By William Pais

Mangaluru, Nov 18: "I cannot allow him to die, I will do what I can do and see that he survives" - these were the words said by the one of the leading oncologist of the Mangaluru city as my friend was approaching his death. The medical profession is all about giving positive outlook when there is none. As a professional, I respect the word of this oncologist. I believe the underlining idea of positive statement keeps the physican’s going, to walk that extra mile in every case of distress.

"The health and well-being of my patient will be my first consideration", "I will respect the autonomy and dignity of my patient" - these are two sentences of the physician’s oath. The job of the physician is above that of government and legislation. It reigns supreme in the hierarchy of professions for it values human life with utmost dignity. That the consideration of the present will not daunt the noble ideals of the profession, that have been built over generations of doctors.

I have reason to put this into public domain, as I get disturbed with the way in which medical professionals took to the streets reportedly over Karnataka government’s efforts to enact the law to the advantage of the patients. I believe government is well within it mandate to enact such a law which is long overdue. I even shudder to think for a moment what if the milkman and the paperman do not drop the milk and the paper at my doorsteps in the morning, how daily life is deranged. Our life is always and always dependent on others. In fact our life revolves around others and we are more dependent on doctors who give a new lease of life when we almost drop dead. It is precisely for this reason being a medical professional is divine and sacrosanct and that cannot equated to that of any other profession. Rightly so in Indian system of medicine - Ayurveda - a physician treated as divine saying 'Vidyo Narayana Hari' and the bond between patient and physicians is built on love and trust and it is with this trust a patient bears himself on the operation table, trusting the hand that will treat them.

Now coming back to the real problem of the government enacting the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (Amendment) Bill, it may have some provisions that look draconian to the offenders. It is the duty of the government to enact legislation to better the welfare of the citizens. Time to time the government of the day deems it to fit enact such laws. It is commonplace to find little inconveniences whenever any law is enforced. For example, the entire country was put to great hardship when demonetisation was announced and people chose to bear it for the betterment of the nation. If the government of the day thinks that the bill works for the betterment of the majority, doctors should allow it to be passed of course with enough room to express their fears. They are free to express their apprehensions, take legal recourse as to the validity of the law but to hold the entire system to ransom does not augur well for the profession that has been respected from time immemorial. Doctors should have an aerial view of the entire thing and not put the community to which they belong to hardship. At the time of strike if doctors fall sick (pray they should not) will the other doctors not treat them? There is a doctor in all of us that awakes each time a person around falls sick or is in trauma. It runs, panics, and prescribes some solution however possible and it proves that, we cannot see suffering of our fellow being. This spirit should never be allowed to die, lest our faith in humanity erodes. Let the whole world be corrupt but doctors shall not be corrupt.

'Draconian' said H N Ravindra, the president of the Indian Medical Association - Karnataka, I would say draconian is not the law but the fact that doctors went on strike was draconian, and this will be vouched by the family of the deceased who did not get enough medical care they deserved. It will be in the interest of all, that doctors shall not resort to suspension of services but have other means to express their dissent. The same law enacted by the government also protects the doctors in case any mishaps takes place in the hospital due to disgruntled patients and their relatives. If you follow the law, the law will protect you. I wish doctors always remain true to the saying 'Vaidyo Narayana Hari'. To be divine is to be in the company of the divine and no reward can replace the satisfaction of seeing a smile on the healed patient who was brought fragile and sinking. "Doctors we love you and we simply cannot do without you, help us when we fall sick and also help us when we drop dead, for you only will have to confirm we are really dead".


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