Vijay, a sixteen-year-old, was off to Nandi hills with his friends on a new bike gifted by his mother. Unfortunately, on the way, he was hit by a bus. Lying unconscious for almost an hour on the road, he was brought into the Emergency Department by 108 Ambulance without a pulse, gasping with dilated pupils and a ‘cardiac arrest’. The emergency team moved fast, performed the CPR, and the ECG showed some life. He was quickly put on life support with the vitals were monitored. The CT scan showed a substantial subdural with multiple organ injuries. The parents were heartbroken to hear the prognosis since he was the only child. The young boy could not be saved despite the efforts of the emergency rescue team.
The family was agitated with the news and began blaming the medical fraternity, despite their efforts. Although the boy was underage, driving ‘without a license or a helmet, and recklessly’, was not pointed out by anyone. This is the life of many in the medical profession who work day in and out, trying to help someone in need.
Alleviating the pain, mitigating the health risk, helping deal with a disabling injury and reinstating the confidence in a patient are just some of the things doctors do as part of their professional routine! As simple as it might sound, doctors work ‘round-the-clock’ to elevate the patients’ quality of life. The effort required is tremendous, and the expectation is often unrealistic, as it deals with the element called ‘life’. While doctors always work towards improving the patient condition, they cannot provide a cure in all cases, which is rarely understood by the patients’ attendants.
Times have changed, gone are the days when doctors were considered ‘god’ and the patients entrusted their health & life with them.
Healthcare has undergone a tremendous transformation. Technological advancement has increased the expectation of patients and brought with it newer challenges to the doctors.
Today’s challenges that doctors face:
Bitter Environment –
Doctors these days have been at the receiving end from everywhere - the public, politicians and governments. With the advent of modernisation, patients, public and the families have started thinking and behaving like mere ‘consumers’. The option granted to the public to file a case in the consumer courts against the doctors has forced doctors to adopt evidence-based defensive medicine. Although the doctors are quite often aware of the disease or disorder with their experience and clinical examination, they are forced to refer the patient for diagnostic tests which can serve as evidence in case of any dispute. Some of the rulings passed by the different courts in our country seem more emotional rather than justified. It appears entirely wrong to pass a medical judgement by a legal person as much as legal judgement passed by a medical person. A doctor in an emergency needs to decide in a few minutes while the law takes its course.
Many recent incidents have witnessed physical assaults on doctors. The political interference, lack of action against perpetrators of crime has come in the way of the performance of the doctors. Sometimes, doctors are caught in crossfire due to the statements made by politicians or medical policies formulated by the governments.
While qualified doctors spend years together to get the medical degree and specialisations, the quacks have been practising modern medicine illegally without any fear. While cases are filed against registered medical professionals, the unregistered escape. Neither the government nor the court has given any directions to stop this unsafe practice.
Internet dependent patients –
“Medicine has been described as an inexact science where two plus two is never four but a mystery”.
We have an ‘advanced’ set of patients who make their diagnosis and decide the treatment required based on unverified information - available online. Unfortunately, the patients do not realise that each one is unique and they behave and react differently to the same set of treatment. This necessitates a doctor’s role in making the right diagnosis and planning the proper treatment.
Assumption of the patients and self-treatment
Few patients practice self-medication. Even if they consult experts, they do not stick to the medication and diet prescribed by the doctors. They miss out on follow-ups and instructions given explicitly for a condition, which results in adverse consequences.
The way forward
Challenges are prevalent in every industry. The healthcare workers certainly understand their role in ensuring a healthy country. However, the society has to allow them to practice their profession without any fear or stress.
On July 1st, 2018 when the entire country remembers the legendary physician and the Chief Minister of Bengal, Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy for his immense contribution to the field of medicine, we would like to reiterate that doctors will continue to support and help in ensuring quality healthcare to the citizens. For, a patient living a healthy life is any doctor’s ‘ultimate satisfaction and salvation’.
Regardless of all the misconceptions, everyone needs them to stay in the pink of health and best spirits at all times. The caregivers certainly deserve better recognition for their relentless service and the millions of smiles they spread.
Happy Doctors’ Day!