By Jisha Krishnan
A recent study by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) shows more than 75 per cent doctors in the country have experienced some form of violence - verbal or physical - while on duty. Men (and women) in white coats are no longer considered God incarnate; there’s growing distrust among patients.
What doctors want is for us to understand that they would never knowingly harm a patient. Without mutual trust and respect, the very foundation of healthcare practice will collapse.
The new-age doctors’ biggest challenge, arguably, is to deal with patients who are armed with ‘Googled’ information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatments.
Knowledge is power, but half-knowledge can be dangerous. Especially when it comes to health.
What doctors want is for patients to realise that not everything that’s found online is true. There’s no harm in discussing what you have read, but finally only a doctor can take a call on what’s in your best medical interest.
Better public health system
According to the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017, drugs, diagnostics and emergency care services will be offered free of cost in all government hospitals. However, most patients are likely to continue to pay out of their pockets to avail of private healthcare services.
What doctors want is greater confidence in the public healthcare system, aided by latest infrastructure and more manpower. That way, there’ll be lesser burden on the private sector, which currently caters to nearly 70 per cent of India’s healthcare needs.
Change in perceptions
Despite a dismal ratio of 0.7 doctors and 1.5 nurses per 1,000 Indians, skilled medical professionals are struggling to find employment. The growing incidence of suicide among doctors in India - due to financial hardships – calls for urgent attention.
What doctors want is acknowledgment of the fact that medicine is not really the most lucrative profession. Doctors need to slog for years, after completing their MBBS, before they can earn a living.
A little empathy
Doctors have never really had a nine-to-five job. But, thanks to smartphones and Wi-Fi, the work-life balance of most doctors is going for a toss. This leads to an increase in cases of burnouts and stress-induced ailments among medical professionals.
What doctors want is some empathy. For patients to understand that it’s not always possible to respond to queries on WhatsApp or email. Sometimes, doctors need to switch off too.
Let’s do our bit to make this wish list a reality. Because there isn’t a better way to wish them a Happy Doctor’s Day!