From the book ‘at the Horizon of Life & death’
Treating emergencies and critical patients has become akin to catching a falling knife. There is eternal latent vulnerability that is intrinsic in the way doctors’ work, which turns more evil when exploited by many in the society for the vested benefit- ‘media and celebrities’ to sell their news and shows, by ‘law industry’ and ‘industry’s middlemen’.
Whenever there is an anecdotal episode of adverse event or poor prognosis in hospitals, it is aired by media as an illustration to portray whole medical professionals as dystopian community. By theatrically deriding hard work of doctors, the celebrities grabbed eyeballs to be at the centre stage of health care. What remained invisible to all is the fact that every day in hospitals, thousands of lives are salvaged back from the brink of death.
The real hidden agenda is an attempt to project ‘Reel heroes’ as ‘Real heroes’. By self-appointing themselves as custodian of health of masses, ’the film stars’ and celebrities give true meaning to their work of ‘Acting’, that otherwise was no more than a trifling entertainment. When masses worship them as their true well-wishers, they feature in advertisements to sell tobacco, soft drinks, junk foods and other sweet poisons to public and children.
The intentional unfairness of the criticism is evident, since the delineation of the cleft that separates doctors from the actual overpowering and controlling health industry is not unveiled, ensuring to sustain the prejudice with its dangerous bias towards health care workers.
There is gradual transition of doctor-patient interaction to a business transaction. The pharmaceutical industry, insurance, law industry and administrative machinery remain hidden in the background and have enormously benefitted by the exploitation of doctors and nurses, who have suffered at the front as the face of the ‘veiled and invisible’ colossal medical business.
The evolving system of corporatization and medicine being projected as a purchasable commodity has resulted in an illogical distribution of health care. The resources spent by people in last few days of life, mostly in a futile quest to have few more, are equivalent to thousands of times the food and medicine for the poor, who lose lives for fraction of that expense. Since in this era, medical therapies are perceived as purchasable and patient has become a consumer.
There is persistent fear of getting a raw deal amidst tricks and traits of the law industry, if any doctor has to face a malpractice lawsuit. A brilliant mind gets entangled in a useless clutter and gets engulfed by a strange fear for the imminent misfortune. Just because of an unexpected poor outcome, randomness of the tragic tale imposed on the doctor is difficult to fathom. With element of arbitrariness involved in the medicolegal suits, law industry has got benefitted enormously at the cost of medical profession.
But these utterances against the medical community are not without serious side effects and results in deteriorating doctor-patient relationship. Mistrust resulted in loss of respect for doctors and predisposed them to all types of violence- be it verbal, physical, legal or financial, as if uncountable lives saved every moment in hospitals were of no consequence.
The blame for deficiencies of inept system and poor outcomes of serious diseases was shifted conveniently to doctors, who were unable to retaliate to the powerful media.
Not only such projections shifted and pinpointed the attention to inappropriate issues, but created an unbridgeable gap of trust between doctor and patients. The fear provoked in the patients’ minds would scare patients to seek help from doctors, who they should be trusting.
The sense of gratitude, which doctors deserved from patients, was replaced by the burden of blame. Even a saved life was thought off merely as a duty fulfilled in lieu of some remuneration.
Consequently, more of doctors’ time is being spent on issues, which are assumed to be worrisome but are not, and less time is spent on the issues that really count.
To control the health system, administrators or even legal systems have a tendency to assume that shortcomings in the patient care can be rectified by punishing the doctors and nurses. For doctors, no gain if they succeed thousand times, but agony assured if they fail once?