Jan ki Baat highlights the fear and anguish in our doctors today. In this compilation of videos send by the citizens to Jan ki Baat, we are exposed to the fact that at one hand, we treat doctors as gods and at the other, we hit them with rods.
According to Indian Medical Association (IMA), more than 75% of doctors face some degree of violence and aggression. Today, medical staff is afraid to come to work and demand police protection. Varsha Sharma tweets ‘For people who have problems with doctors, before you speak anything against doctors, please make sure that you never need one to get better.’ Incidents vary from threats, allegations of murders or attempted murders. A group of disgruntled relatives restrained and beat up 6 doctors after a female died in 2012. A man in Chennai hit the doctor after his pregnant wife died during delivery. Shalini Yadav tweets, ‘He who administers medicines, does so out of love and respect for human life and respect is a two way street. Give it to get it.”
In a video sent by a doctor to Jan ki Baat, the doctor accused the mother and relatives of violence in incidents when she called police to control them. The mother hit the doctor on her hand and said it was she who is to be beaten, while another lady vouched for the doctor. Their language is not only harsh but also disrespectful to a professional who tries to save the lives of their relatives.
The public spending on healthcare is an abysmal 1.3% of the GDP. Infant mortality, under-five mortality and maternal mortality rates of the country is comparable to Sub-Saharan African level.
But can the violence be justified? Should the doctors resort to violence too?
Doctors now, are carrying pistols and baseball bats in their offices as a symbol of protest in self-defense. The Maharashtra government has reportedly pledged to provide all hospitals in the region with bouncers to protect them. Other reforms that are needed in the health sector are improving the quality of medical facilities such as greater beds to patient ratio, reducing the financial burden on the patient’s families and greater accountability and openness to restore cordial doctor-patient relationship.
This cannot be tolerated and we as a society need to come forward and protect our doctors.