Could Doctors Ever Be Gods Again?! (Part 1)By Dr. S Selvakumaran, Erode.
Could Doctors Be Gods once Again?
During one of my recent friendly conversation with a powerful politician I was shocked to gather from him as to how he would check himself into a 5 star hospital when all the 5 star hotels in Chennai would be full with guests at the time of the Assembly. He went on to further irk me by revealing as to how he would take advantage of the revolving-door facility offered on request under the various so called master-health check-up programmes to the in-patient clientele with several bonuses in the form of attractive nurses measuring his BP and pulse in several turns. His mocking revelation was an eye-opener for me. Nevertheless, I could not refrain from appreciating his subtle approach in expressing a valid truth about the denigration that our Divine and Noble profession had undergone to the point of an intellectual prostitution. I saw to the most satisfactory disposal of my friend-cum-politician and immediately called a like-minded colleague of mine to indulge in a collective soul-searching. The following were revealed as we opened ourselves to each other.
Gone are those days when doctors were worshipped as Gods in the community. Such Gods never hesitated to present themselves whenever summoned by their devotees and they happily treaded the path along with their devotees - upon foot, in bicycles, in public transport and in lower class train compartments. On the contrary, doctors of the present are addicted to technology, super-luxuries and pleasures, wealth and prominence in the community. Thus they are slowly evolving into a greedy and a corrupt force potentially capable of unimaginable chaos inspite of the fact that the majority of doctors are still noble but a weaker force on account of their virtues and despite all their virtuosity.
Divine and noble doctors have always believed in the one and only marketing mantra, that behind every single patient that they drew into their chambers there were the accumulated experiences of several such patients who had been meticulously and religiously treated by them in the past. Pursuing any other form of marketing shall amount to punishable contravention of the medical ethics code. In keeping with the commercial tornado that is sweeping across a portion of the medical fraternity much against the 'Doctrines of Hippocrates' there are the few that indulge in seductive marketing gimmicks amounting to their very intentions having become highly questionable. Yet they continue to remain and flourish as a force left untouched by the MCI (Medical Council of India). This had fuelled further differences in opinion between the weak good and the powerful evil within the medical fraternity amounting to their having projected an image in the community that doctors are no longer a cohesive force. Therefore all doctors have to blame themselves for having directed their internal affairs in such a way that it had come to be seen as a mess requiring a third party interference.
Under the pretext that doctors are privileged to market themselves, the public too have their right of knowledge and information, third parties have already begun to rate doctors in the media under several categories that they can imagine. This exercise is likely to take several shapes in the future contributing to several unpleasant and alarming repercussions in the society. Consumerism and litigation, cinema themes and moves like students having to assess the performance of teachers in Kendriya Vidyalayas could all be more encouraging to such third parties awaiting to rate doctors besides poking their noses in all affairs concerning doctors. For the cause of integrity and morality within the medical fraternity IMC should wake up with a lion's heart to eliminate ugly and mean bones within itself. Every branch of IMA should induct a powerful disciplinary committee to police all those that flout medical ethics.
Peer pressure can have a great and a corrective stronghold on one's professional ethics and thus it becomes the duty of every doctor to boldly put pressure on erring peers. This comes as another reminder that doctors alone should fight corruption within their fraternity before public anger takes over. Brand names within the medical fraternity have time and again been misused by unscrupulous doctors and this needs a lot of policing. Doctors need to prove that they are no longer selfish and greedy cats to all those third party monkeys waiting to prey and scratch them red. Any amount of provocation from the domains of time, place, persons, immediate society and distant society should not be construed by the doctors as excuses to slip away from their courage, conviction and responsibilities towards the welfare of their ethics-hugging colleagues and clients. As a group, ethical doctors devoid of fear can be too hot to be handled by their unethical counterparts besides their potentials of becoming a very powerful force to reckon with in the society.
The above is from a recent "Letters to the Editor" by
Dr. S. Selvakumaran
Erode, TN, India 638 003.