The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that the standards have to be set regarding the working hours of doctors and the doctor-patient ratio in hospitals.
Although it is first of its kind of acknowledgement of the need to improve the plight of doctors. Despite doing all the hard work, the doctors are usually blamed, specially by media and celebrities, for the health malaise. But the fundamental reasons and inept system remain concealed and issues are put under the carpet deliberately. Therefore this suggestion by court, although represents tip of the iceberg, but still an important admission of problems the medical community faces.
The suggestion came from a bench of High Court after it was told by a private body, tasked to evaluate healthcare quality in the three hospitals in Delhi, that doctors work for excessive hours and there was no set doctor-patient ratio.
Among the numerous problems one of the issues is enslaved kind of duty hours. The enthusiastic species of doctors go on doing it for years, along with never ending studies. There is no count of hours, no money or compensation in most of healthcare systems of world for these inhuman duties, exploited young energy and lives. And then comes the most painful part when they do not get the due respect in the society. Their selfless hard work goes unnoticed and unappreciated most of the time. Most people take this slave like working as guaranteed and do not feel it as any injustice to the doctors. The doctors, while on duty, may be verbally abused, routinely threatened, assaulted or dragged to courts for trivial issues and that too for no faults of theirs. They just become punching bags for the inept healthcare system and invisible medical industry though lives saved by these young men are uncountable and people relieved of pain and agony innumerable.
Though some western countries of European union and NHS medical systems have realized the inhuman duties and are now following a fixed hours duty schedule, but still most of countries and health systems have kept their eyes closed regarding these slave like duty hours and poor work conditions.
A complex job that also requires doing duties day and night, sometimes for 24 to 48 hours at a stretch without proper meals and sleep. Most of the hospitals don’t even ensure tea and food on these duties for doctors .But these young hardworking people do it gladly and enthusiastically, doing a most noble work saving innumerable lives or relieving countless people of their pain. No rights have ever been defined for the doctors, only rules of punishment and exploitation.
This great work is not even acknowledged in any way. These duties are merely systematic exploitation of doctors because of:
– sometimes in the name of Hippocratic oath,
– sometimes in the name of morality
– because of the kindness in their hearts
– in the name of suffering and dying patients
– in name of shortage of doctors and staff.
– for fear of courts and medico-legal cases
– for fear of assaults since the number of doctors is less per patient.
– by some administrative systems who use pressure tactics and sometimes
bullying to get work done
– by similar widely prevalent culture in most hospitals
– for sake of their career and higher degrees
– for sake of employment
– in the name of training , and in many more ways.
Court has definitely noble intentions by suggesting some regulations. But for achieving the said goal, which looks like a distant dream to doctors, a strong will is required from administrators. Till society understands the concealed sense of enslavement that remains hidden, while performing these duties, the suffering of the profession will not end. A problem that is clearly visible to every one, but not admitted till now, is in itself an evidence for a difficult scenario to be implemented.
I wonder if this is perceived as normal and routine then what else does slavery constitute?