Respect for others is inherent in our Indian culture. This is what we teach our children, to always respect other human beings and importantly, to be respectful towards every living being.
Doctors have an ethical duty to uphold the dignity and honor of the medical profession (Regulation 1.1.1 MCI Code of Ethics). Patients are our assets. A healthcare establishment cannot serve its purpose without patients; nor can doctors. The human body, both living and the dead body, has to be respected all times.
Recently, a video of an amputated foot being used as a pillow for a patient in Jhansi went viral. And, as recent as Saturday, a video of a patient supposedly in the emergency ward in JN Medical College and Hospital in Aligarh, with his hands and legs tied on a bed with no side railings, was probably seen by hundreds of people.
Such instances are indicative of the ‘apathy’ that has become so pervasive in almost all walks of life.
But we are different. Doctors cannot disrespect the patient, nor can they be rude to the patient. Anybody else can, but not doctors.
The dignity and honor of the patient needs to be maintained at all times. “God is watching you” this fear of a punishment from the Almighty acted as a deterrent earlier, but not now.
This is the age of the smartphone and the camera in the phone has its eye on you all the time; Google and Facebook are now “God” and any video can be made viral at any instant of time.
Etiquettes and respect need to come back in our day to day interactions with not only our patients, but also with others. “Patience and delicacy should characterize the physician”, says MCI Regulation 2.2.
Patients are our first and foremost concern and their health and well-being is our responsibility and also a priority.An apathetic attitude needs to be shed off; it cannot be a routine for us.
This attitude speaks volumes about lack of attention to detailing and acceptance of mediocrity in place of excellence. Patients now are not generally accepting of any mishap that may occur during the course of treatment.
No excuse will work now - being stressed or overworked, lack of resources and infrastructure, insufficient staff etc.
Few months back, I had written, “if nothing goes wrong then "chalta hai", but if something goes wrong then this “chalta hai” becomes “chalta nahi hai”. So change your attitude from "Kya pharak padta hai" to "bahut pharak padta hai".
It’s important to reiterate these lines as their significance has become all the more relevant today.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri AwardeeVice President CMAAOGroup Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications