During my days as medical student, we laughed at a story wherein a doctor always operated on patient’s ear for all their ailments. Whatever may be the problem in the body, it was only the ear which received the cut always. Similar treatment is being given to doctors by media. Now-a days, for every progression of the disease and for genuine poor prognosis or death of the patient, media is prompt to start the blame game of doctor- doctor. Media even does not try to verify the facts. The real medical issues in treatment of these cases are still not emphasized by media, like whether these cases were salvageable or not. For example why so many preventable disease like dengue, malaria happen every year to thousands of people every year and are still progressing? Take the case of foetus at 22 weeks…… how many have survived in India or in the world? In this case and that of the complicated dengue case, the survival chances were quite dismal, even in developed world medicine. Inability of media people to analyze the difficulty on scientific parameters, unwillingness of people to accept the real poor prognosis and political class to flow with populist opinion has done irreparable damage to medical profession. Just a blame game and the word ‘negligence’ are in the air.
Outcome in these cases is not uncommon or unanticipated by any yardstick in the world. But no one is concerned about that. And in the end, what are the losses?
Discouraged medical fraternity, low morale of doctors, and talk of leaving this profession have become smaller issues and do not affect anybody in media or Government.
But larger issues remain: how to prevent thousands of death due to poor control of communicable and preventable diseases. Proper delivery of health care will not improve by playing the blame game on doctor. Media bashing of doctors may divert attention from the real issues and media people will earn money and fame. Doctors will be punished as a result of populist revenge. But this approach of media is not going to save patients or provide better health care to masses in future.