Doctor bashing: The new Indian pastime..!

LAST evening I had a visitor, a young medical student from one of Maharashtra’s medical colleges where doctors are getting bashed up with increasing frequency! I had seen her as a child, studious, intelligent, an intensive public speaker, had watched as she’d put heart and soul into her books, finally to win a seat in medicine. She had won. Was overjoyed.
And now fearful. “I knew the doctor they beat up,” she whispered, “He was an excellent teacher, and an insightful physician, now the mob have made him a cripple! Is that what’s going to happen to us?” Yes, is that what is going to happen to some in the medical profession? There have been over two hundred and fifty cases of such thrashing of doctors in Maharashtra alone! And it’s happening all over India.
In the days of old, when an influential patient fell ill or was injured badly, the monarch of the realm summoned his physician and informed him that on pain of death, the patient should be cured. The doctors of those days worked under the threatening shadow of hangman’s noose, sword or guillotine!
As civilization evolved, people grew educated, and governments more forceful, it was realized that doctors were not magicians; they healed as much as science had developed. They were limited also, if equipment was not available, or specialist not on call.The world understands this, apparently India doesn’t. Not only have the cries of medical students, for, of all the things, protection, gone unheeded, but they have been told emphatically to stop protesting or they will lose their seats!
It’s like telling a politician that if you ask for security, you will be disqualified as an MLA or MP! Or telling a learned judge, that if your life is at stake, we, the state are not responsible! I see fifty percent of the police, yes fifty percent of the 46,000 policemen in the state guarding ministers, legislators, judges and other VIPs!
How easy to make comments about the fears of these unguarded doctors while same politicians look through the iron barriers of security, that screen them from the brutality of the mob! How easy to cater to the voter bank, which is the same destructive mob, instead of protecting these doctors, who’ve given their lives to healing the same mob!
But, and this is a big but, if the government continues, with this unhealthy trend, I repeat what I saw in that little girl’s eyes, a reluctance to serve in rural areas, or even in cities, without security.
If this happens, the same government can build the best hospitals, equip it with the best equipment, and be staffed by empty corridors, empty consulting rooms, and empty operation theatres.
I saw the fear in her young eyes, and I see the reluctance of the government to do anything. So let’s you and I, raise our voices in protest against this horrible new Indian pastime; doctor bashing..!

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