Doctors need support and safety

Dr Arun Mitra
A doctor was called to the police station for inquiry into a complaint lodged by him against someone who had misbehaved with him. The police officer asked the doctor that why he did not retaliate when the said person was misbehaving. The doctor politely replied that as a doctor he is not trained to shout at anyone but to be modest, polite, caring, listening and serving to best of his ability. This is true for most of the medical professionals who have been bound with the books in their teenage and then on entry into the medical college further burdened with the huge syllabus which they must remember to be a doctor.
To meet the expectations of the society he is trained to be modest, caring and polite towards the persons who visit him for advice. During the training he forgets that once he comes into practice of medicine there is much difference between what he has been taught and what he has to do as a practitioner particularly in respect to the social behaviour. Generally speaking the medical students are not educated on how to win over the confidence of the patient and how to communicate with them in the event of a crisis.
Therefore for a young doctor many a time it becomes difficult to tell the attendants about the pattern of the disease. In case of death of the patient it is further a hard task for the young doctor to inform. Therefore it is very important that the young medicos are trained in the art of communication. It has become all the more important because degeneration in the society can be seen in every sphere and with the lowering of moral values, sometimes the attendants of the deceased overreact and even become violent towards the doctor. Young doctors have to face the wrath more often because they are the immediate contact with the attendants.
Violent behaviour of the attendants often is an immediate reaction because they had not apprehended a serious happening to their patient. Therefore they can easily blame the doctors for negligence. It is not that incidents of negligence do not occur, but it is not a routine as the doctor has to meet up to her/his reputation in the society and continue with getting goodwill of the patients. At times there are elements who suddenly crop up when such incidents occur and instigate the attendants to be in their good books and even worse they try to extract money from the doctor. Such incidents have lately increased in all parts of the country leading to extreme violence against the doctors at some places.
The doctors have now started protesting and demanding from the Government to make laws against such people who indulge into violence against them, their staff or cause damage to property. Some states have come up with such laws but they have not been implemented in letter and spirit. Therefore the doctors are now demanding a central legislation to the fact which should be a guiding force for all the states to adopt and for this the Indian Medical Association (IMA) had given a call for National Protest Day on 18th June.
Violence is not the only issue that the doctors are protesting against. The doctors have been under much physical and mental stress during the ongoing pandemic. Giving long duties in the PPEs has been a horrendous task. This has brought a definite behavioural problem in them which has affected their family life as well.
The family members of such doctors on COVID duties are equally under stress and fear. There has been demand that such health workers should not be put on more than four hours duty in one day in the COVID wards. In many parts of the country however the doctors have not been given their due. Just showering flowers on them from the aeroplanes cannot build up their morale. The doctors protested when they were not being provided the basic equipment to protect themselves from the virus. They also protested for higher wages when on such duties. Nearly 3000 doctors in Madhya Pradesh have threatened to submit mass resignations in case their demands are not fulfilled. They has conveyed their feelings to the Government and the society that they are ready to work but must be given due care in return.