Sunday, June 20, 2021

Losing trust

We know that doctors are the most trusted profession. All of us fervently believe that doctors tell the truth and this has made this a noble profession. Indeed doctors have worked wonders. They have healed the wounded and treated the sick. Sadly this most trusted profession is slowly losing trust of the people in our state. Money now seems to drive this noble profession. Devotion appears to be gone, professionalism no more. Doctor patient relationship is now getting completely commercialized. Undoubtedly doctors are also human being with the same, or even more, needs, feelings, emotions, responsibilities and expectations as other humans have. But for those needing medical attention they are next to God, as they give treatment. However there are certain bitter facts that need be told. Pharmaceutical companies engaged in manufacturing spurious drugs are progressing by leaps and bounds because of our market. In connivance with whom? We know and the doctors know it too. This is all happening at the cost of our health. We watch it all happening as mute spectators. Graveyards are filled with doctor’s errors and we consider their mistakes as our destiny. Yet, we do not complain. Trial and error is being carried out on humans instead of animals first. We know but we are silent. Yes today the most trusted profession in is losing public trust here. Doctors are not that highly held in public opinion as earlier. A common opinion is that our doctors, of course not all of them, are unskillful in terms of diagnosing a disease. In other words, lack of clinical skills among our doctors has also marred their reputation. Most of our doctors today lack ability to diagnose. Our doctors’ community has engaged itself into multitasking affecting their accuracy or speed of diagnoses. Prior to the integration of technology revolution in medicine, doctors were skillful to diagnose patients following a comprehensive history and physical examination. Today, doctors are practicing what is known as test-centered medicine rather than patient-centered medicine. But clinical investigations driven by high technology do not substitute the need for clinical skills. Today emphasis on clinical assessment is mostly absent. Talking to the patients, getting to know them and spending time with them, which helps in making better diagnosis, is not found. Bedside mannerism and compassion are the qualities at its best. But now a uniform opinion is that doctors are rude. They don’t listen. They have no time. They lack communication skills and don’t explain things in terms patients can understand. At the same time while at OPD in government hospital, some doctors get tired and exhausted before 1 pm but at their private clinic, they are always available for consultation from dawn to dusk without feeling sleepy and worn out. Unnecessary and avoidable surgeries (particularly pregnancy related), which they carry out at commercial establishments (private hospitals) could be done easily (if necessary and unavoidable) even at government hospitals by the same hands and for which they are paid by the government, but they do not. Why? Everybody knows. During night duty, doctors often instruct nurses to inject patients, having pain, with Diazepam so that they may not disturb the doctors the whole night. We understand but keep mum. Rates of commercial laboratory tests, without which doctors do not even touch a patient, are skyrocketing. In connivance with whom? You know. If commercial practice of some renowned doctors runs beyond their satisfaction and expectation, then why do they not opt for voluntary retirement from government services? This is because government hospital for them is a platform from where they manage customers for their commercial establishments. Even government knows this, but they too are feeble. Our doctors’ community has to understand that they will be judged as a perfect medical man on three performance sectors – professionalism, wise decision making and communication skills required under the circumstances, and finally the value for money factor. Perhaps wisdom and appropriate communication skills can restore a better bonding between the patient and the doctor. Understandably doctors have to make money, but some human touch has to be used in making so. If the attraction before them is money making, then they are triumphant; if it’s patient care, sadly most of them are a failure.