Doctors and patients: A healthy balance needed

Friday, 30 October 2020



Doctors and patients: A healthy balance needed

Bishaldeep Kakati | June 22, 2019 15:30 hrs

Not every individual living in this world possesses the unique quality to develop within themselves the wondrous skill of treating a person suffering from an ailment in a way that not only is the person cured physically but his mental wellness also gets a gigantic positive boost. These highly skilled, dedicated and hardworking individuals are known as doctors - professionals who command a lot of respect in the society because even the flat line of an insensate heart can be revived with different techniques only by them. The doctor’s impact in the society is as vibrant as the sunlight that regenerates new horizons of positivity among people. Someone had quite rightly said, “Doctors are no less than deities whose reassuring words are sometimes more powerful than medicines.”

However this deliberation is to bring into focus the prime reasons regarding the major imbalance that seems to have crept in regarding the doctor-patient relationship of the day, making it one of the most controversial topics of recent vintage. The salubrious balance between the doctors and their patients has, of late, been severely fragmented giving rise to a number of disputes and wrangles between them such that my lucid description of the doctor-patient relationship in the opening paragraph stands undermined.

So, let’s try and analyze the core reasons behind these incessant wrangles, these disputes just to understand which party might be more at fault that are more or less unacceptable and then confabulate about solutions that could resolve the prevailing predicaments.

Coming to medical science, every physician, after getting the MBBS degree, has to take the “Hippocratic Oath.” And a part of the Hippocratic Oath states that a doctor must treat his patients with all his knowledge and judgement without ignoring, and also must abstain from all intentional wrongdoings and actions. 
Disappointingly, the truth seems otherwise with a certain group of doctors.

In a recent show that was aired on a private news channel, a discussion was held to bring to light the unwarranted acts of a group of doctors whose utter negligence towards their patients was the core reason behind their deaths. In the show, a lady said that the absence of a senior renowned doctor (to whom she made a number of urgent calls) was consequential to the death of her child. On the other hand, an eminent journalist said that doctors’ failure to provide his wife basic first aid proved costly, leading to her death. Such cases seem to have become very common.

Secondly, there are also numerous cases of wrong treatment that seriously hampered patients’ health. There was an instance, where a doctor diagnosed a patient with tuberculosis prescribing high dosages of streptomycin. After proper investigation, it was found that the person was suffering from avitaminosis and not tuberculosis. In that scenario, the high dosages of the antibiotics were instrumental in causing severe dehydration in the patient. 

Moreover, there are also cases where threats to patients’ lives were because of the insincerity of surgeons. Cases like lacerating the intestine while removing the appendix, stitching a person’s gut leaving the surgical gloves inside the body or making a person go completely blind while doing ophthalmic operations etc are very common to descry which are not indicative of a healthy situation. Further, cases of homeopathic doctors prescribing allopathic drugs without proper knowledge are only worsening the scenario.

These facts definitely raise a question in front of a group of doctors: are they are being sincere to their Hippocratic Oath?

Such blunders by a section of doctors result in the victims’ families being forced to suffer and subsequently resort to some heinous crimes like bashing up the doctor almost to death, causing damage to the hospital involved or resorting to other forms of vandalism. Such acts however, cannot be accepted at all. Therefore, a salubrious balance between both the groups must be established at the earliest.

For this, the errant group of doctors must realize that they should be more professional and more oriented towards serving their patients rather than be defensive about their omissions. Although it is said that, “To err is human,” the doctors should understand that to err every single time while saving a patient’s life is not something that the society would accept.

On the other hand, members of the patients’ families should also accept that doctors are not deities that can alter the natural death of a person; every time a person dies, the doctor must not be at the receiving end of their anger and agitation. But if a wrong treatment is suspected, then resorting to legal recourse is the right thing to do.

(The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and G Plus may not subscribe to the same)

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