Friday, February 01, 2008

Bitter Medicine

If there is one profession I respect a lot- it is medicine. When I stood at the crossroads after 12th std, I knew that I had neither the courage nor the patience to become a doctor. Because doctors are people who have the stamina, patience and courage of around ten average people put together.

But exceptions prove the rule! Along with being one of the most noble professions, doctors aka medical practitioners are also infamous for indulging in money-minting schemes and behaving in an unacceptable fashion.

Today evening, my sister got a very acute headache and my mom rushed her to a doctor who has his clinic close by. My mom has a history of migraine and my sister gets it from her. But since my sister was recently hospitalized and is on other medicines right now, so instead of any self medication, my mom decided to consult a doctor...

"नमस्कार doctor. दुपार पासून खूप डोक दुखतय हीच.. काही सुचत नाही आहे.. सध्या हे औषध चालू आहे आणी.."
"हे घ्या- हे औषध द्या.. चला"
"पण doctor- हे already जे औषध आहे ते..."
"बंद करा... त्यात काय..."
"आणी तिला migraine चा पण आहेच problem ज़रा..."
"काहीतरी बोलू नका.. लहान मुलांना migraine नसत.. तिच्या मनात काहीतरी भरू नका..."

For anyone who does not understand Marathi: the doctor completely snubbed out my mom when she tried to tell him that my sister is already on some medication and that it could be a migraine headache. The doctor said something to the tune of "What do you know?! Kids don't have migraine- don't try to put some silly ideas in her head!!"

At this point, let me mention that my sister is not a small child- she is 19 years old and totally looks her age. Needless to say, Dr. Impatient did not even bother to inquire her age. My mom was silent. I would have probably glared at that doctor and given him a piece of my mind, but because my mom is so patient herself, she continued...

"BP वगैरे काही.. "
"आता काय .. काही गरज नाही- लहानांचा BP वगैरे काही नसत.."

My mom left his clinic, but not before paying an exorbitant amount as the consultation fees.

I don't mean to be unfairly sarcastic. Such exceptions exist in all professions. But it is more critical in a profession like medicine, where it is someone's life and well being which hangs in balance. I realize that doctors are human beings too. They cannot be perfect, polite all the time. Treating and saving lives is a big responsibility and obviously it is extremely stressful. I cannot claim to even imagine what each day in their lives must be like. But does that give them an excuse to behave as they please?! No. It does not. Period. The fact that they get up everyday and go to their clinics and hospitals means that they have made a choice and are living it. And mind you- the doctors that I am talking about are getting handsomely paid for what they do.

Thankfully, I have met more good doctors than not-good ones. So my faith in these good breed of people is still quite intact. All I want to say to all those exceptions out there is:

If you cannot be true to the purpose of what you're doing, if you're not passionate about what you're doing, if you're just doing it for the money, then please don't risk our lives and our faith in your profession by continuing with it.

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