The doctor doth protest…..

Suddenly doctors are the new victims. They feel that they are justified in shutting down shop and getting onto the streets for what they perceive to be a good cause.

One wonders why the doctors didn’t protest when not one ‘expert’ among them was found to testify against their own kind, even in the face of obvious denial or care or negligence.

Didn’t see any docs out on the street when empanelled private hospitals were cherry picking patients for the Vajpayee Arogya Scheme, selecting lucrative ones who brought profits and refusing to touch (literally) patients who didn’t bring in profits

Where were the doctor saabs when pharma was buying them plane tickets, international cruises, international conference sponsorships, drink and dinner parties and other such cozy memorabilia?

Oh and when the fact that stents were being billed to patients at 500% to 1000% the original cost, didn’t see no doctors protesting the lack of ethics

The reason there was no real control or diktats on doctors for all these years was because there was implicit trust in the doctor’s desire to do good for the patient. The reason the control is brought in now is that there is complete erosion of that trust. So is the patient to blame for the loss of erosion? – actually not. It comes from the doctors and the medical establishment, abusing, without any form of control – either individual or as a group, of the deep trust that had been (mis)placed on them.

The amount of power that a doctor exerts over a patient is not small. This power begins right from when a patient comes with a symptom, to deciding what tests have to be done, what procedures, what drugs, for how long. It continues even when patients feel that there has been negligence and files a complaint against the doctor. The doctor has for his defence, a bunch of corporate doctors as experts who will look at the patient, or if the patient is dead, at the patient’s relatives, as though they are clearly stupid. The experts will shake their heads as though they are amused at how little the person complaining knows. They will all unanimously say that the accused doctor is right and the patient wrong. Why aren’t any so called ‘ethical’ doctors protesting this gross violation of patient rights?

If a patient has been given a wrong diagnosis, a bad drug, an irrational procedure should there be no oversight to check? Should a medical establishment not been assessed to see if guidelines are being followed?
When doctors and their friends give their medical degrees to fly by night medical colleges that get IMA clearance without having even the bare minimum facilities, do we see these same doctors protesting for violations – NO SIR, you won’t.

So clearly the protesting doctors in Karnataka are like spoilt petulant teenagers who have to give up something that they never worked for and never deserved.

Still its good that they are protesting and hope it goes on indefinitely or forever. Their patients might visit government hospitals and get more accurate treatments and may even fight for all private hospitals be nationalised. Long live patient rights, long live public health services.


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