. The threat of violence though condemnable and unacceptable, in today's scenario, is enabling patients to get better healthcare. Violence can never be justified, least of all against someone who is ostensibly attempting to save a person's life. The number of incidents of attacks on doctors and other healthcare workers across the country has risen sharply over the last few years. There is a widespread feeling that doctors have simply lost the trust of their patients, the feeling patients should have is that the doctors will only by guided by the patient's best interests and not their own. Lack of working equipment in hospitals forces doctors to direct patients elsewhere, which also adds to the suspicion of doctors being hand-in-glove with laboratories, when actually the doctor is helpless. In medicine there are no guarantees and patients can develop complications despite the best efforts of the doctors but someone who has been told to expect a good result can be angry if the outcome is unfavorable. India spent an estimated 1.4% of its gross domestic product on healthcare in 2017/18, among the lowest proportions in the world. Many millions of Indians depend on the cheap but inadequate public health system. But with inadequate health budgets, there is a crunch in resources, staff and medicines as far as the patient is concerned. The state has also to reduce the load on medical staff and improve services in its hospitals. In government hospitals, doctors are overworked and under pressure from politicians who can interfere with medical admission, affecting doctors' self-esteem. The main reasons for patients' relatives to become violent are doctors unwillingly practise unethically, such as advising expensive unnecessary radiology, endoscopic, or laboratory investigations ,delay in attending patient, request of advance payments, or withholding a deceased body until settlement of final billing. Medication, forces doctors to ask patients to buy medicines from outside, which only makes doctors suspicious in the eyes of the patients. One major issue is the low healthcare literacy among the general public.
On the other hand, it is observed that doctors are more often the victims of criticism while their successes are overlooked. No doubt, it is a fact that the medical profession carries a heavy responsibility with it, but people need to understand that behind the white coat and stethoscope is a normal human being and like in all other professions, doctors too need appreciation for their work and efforts.
But with inadequate health budgets, there is a crunch in resources, staff and medicines as far as the patient is concerned. The state has also to reduce the load on medical staff and improve services in its hospitals. In government hospitals, doctors are overworked and under pressure from politicians who can interfere with medical admission, affecting doctors' self-esteem. The main reasons for patients' relatives to become violent are doctors unwillingly practise unethically, such as advising expensive unnecessary radiology, endoscopic, or laboratory investigations ,delay in attending patient, request of advance payments, or withholding a deceased body until settlement of final billing. Medication, forces doctors to ask patients to buy medicines from outside, which only makes doctors suspicious in the eyes of the patients. One major issue is the low healthcare literacy among the general public.
He is a source of hope and strength. Even in distress his duty is first towards his patient. Always remembering the famous Hippocratic oath, he pledges his life in alleviating the sufferings of the patients. One of the lines in the international code of ethics for doctors reads like this,"I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from its beginning even under threat and I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity." The international code of ethics also states that "A physician shall not permit motives of profit to influence the free and independent exercise of professional judgement on behalf of patients. "To the doctor, the life of the patient comes first to all other things. Doctors are also legally required to attend to patients and offer to them an undivided medical attention.
Doctors in India over the years have shown remarkable improvements and made definite progress in medical treatments that really need to be acknowledged. No matter what the reason, the doctor-patient relationship should be a partnership based on mutual trust and respect. In a relationship of trust and respect, there is no place for dishonesty. I understand that for doctors it is difficult to be "perfectly honest", as honesty may save a life, may take a life, and may hurt a patient. Trust, transparency and humility is necessary from both the sides. Patients also need to take responsibility for their health. Medicine is not mathematics. It is neither black nor white but shades of grey.
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