Problems faced by Indian doctors
Valuable is an understatement when it comes to defining a doctor’s contribution to society. They perform a duty which if successful can uplift them to the status of a “God,” but if it goes the other way, they might end up in jail. There is no middle path, only two extremities in this profession, which makes it all more priceless and precarious at the same time.
A doctor’s life is not an easy one. It is mired with difficult life-altering decisions, a rigorous work schedule with no guarantee of family life. The most important aspect is that although they are adept in their specialty practice, the expertise does not warrant a positive outcome all the time. For doctors to perform efficiently, there are certain external factors which play a crucial role. Unfortunately, for Indian doctors, these external elements do not pan out positively, therefore, affecting their performance and result in chronic stress which takes a toll on their health as well. Let us go through some of these external factors.
When a patient is admitted to a hospital, the doctor is not only taking the responsibility of diagnosing the afflicted but indirectly has to take the responsibility of explaining the process to the patients’ relatives who have pinned their hopes on the professional. From the moment the patient enters a hospital, all eyes and ears are towards the doctors. This is a significant pressure to work in. Additionally, in India, people visit doctors with a thought that it is a surety that the latter will successfully cure the ailment. Not saying that it is wrong to put faith in a doctor but this backfires with severe consequences in the case of a negative or unexpected medical outcome.
Doctors being physically assaulted is one common consequence. Such incidents are not new and unanticipated in the Indian medical fraternity. In February 2018 in Kolkata, relatives of a patient who died due to alleged medical negligence beat up the doctors who they thought were responsible for the death. The doctors alleged that the patient had been attended appropriately and they referred the patient to the relevant medical department. Regardless of the fact whether there was medical negligence involved or not, one must note that the patients did not hinder to assault the doctors rather than file an official complaint regarding the matter.
A 2017 news report by The Hindu quoted a survey by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) which revealed that a massive 82.7% of Indian doctors are “stressed out” in their jobs. The survey results further said that that “the fear of violence” was the central cause of the stress with 46.3% of the surveyed doctors claiming the same. 24.2% of the doctors were scared of being prosecuted while 13.7% of them worried about criminal prosecution.
Infrastructure and Supplies:
Apart from physical insecurity, setting up an appropriate infrastructure is another crucial problem which they face. There are numerous puzzles which must be put in place to construct an established clinic which can cater to the different medical needs of the people. If the doctor aims to open a specialty clinic, then he/she has to not only procure the appropriate medical supplies but also purchase the primary medical products which must be available for patient care.
Searching, researching and reviewing multiple vendors, conducting negotiations and dealing with numerous quotations can be a daunting task for doctors establishing a clinic as they might not be thorough with the procurement process. Due to inexperience, and a tedious procedure, they might end up buying the wrong medical equipment, consumables or pay a high price for supplies. This can result in financial instability which can adversely affect further plans for the establishment.
However, organizations such as Medikabazaar have been helping the doctors procure their required medical supplies in competitive rates. The organization has a robust online platform comprising of an expansive product catalog consisting of medical equipment from prominent medical supplies manufacturers, quality consumables, speciality products, and hospital furniture. In short, all the crucial elements which are needed by doctors to establish a clinic. This makes Medikabazaar a single point of purchase for doctors. Last-mile delivery and multiple flexible-payment options make the procurement process easy and streamlined which can help them save without having to compromise on patient care.
“Quackery” a term which is quite common in the medical fraternity means doctors practicing medicine without a medical council registration. Without appropriate education and experience, these doctors prescribe medical diagnostic procedures to patients which has two severe consequences. Firstly, due to a lack of discipline and medical know-how, the patients are at risk of getting the wrong medication and diagnosis which can be dangerous or even fatal in some cases. Secondly, quackery undermines the doctors who are practicing the profession honestly and diligently. The latter gained knowledge, paid a lot of money, and worked hard for being a licensed doctor, but then they are hit with the hard reality that there are doctors who are practicing without bearing the hardships.
A study titled, “Medical negligence: Criminal prosecution of medical professionals, the importance of medical evidence: Some guidelines for medical practitioners” said that it is quite “common” that doctors are charged with criminal implications due to alleged medical negligence in the case of deaths of patients who were under their diagnosis. The study stated that one should take caution while filing cases against doctors as they shouldn’t face “unnecessary harassment.”
Due to a possibility of facing criminal charges, doctors are advised to keep all patient-related information for at least 5 years so that they can show credible proof if and when required by any law enforcement body.
If doctors are scared of criminal prosecution, then they won’t be able to perform their functions properly. Especially in emergency cases where patients might have low chances of survival, doctors have to take a chance and conduct medical procedures which might not yield a positive outcome. In such cases, if doctors fear being implicated due to a negative medical result, they might not even try and make an effort to treat patients.
It’s not doctors alone who have a responsibility towards the patients. The family members of the patients along with the society, in general, should ensure that doctors are able to work in a trustworthy and amiable environment where they feel safe, understood, and are not anxious about having to take a trip to court if an operation does not go as intended.