Having done enough hospital rounds and dealt with a varied breed of doctors, I can without a doubt say now that the doctors in India are fast becoming businessmen except a handful that I know and can vouch for their sincerity.
My mother, who usually speaks very respectfully with doctors irrespective of the fact whether they are of her age or younger, spoke to a nearby doctor for a service at home for my father. He quoted a price and we felt it is on the higher side. Her saying “doctor sahab” in a soft emotional tone, I have often felt since childhood, is mostly perceived as needy & gullible and doctors go on to sound as if they are doing a favour to her. As a thinking individual, this was always unacceptable to me and I made sure I change it.
So, today when I took the phone from her and asked him the value am getting against the price he asked, he couldn’t believe his ears and changed his communication from Hindi to English to sound authoritative even further. I changed to English too and continued to ask him questions. By the end, I could feel what he felt. That, how can a doctor be asked questions with equal authority because doctors are usually not used to patients asking them back details as patients are always treated & considered as helpless, ones with almost no medical knowledge and at the endless mercy.
Doctors know you, as a commoner, will never know the pricing, product and procedure that’s usually technical and mostly, the advantage is taken of this shortcoming. There’s nothing wrong if you don’t have the technical knowledge – a common person is not expected to know medical details – but the onus definitely lies on you if you’re not asking questions and making the doctor feel you are unperturbed about the basics and laying a welcoming turf for them to manipulate you. I am sure you have come across incidents where doctors don’t give medical files to family in anticipation of the family knowing more they want them to.
And, that is why it is very important to ask questions even if they are asking you a rupee extra – never hesitate or feel embarrassed as it is your hard-earned money. We usually don’t take lose money back at the shops thinking it is okay – no it is not okay because the same shop-keeper won’t give you a candy if you don’t give him that one rupee.
Doctors are professionals who must be respected for their ability to cure & save lives. They are definitely a notch above others just like the most respectable professions like that of teachers and army-men but they can’t be treated as “Gods” for no reason – they must earn it. And it is because of this long-standing entitlement, the easy respect has gone to their heads now and thus, their mannerisms are becoming, rather, have become that of a businessman. It is an open secret now that they have monthly targets to meet at renowned hospitals and patients are now nothing more than customers.
Genuine doctors must be respected and lauded out publicly every time so that their breed grows. If anyone thinks they’re doing a favour to mankind by becoming whatever & their presence is indispensable then that thinking is myopic, self-centered and must be rejected.
Coronavirus is the kind of teacher students run away from and thus, it arrived. We must learn and remember what it has taught us – we all are equals and need each other in equal capacity. And, we, of course, cannot do without good doctors, definitely need those all the more, who are still holding fort for their tribe and genuinely care. Celebrate them publicly.