On doctors’ day, IMA screams SOS for their members
Doctors feel they are More Sinned against Than Sinning
New Delhi, July 1: On doctors’ day today, Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest trade union of allopath doctors, played victimhood. The doctor leaders said doctors, who were once equated to God, have become ‘fall guys’ today not as much because of their unethical deeds as lack of proper communication between them and society. They projected themselves as more sinned against than sinning.
In a press conference in headquarters in Delhi, Prof (Dr) A. Martanda Pillai, IMA national president and Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, General Secretary pleaded SOS (Save Our Souls) for their members. They enumerated the odds and catch 22 situations they often find themselves while acquitting themselves of their duties. They pleaded that media and people at large should understand doctors’ dilemmas before painting them black.
Dr. Pillai said, ‘the environment for doctors is getting so much inimical by the day that we are not able to practice with dignity. Doctors can not treat patients confidently because they are gripped by fear that anything can happen against them anytime. They have become most vulnerable community’ Dr. Pillai dubbed most of the allegations against doctors as ill founded.
Dr. Pillai further said, ‘Doctors in India have since the very onset been bestowed the status of God. However with the recent inclusion of medical services under the Consumer Protection Act, the integrity and trust in the doctor-patient relationship has been threatened’.
The Indian Medical Association expressed its concern over the drastic increase in the cases of violence against doctors and medical establishments. It was discussed that the need of the hour was for the society to create an atmosphere where doctors can practice with peace and dignity. This in turn would allow the medical fraternity to put its best foot forward towards providing the best possible healthcare services to the society at large without the fear of assault and harassment. The urgent need for a Central Act to protect doctors while on duty and medical establishments against public outrage was also voiced.
Another important concern raised was regarding common healthcare issues, which continue to plague our society such as a high maternal mortality and infant mortality rate and the inability of the government to stop the spread of communicable diseases (India fares lower than even Nepal, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka in this regard). With the gradual increase in treatment costs, IMA also urged the government to roll out a realistic health policy aimed at the overall benefit of the Indian population and to increase the health allocation in the union budget to at least 2.5% of the GDP.
Voicing a unanimous plea, Dr Ajay Lekhi, President & Dr Alok Bhandari , Honorary Secretary of the Delhi State Branch, IMA said, ‘IMA demands that the right to health be made a fundamental right. To achieve this goal, the government should strengthen the public healthcare delivery system and promote and support the private health sector which caters to 70% of the healthcare demands of our country.’
All 2.5 lakh members of the Indian Medical Association were asked to take a pledge re-instating their commitment towards the overall healthcare benefit of the nation and working while upholding the highest standards of ethics. While a doctor saves the lives of a majority of his patients, there are some cases, which are beyond his control. In such scenarios, the doctor must maintain an empathetic approach towards the family of the patient.
IMA directed doctors to follow several practices in public interest including devoting one hour in a week towards promoting the idea of swachch bharat – swasth bharat; providing medical concessions to the elderly; working towards eradicating any discrimination against girl children; offering special privileges to women delivering a girl child; providing free heart surgeries to girl children suffering from complex congenital heart disease and cannot otherwise afford the surgery cost; adopting villages under the IMA Aao Gaon Chalen initiative; starting adolescent clinics; starting meditation cells; and notifying every case of TB.
On the occasion of Doctors Day, large-scale celebrations took place across all the State branches of the Indian Medical Association. In parallel press events held across 30 IMA branches, senior doctors were honored for their contribution in the field of medicine. Key principles that should govern the crucial doctor-patient relationship were also discussed. In addition to the doctors and their families, social organizations and the general public joined the celebrations. Blood donation camps were also organized in each State and awareness was raised about how each healthy individual must donate blood regularly. July 1st is observed as ‘Doctors Day’ every year in memory of Bharat Ratna Awardee late Dr. B C Roy who was the doyen of the medical profession.