Little to cheer on Doctor's Day, say medical professionals

Lament rise in attacks by patients' kin, oppose proposed Bill

Little to cheer on Doctor's Day, say medical professionals
Doctor’s Day on Saturday, July 1, is meant to honour medical professionals across the country for the services they provide. However, many doctors in the city are unhappy, especially with the introduction of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Bill by the state government.

Many doctors expressed concern over medical professionals being targeted in the state. “Doctors are being considered criminals. They are being made to surrender to the public. The Bill makes us treat patients at gunpoint,” said Dr Veeranna, secretary of Indian Medical Association, Karnataka.

“There were more than 12 cases of attacks on doctors last year. The number of verbal attacks are numerous," he said.

Dr R Ravindra, secretary of Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA) said a patient shouted at him on Friday asking for discounts though he was already given a discount. He also said doctors were targeted by patients at ESI Hospital, Rajajinagar and Manipal Hospital.

“People have little idea about the proposed Bill. They think we are overcharging and that the government is trying to reduce charges,” he said.

Dr Sudarshan Ballal, chairman of Manipal Hospitals said patients complain that the government has passed a Bill and that they should be given treatment at a lower cost.

“Whenever a Bill like this comes up, people take advantage of it whether there is merit or not. But it should settle down once they understand that the Bill has not yet been passed,” he said.

Doctors said the patient-doctor relationship which existed in the past, is now destroyed. Assaults on doctors and vandalisation of hospitals have become order of the day. Poor outcome of a treatment is attributed to negligence without understanding the complications of the treatment, doctors said.

They said this will affect the morale of doctors and they  cannot practise the profession with joy.

Dr N K Venkataramana, founder and chief neurosurgeon of BRAINS, said people do not know the meaning of negligence. “There are movies and serials against us. These things should be discussed in the larger interest of the profession and to ensure that a wrong impression is not created,” he said.

“The state has many multispecialty hospitals and doctors. If the Bill gains momentum, these doctors will leave the state,” said Dr Vivek Jawali, chairman and head of the department of cardio vascular sciences, Fortis Hospitals.

He said patients are often thankful for the services. “A wrong idea should not be given to them for short-term populist gains. Within six months, everything will fall into place,’’ he said.

Fewer students are taking up this profession, according to experts. “Many medical institutions have a shortage of students,” said Dr Jawali.
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