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To practise or not

Doctors from the Indian Medical Association’s Delhi chapter with members from other states stage a protest against the rising number of attacks on the medical fraternity.

Doctors from the Indian Medical Association’s Delhi chapter with members from other states stage a protest against the rising number of attacks on the medical fraternity.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Doctors cannot always be held responsible for every death that occurs in a hospital.

Of late there have been instances of doctors getting beaten up, equipment being damaged and hospital property being vandalised following the death of a patient. Many patients are brought to hospital in a serious condition, too late to be saved. Some develop complications that cannot be alleviated even with the best medical aid.

Doctors cannot always be held responsible for every death that occurs in a hospital, unless it is proved beyond doubt that it happened due to medical mismanagement. Working in rural hospitals or clinics is even more scary. This is probably one of the reasons why many young doctors are reluctant to work in rural areas.

Society has become increasingly litigious too. Lawyers are available at the drop of a hat. Sections of the media embellish small incidents. Hopes of securing financial compensation from hospitals or doctors is also a great temptation. The easy availability of information about diseases and treatment on the Internet makes many a trouble-maker interfere with their questions.

Many doctors are beaten up mercilessly, sometimes with fatal consequences. Those who survive may suffer serious loss of confidence, afraid to tackle cases at night especially as help may not be available when something goes wrong. Some go into depression.

The fear of being attacked will make doctors practise defensively, overprescribing drugs or ordering unnecessary investigations. They may refuse to admit complicated cases or avoid performing certain procedures and refer them to major hospitals on the pretext of non-availability of facilities.

Doctors should ensure the correct treatment regimen is followed and keep detailed notes of all treatment given. They should behave courteously with the patient and relatives and assure them that the best efforts would be made. If there is any sign of trouble, they should call for a senior doctor to take over the management of the case.

Violence against doctors will eventually backfire on patients. They should not injure the hands that heal.

evabell214@yahoo.com

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 10:35:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/to-practise-or-not/article18956723.ece

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