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family life

Doctor's Day July 1, 2012; How Medical Practice is Changing & How to Respond to These Changes?

4y ago


July 1st is celebrated each year as Doctors' Day in India. This day has been chosen as a mark of respect to the contributions made by late Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, who left an indelible mark in the history of medical profession in India. July 1st was his birthday as well as the day of his demise in the year 1882 and 1962 respectively. Dr. Roy was not only a physician par excellence, but also a freedom fighter, a leader and Chief Minister of West Bengal for 14 years. The society is changing rapily. As doctors (ophthalmologists) we should be aware of how to respond to these changes? In today's world, sadly doctors do not hold the same place of respect as they did during the time of Dr. Roy and there is a steadily declining mutual trust, and erosion of the doctor patient relationship. While patients often complain that doctors are proud, indifferent, do not give them expected care, take hefty fees, are dominating and confuse them with a lot of medical jargon; doctors are also bitter about the increasingly aggressive attitude of patients, who are willing to fight at the drop of a hat, do not respect doctors or their work, always blame doctors for everything without understanding the disease and its consequences. Sometimes these accusations may go to the extreme with patients accusing doctors of willful misconduct or performing unwarranted surgery etc. and doctors accusing patients and attendants of roughing up doctors only because of medical complications, which sadly are an integral part of medical practice. This scenario is not good for society at all as hospitals and clinics are supposed to be safe havens for the treatment and care of the sick and diseased, and we can't afford to let them turn into battlegrounds. Also worth serious concern is the fact that recently there has been a huge decline in the number of medical aspirants (through the AIPMT/Medical entrance exam) and many of the toppers at school level have no inclination to join the medical field due to long and arduous training and very little rewards even after this grueling 10-15 year long training period. Other professions are far more lucrative in comparison and less stressful. Mostly the children of very successful doctors are also reluctant to join the medical field because of the extremely long studies and the long hours of work with no time for personal life on a daily basis. Of course, the decline in trust and values is a global phenomenon and affects all spheres of life, and the capitalist mentality and corruption have also affected the medical profession, but we should not generalize these negative qualities. We still have many good doctors who sacrifice their sleep and family life everyday to care for the sick at odd hours. For every case of alleged medical negligence, there are thousands of cases each day, where the doctors have helped save many lives and relieved patients of pain and sickness. Doctors also need to adjust to the heightened patient expectation in a changing society and make every effort to improve the communication between doctors and patients and to keep it pleasant. The recent episode of Satyamev Jayate brought some issues into focus once again like complicity of doctors in female foeticide etc. and these are issues that the medical fraternity needs to tackle before the external pressure mounts up. At the same time, let's not view things in black and white and let's not sensationalize every medical complication as a malpractice. Let us all resolve on this day to look inwards and try and improve whatever we can and urge the Government to do its bit like availability of better medical facility, and distribution of generic medicines to the needy people etc. Also let us remember that doctors are also just professionals and let us not expect them to remain untouched by all the capitalist changes around them. Doctors should also remember that despite all our problems, patients are often more troubled than us and may not behave reasonabl...