In the article “Doctors in the dock but why? (Open Page, Jan. 15), Sumanth C. Raman has made some relevant points. One thing on which there can be no doubt is that attacks on doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are on the rise. His observations, therefore, need to be taken seriously by doctors, hospital managements and the government.
After suggesting steps to increase awareness among patients, the author says “this is unlikely to happen as the medical fraternity is bound to resist such a move.” Isn't this scenario more tragic than Dr. Sethulakshmi's murder?
The murder of Dr. Sethulakshmi of Tuticorin by her patient's husband was shocking. As a medical practitioner for over 44 years and also as one who studies similar problems, particularly in Kerala, I know that such incidents are on the increase. The sudden and violent reaction of the relatives is the prime reason for the attack. The Indian Medical Association has been trying to educate its members regarding the guidelines to follow while dealing with serious cases. Proper briefing about the expected complications should be given to patients before and during the treatment. Doctors often ignore the guidelines and become victims of violence and legal problems.
The articles on the medical scenario are really scary. The doctor is always treated with extreme trust and reverence. A member of this noblest of professions is always looked upon as next only to God. Some of us born between the 1940s and 1970s were fortunate to have had the benefit of dedicated and committed family doctors who knew the health history of the family members from birth and seldom, if ever, sought even investigative tests. They invariably dealt with the maladies with simpler medications.
Deterioration appears to have set in since the late 1990s, with the commercialisation of medical education, and service through corporatisation of hospitals. It is frightening to hear that sometimes over-powering greed results even in organ trade without the knowledge of the individuals.
The articles brought two incidents to my mind. One happened 27 years ago. My mother who fell ill suddenly was taken to the family doctor. The doctor advised us against hospitalisation saying what she needed was just the presence of her children around her. In a few hours, she passed away peacefully. The doctor thus prevented the agony and suffering of a patient.
The second incident happened two years ago when my critically ill father was hospitalised on the advice of the doctor. One day, the doctor called me at 9 p.m. and asked me to get an ointment. He said it would bring a glow to my father's sunken eyes.
The next day, my father died. Knowing full well that my aged father had no chance of recovery, why did the doctor expect an impossible glow? I have no clue to this day.