VINOD DIXIT, AHMEDABAD
Recently the Indian Medical Association (IMA) called for a nationwide strike, stepping up protests by medical staff demanding better security at hospitals after an attack on doctors in Kolkata. The ‘barbaric’ attack at the NRS Hospital reflected a national problem and called for a countrywide protest. The increasing instances of attacks on doctors have more to do with systemic failure over a period of time rather than any recent stray incident. The threat of violence though condemnable and unacceptable, in today’s scenario, is enabling patients to get better healthcare. Violence can never be justified, least of all against someone who is ostensibly attempting to save a person’s life. The number of incidents of attacks on doctors and other healthcare workers across the country has risen sharply over the last few years. There is a widespread feeling that doctors have simply lost the trust of their patients. Lack of working equipment in hospitals forces doctors to direct patients elsewhere and this adds to the suspicion of doctors being hand-in-glove with laboratories, when actually the doctor is helpless. In medicine, there are no guarantees and patients can develop complications despite the best efforts of the doctors but someone who has been told to expect a good result can be angry if the outcome is unfavourable. India spent an estimated 1.4 per cent of its gross domestic product on healthcare in 2017/18, among the lowest proportions in the world. On the other hand, it is observed that doctors are more often the victims of criticism while their successes are overlooked. No doubt, it is a fact that the medical profession carries a heavy responsibility with it, but people need to understand that behind the white coat and stethoscope is a normal human being and like in all other professions, doctors too need appreciation for their work and efforts.