Whenever doctors get together, they love complaining. They complain about how hard life is; how little respect their patients give them; how hard they have to work for such little money; how the government makes onerous rules which are very hard to obey; how bureaucrats have forced them to become paper-pushers; and how their friends who were the back benchers and D-graders at school are now multi-millionaires who drive Mercedes , while they are stuck still driving a little Maruti. They complain about how hard it is to make ends meet; to find good staff; to keep patients happy; and to comply with all the mindless government regulations which are introduced every new day. I think the only thing doctors seem to be good at is complaining , and this is what they do all the time.
Of course they don't just complain about patients, politicians and lawyers ! They complain about each other as well - and they complain about how unfair life is in general . I think we doctors need to remember that it is we ourselves who are responsible for bringing things to this sad pass. For example, let's look at the PC PNDT Act. Doctors are actually being sent to jail because they failed to fill up a form correctly ! Imagine what kind of lesson you are conveying to doctors - that it is more important to fill up forms properly , than to take care of patients. And you can imagine that once this has happened , every doctor is going to be ten times more careful about ensuring the paper work is immaculately completed - never mind if the care of the patient suffers.
Sadly, it seems that all doctors do is complain , but they don't take any real action to improve the state of affairs . Doctors have clout - why don't they use it ?
I think part of the reason is that doctors are so poorly united . Because they are so busy pulling each other down, they can't get along with each other , and are not capable of taking any joint action. This is why politicians and officials play them against each other, and they start behaving like mindless puppets.
Doctors need to re-read Ayn Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged. Unless Atlas is willing to carry the weight of the world on his shoulder, nothing is going to get done. Now a lot of politicians and lawyers and NGOs who raise a hue and cry about protecting the female fetus have decided that all doctors are crooks, who are just out to kill unborn girls. Sadly, they don't respect doctors, which is why they don't listen to the doctor's viewpoints, even though it is doctors who do the ultrasound scans day in and day out.
I think if all doctors in a single town jointly decided that they would refuse to do any ultrasound scans for any pregnant woman, things would improve very quickly ! If a pregnant woman comes for a scan and the doctor says 'Sorry, I am not doing this scan - please go to a government hospital to get this done', then at least ordinary citizens will start learning how ridiculous the rules are, and why good doctors find these rules are so unreasonable - they make absolutely no sense , and don't help in achieving the desired goal of preventing female feticide. (Government officials recently sealed the ultrasound machine in the Ophthalmology Dept of Sassoon Hospital, Pune ( which is a public hospital) , just because it was an ultrasound machine - never mind that it cannot be use to do pregnancy scans !)
However unless the Act actually starts hurting politicians and lawyers themselves, nothing will change . The only way doctors have the power to make it hurt is by learning to say 'no'. The trouble is that taking care of our patients has become so deeply engrained into us , that we reflexively say 'yes' when a patient needs our help, and we go ahead and help them. We complain but we continue performing what we think our clinical duties are , and we continue doing what our patients need. However, by putting our patients first, we are actually doing a disservice to all our future patients. If society continues to treat doctors so shabbily, no-one is going to want to become a doctor anymore, as a result of which the quality of medical care will continue going down progressively.
The trouble is that doctors don't even bother to stand up for each other when something bad happens to another doctor. We usually feel sorry for him; pay lip service to " how unfair life is and how stupid the government is" ; and count our blessings that - There, but for the grace of God , go I. We rarely do anything concrete and constructive, and we fail to realise that the people who are gunning for that doctor today will come after us tomorrow - and if we don't stand up for our colleagues today, there will be no-one left to stand up for us when they come after us. Every doctor need to remember - " Ask not for whom the bells toll - they toll for thee. "
Dr Aniruddha Malpani is an IVF specialist who passed out from Bombay University, winning over 20 gold medals during his academic career.
Dear Dr. Malpani,
Your sympathies are misplaced. Although I agree that not 100% doctors are crooks but a vast majority are. And as far as protecting its own species are concerned, I would request you to read the blogs of http://www.pbtindia.com/. People for Better treatment started by Dr. Kunal Saha who lost his wife owing to carelessness at AMRI Kolkata. I myself would have lost my younger brother if I had not shifted him from AMRI to RIITC.
You will see how MCI is protecting one Dr. Ketan Desai who has been convicted. No, doctor Malpani, doctors deserve what they are getting, even more. They are making money from Pharmaceutical companies, Test labs and wherever they can lay their hands on.They carry out unnecessary test just for the sake of increasing the hospitals bills and also keep dead persons under the ventilator for days on end for the same reason.