Recently, an article popped up in the Mumbai Mirror regarding the ramshackle state of the Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Care Facility of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital, Kalwa, Thane. Being employed there myself, and realising that this pitiable state has a ramification that deserves a worthy mention, I was nudged to pen this piece of rejoinder for all my medical and especially non-medical friends.
Now, there ain’t any doubt about the veracity of what has been reported: the problems with intravenous fluids, dressings, and those very fundamental things that comprise a hospital are real. But what you don’t get to read and understand very often, is that your doctor is equally stranded in these hitches as you are. In the midst of this wreckage, there lies a doctor who laces up his boots every morning, knowing that he’ll have to work in these miserable conditions for over 100 hours a week; that he’d have to handle 50 patients with the resources for 5; that he’d have to skip his meal for that night; that he’d be under obligation to turn his patients away despite all his brain and heart; that every passing day sees his life running hopelessly into lifestyle disorders — and that at some point or the other, he has to settle with all of this with a smile on his face. And that’s the story of nearly every government hospital.
When you sit down and try to figure out the reasons behind your bitter experiences with your healthcare provider, you establish a long, complex trail of reasons: from a money hungry administration to red tape bureaucracy; from political sleaze to the derisory part of the budget we keep for healthcare. The Doctor is just a spoke in the wheel. Yet, it’s the doctor that takes your blows and clouts every single time. His character is questioned, and his morality put through the wringer. That’s because it’s the easiest thing to do and the simplest reason to perceive. We shortsighted humans can’t stomach anything intricate and complicated. Whatever is challenging to the understanding fails to leave an impression on us. And when coupled with emotions of loss and grief, we’re completely blinded of everything but what is in front of us.
What I want you to know is that there has been a severe communication gap between you and your doctor, and this has led to a tremendous turmoil in the medical fraternity. Doctors are taking to the streets, the IMA has to take to a ‘National Satyagraha’ to air our grievances, but you are not around to hear it. I urge you not to be persuaded by biased media reports against doctors; I beg you not to give yourself away to superficial perception of things. I want you to go out into the open, understand your doctors, their problems, their situation, and the root cause of your dissatisfaction. The doctor-patient relationship is seraphic, and is not meant to be desecrated with verbal and physical calamities. I want you to understand that your doctor has infirmities too.