Want To Be Professionally Free Doctor? First, Introspect ... Guest Article by Dr Taher Kagalwala
A lovely article that reflects my moods & sentiments far better than what I hear from most doctors,.. about practising as a Doctor in present day India. This article was published in docplexus - a forum for doctors - by Dr Taher Kagalwal ...
"Things have come to such a sorry pass in India not just because of the controls that the government is exercising. The fault lies with us. When you decided to become a doctor, there were stars in your eyes. You were altruistic. You wanted to serve humanity. You wanted to be next to God. You desired the status and the prestige that came with being called a doctor.
What happened once you qualified? You forgot your altruism. You forgot your humanity. Glory and fame became your mantra, and the way to it - not by being a great doctor, but by being a rich person. Acquiring wealth took priority over acquiring a good reputation. You no longer cared if the poor came to you or not. Your aim was only to care for those who have the moolah to fill your tijori. In such circumstances, what right do you have to say "We want", when you cannot even begin to understand what your constituency wants. What your patient wants.
They never sought 100% guarantees from you. What they wanted was 100% honesty, 100% empathy, 100% commitment. Did you provide those? Did you spend time explaining - forget about the nuances of the disease - but even HOW to take the medicines you had prescribed on the A5 paper? Did you bother to study the impact of the patient's illness on him/her, on their family and on the society around them? How did you practice charity? You chose to donate to charitable institutions only because they provided you tax relief. Did you give out of your own earnings or simply provided samples of medicines left behind by MRs? Did you willingly write on referral papers to give the patient discounts and forgo your commission? (The key word is WILLINGLY).
Introspect. How well are you united with each other? Every doctor views another doctor - both in governmental jobs as well as in private practice - as their competitor. Pulling each other down in front of patients is more than enough for them to lose respect for you. Today, you pull down X, tomorrow, they pull you down. What goes around, comes around.
You have to change before you expect the others around you to change. Learn to be more empathetic. Listen to your patients. Spend time on the consultations and restrict the number of patients if you want to really help the patients. Avoid multitasking in the clinic. Freely seek second opinions without bothering if the doctor will take away your case or not share the commission with you. Be attentive to the patient's needs but also the needs of his family, Respect the confidentiality of the patient. Seek his permission before sharing his history, prescriptions, photos and so on on social media, even if your intention was to seek help from your colleagues.
I hope this helps many of you to understand why the people of India have grown so impatient with doctors. They are not fools. Movies cannot be blamed, because they reflect what is already happening. Yes, they take artistic license with this, but that is their right. There is no smoke without fire. Look for the solutions inside yourselves. Don't look at your practice as a means to recoup the millions you spent during your education. That is not the way. Moeny will come - perhaps a bit late - if you stay on the ethical path.
Above everything, stay united, not just to create a crowd at your nursing home when it is under attack, but also to consistently fight bureaucracy, the muscle tactics of private hospitals, the regressive policies of the government, the care of your patients and the well-being of the society.
Happy Independence and Introspection Day to all of you.