Life was a matter of personal responsibility before modern medicine ended man’s struggle to survive when stricken with disease. With medicine having taken giant strides in terms of inventing cures for previously incurable illnesses, the quality of life has improved significantly. People no longer need to die without the opportunity to be saved.
A doctor is special, different. Unlike the rest of the professions in the world, a medical doctor has the ability to save life. As Indians, we have traditionally considered doctors to be Gods, to the extent that we think a doctor can do no wrong, he will always save lives, none can die once they are in the care of a doctor. Can there be a more unrealistic expectation?
They work anywhere between 24 and 36 hours at a stretch, almost on a regular basis. Working at least 100 hours a week, they are expected to find time to study in between. Moreover, there are no compensatory offs given.
Can you imagine getting a call from office while on a vacation, and they say they need to you urgently. You are to cut short your vacation and take the earliest flight home. For doctors, this is normal.
Recently, a doctor saved the life of a 46-year-old man who went into cardiac shock and nearly died on a plane from Kolkata to Chennai. Dr. JS Rajkumar, chief surgeon of Lifeline hospitals, along with two other doctors who were returning from a medical conference in Bengal, quickly rushed to his side. In such a panic-stricken situation, he managed to do wonders in the air without using equipments and technology.
In India, the situation of doctors is heart-rending, sad. They are blamed, and even roughed up in some cases, when a patient in his care dies. They have no security to protect them from grumbling, angry patients.
Government doctors need special attention, and respect. They have inadequate facilities and zero motivation. The Government cannot allow the situation to get out of hand. If despair prevails, there could be mass level shift towards private practice, which offers better money and working condition.