Our fraternity is in danger!
Your years of hard work & experience are being questioned and scrutinized!
Headlines in newspapers like ‘Doctor arrested’, ‘Doctor beaten up’, ‘Nursing home vandalized’, ‘Doctor caught accepting bribe’ are becoming increasingly common. The Prime Minister’s statements against the medical fraternity in London recently have also put a blot on our profession on international stage. In such testing times, we have to stand together. Today it may be someone else, tomorrow it can be you!
Be rest assured, none of your patients, their relatives, the clubs (Rotary/Lions/NGOs) for whom you regularly conduct health awareness talks or programs will stand up for you. You will have to stand up for yourself and face the reality. Reality that the laws are anti doctor, the media is anti doctor, the SYSTEM IS ANTI DOCTOR, the definition of the doctor patient relationship is changing. No matter how good, empathetic, compassionate, clinically sound you might be, patients and their relatives will label you as a money sucking professional, a pimp and a devil who survives and thrives on the misery of others.
This is the sad truth of what is being portrayed today by the media. Death happening at the hand of ‘quacks’, raids at the nursing home of unregistered practitioners, and those culprits are portrayed as ‘Doctors’. We are all aware to what level the media has fallen. News can be planted, media houses can be bought and muted, rumors can easily be spread on social media, a person’ image can be tarnished within seconds, because all responsible and moral journalism is dead.
I want every doctor to take a pledge today, a promise for a safe and secure future for themselves and their family.
1. Make sure you document your clinical notes in clear, legible handwriting, and that it is dated and timed.
2. Don’t rely completely on your resident doctor alone, but cross check if his/her orders are correctly written too.
3. Make sure that patients and relatives are regularly updated about the treatment and the improvement/deterioration in patient’s condition.
4. Always explain the criticality and prognosis of the illness to the patient and their relatives.
5. Be sensitive while declaring death – in a private room, in presence of someone, with clear communication.
6. Do not speak ill of your colleagues. Work place politics or jealousy is present in every industry, but it should not be visible in front of patient or relatives.
7. Be extra cautious in all medico-legal cases; double cross check all your documentation.
8. Do not try to treat patients beyond your specialization. There is nothing wrong in taking cross referrals.
9. Do not prescribe any medication without examining the patient through phone or any electronic media.
10. Charging consultation fees is your right, no one can dictate terms on it.
11. Always make sure the procedure consents are completely filled and duty signed, all possible complications are entered and explained to the patient/ relatives.
12. Don’t let your personal, family or social life suffer due to your profession. Take care of your own health. Also, it is good to hang out with your work colleagues.
13. Don’t get emotionally attached to your patients.
14. If opportunity comes, go abroad. You will be valued more as a doctor there and the quality of life will surely be better than that in India currently.
15. Order only those diagnostics tests which are indicated and can be interpreted by you.
16. Avoid taking phone calls during a consultation, unless indicated.
17. Have patient education brochures and fliers in your clinic / department.
18. Write your medication prescriptions in both generics and trade (brand) names.
19. Documentation of your Communication and Communication of your Documentation is the extremely important today.
20. Think twice before encouraging your children to pursue medicine as a profession, to go through the suffering of this failed system. Please don’t!!
And for the few bad sheep in the medical fraternity who are tarnishing the image of this profession, it is my sincere request to you to stop accepting any gifts/presents from the medical representatives; stop accepting any cuts/commission for any reference to higher centre, diagnostic laboratory or imaging centre. I’m sure you’ll make enough money, have a better quality of life and a peaceful sleep without getting involved in such malpractice.
It is high time we all stick together to bring this professional back to its lost glory and trust.