When a child is selected for MBBS/BHMS he/she is darling of everybody, but the moment one clears MBBS/BHMS the whole attitude of society changes. The society adds 20 years to the age of doctor the moment one enters the profession and one has to live and behave like a person of 40 year of age.
The doctor is only made for service to mankind and to do charity. So amount charged as professional fee is always more.
Even on slightest acquaintance doctor is not expected to charge otherwise one is labelled money minded and arrogant.
The doctor is expected to be available round the clock and treat the patient despite his/her personal problems.
All the patients should be cured otherwise doctor is negligent. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can threaten, abuse, misbehave or damage property of hospital/clinic with impunity without any fear of law as patient is always the aggrieved party.
If any investigation is advised and it comes out to be normal, instead of patient being happy it is alleged that doctor is getting unnecessary investigations done for ulterior motives. If investigation is not advised and some mishap occurs the doctor is hauled in the court of law for being negligent.
If any tragedy occurs it is highlighted in media with catchy captions to ruin the reputation of doctor without verifying the facts.
All RMPs and unregistered practitioners write doctors in front of their name. All physiotherapist, naturopaths and even lab technicians write doctors and prescribe medicines. To common people they are only doctors and their misdeeds are contributing to the bad name to this noble profession.
If a doctor prescribe drugs of local companies or cheap drugs it is alleged that one is prescribing substandard medicines for personal gains while many times cheaper substitutes are prescribed according to economic condition of patient.
Only doctors are forced to work in rural and government hospitals to get the degree. In no other profession this is mandatory. No lawyer is ever asked to work in Gram Panchayats, no engineer is asked to work in various rural projects of the government.
The government wants that doctors should not work and settle in foreign countries but there is no such demand and proposed restrictions on IIM/IIT graduates.
As per NCHRC Bill, for a doctor doing any occupation other than medicine is misconduct. Why single out us? Are we not the free citizens of India?
Clinical Establishment Act gives power to District authorities to impose fine up to Rs 5 lakh and even closure of clinic. There is no such law for any other profession.
We do not decide prices of drugs. MRP printed on generic and branded medicine is almost same. But there is substantial difference on MRP and actual cost of generic medicines and surgical items e.g. IV cannula, IV fluids, crepe bandages etc. Why is the government allowing inflated MRP printed? The fault of Govt. is projected by media as fault of doctors to increase the misconception about doctors making money unethically.
Medical profession is recognized as a business by law. We don’t get space for clinics/hospitals as subsidized rates, rather we are charged more. We give electricity bill, house tax etc on commercial rates.
We have to deal with many govt agencies, face harassment from them as they consider that doctors are the softest target, e.g. Development authorities, Municipal authorities, Fire department, Labour department, Income tax, Pollution department, to name a few.
We invest the maximum time; 6 years to get the basic qualification. Compared with any profession, this is 2 to 3 years more; also compare the money that we get at that time with other professions.
We work under maximum mental tension as we are accountable, have emotional attachment with our patients, work for long and even odd hours, working even when we are not well. The threat of violence and litigation looms around us all the time and even harassment by Govt. agencies is routine. No doubt, why biology sections in most of schools are shutting off?
The double standards on the part of Society in general and government in particular defy all logic. On the one hand they charge us everything at maximum commercial rate, impose different type of taxes selectively and in return they want charity from us in the name of noble profession. This unilateral expectation of society really hurts. Why are only doctors expected to work selflessly? We don’t deny that there are some black sheep in medical profession but which profession is without black sheep. We are also part of a society whose moral values are going down very rapidly.
What can be done!
- It is only the faith of people that is the saving grace. The response of treatment depends upon faith of patient on treating doctor. Any act which weakens this faith (as recently in a TV programme) is doing irreparable harm to doctor–patient bond and causes immense disservice to society in long run. It is most unfortunate and should be avoided.
- Unqualified medical practitioners and physiotherapists should not be allowed to write doctor in front of their name and prescribe medicines.
- The government should make clear drug policy and MRP written on generic drugs/surgical items should be actual cost and not the inflated price.
- Media should exercise restraint in reporting mishaps (medical accidents) to increase their TRPs.
- We should identify black sheep amongst us and report to authorities to take necessary actions as per law.
Last, we should introspect ourselves; we have taken oath to alleviate pain of society and should do everything to this cause. OUR PAIN COMES LAST, but at least we expect the society to treat us with dignity.