The painful incident of Dr Archana Sharma’s Suicide unmasks the everyday struggle of the doctors in the present era. Her supreme sacrifice depicts the plight of doctors- being undervalued and demonized, forced to work as a sub-servant to bureaucrats, irresponsible policing, blackmail by goons and vulture journalism-all have become an accepted form of harassment. Her suicide has unveiled the despondency, moral burden of mistrust that doctors carry. Her death is the result of the apathy of fair justice that eludes medical community. Sadly, the society is unable to realize its loss. Let her sacrifice be a reminder to the whole medical fraternity; either fight against the prevalent injustice or perish, not being able to treat the patients would be a greater disservice to humanity.
It was an incident that was enough to jolt doctors’ and medical associations out of their deep slumber against the everyday sufferings of their members. Protecting and supporting the suffering members against physical and legal assaults should be the need of the hour. But sadly, it was not enough to wake them up. After few days of token protests, everything came back to routine. Unfortunately Doctors’ associations have limited their role merely to social gatherings with some token academics. They have not risen to the real life problems of doctors like goonism, blackmail, physical and legal assaults. Doctors as individuals remain vulnerable to these issues and always remain at receiving end of the stick. In this era, doctors’ associations need to play a bigger role especially in cases of medico-legal suits against doctors; to support the sufferers. As cases of medical negligence may be circumstantial incidents and not real mistakes, courts may not be able to deliver justice to doctors many times. A concern is that in case of poor outcome and case goes to courts, there is an indirect perverse incentive to deliver a guilty verdict against the doctor as a person, who is responsible for life and death.
Failure of Doctors’ and Medical associations to rise to the occasion even in such a case of blatant cruelty will be a real injustice to DR Archana Sharma.