November 5, 2022
This is the way that physicians mend or end us,
Secundum artem: but although we sneer
In health – when ill, we call them to attend us,
Without the least propensity to jeer.
- Lord Byron (1788-1824), English poet and peer.
“Is there no hope?”, the sick man said,
The silent doctor shook his head,
And took his leave with signs of sorrow,
Despairing of his fee tomorrow.
- John Gay (1685-1732, English poet and dramatist.)
“You tell the doctor, that y’are ill
And what does he, but write a bill,
Of which you need not read one letter,
The worst the scrawl the dose is better.
For if you knew what you take,
Though you recover, he must break.”
“Physicians, of all men, are most happy: Whatever good success soever they have, the World proclaimeth and what faults they commit, the earth covereth” – Francis Quarles (1592-1614), English poet and dramatist.
Modern-day Humour on Doctors
“The doctor X-rayed my head and found nothing.” – Dizzy Dean, (1910-1974), American professional baseball pitcher.
“Doctors will have more lives to answer for in the next world than we generals.” Napoleon Bonaparte (1769- 1821), French military and political leader.
“My doctor tells me I should start slowing down – but there are more old drunks than there are old doctors so let’s have another round.” - Willie Nelson (b. 1933), American country musician.
In recent days doctors have less to laugh about than to worry. The Supreme Court has banned two-finger vagina test in rape cases. At state level, Karnataka is contemplating measures so that doctors do not moonlight as detailed below.
According to media reports, in a controversial move, the Karnataka state government is planning to introduce a GPS-tracking system for government doctors who come under the Directorate of Medical Education in the state.
Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said on October 28, 2022 that the aim of the initiative is to make the doctors abide by the rules as there is an increase in the number of complaints against government doctors practising privately during duty hours. The minister was speaking after chairing a two-day divisional-level progress review meeting of the Health and Medical Education Department in Mysuru.
“As we were receiving complaints of doctors being irregular, we decided to implement 100 per cent biometric attendance system making it compulsory for doctors to mark their attendance at three intervals. However, there is a technical glitch. We are now thinking of introducing geo-tagging facility and talks are on to enforce a total ban on private practice by government doctors,” said Dr Sudhakar.
He said, in Mysuru alone, over 10-15 per cent of doctors are found to be irregular and the director has been asked to take action against them. “We are not against doctors practising privately, but it should be done only after duty hours. The government doctors must understand the gravity of the situation,” he said.
He also said that if private practice is banned, there is an alternate plan to allow these government doctors to practice at medical colleges after their duty hours.
Reacting to the government’s proposal, Dr Chimanyee Gowda, ex-women’s in-charge at Federation of All India Medical Association, said: “All doctors cannot be made to face the consequences of wrongdoing of a few doctors. Though the duty of doctors is to serve the nation, geo-tagging will be an invasion into privacy.” She further said that the pay scale for government doctors is very less, which drives doctors to shift to private jobs. The government’s plan will further cause a shortage in an already low working force in government setups, she said.
Tejas S, President of Karnataka Association of Resident Doctors, said, “…in Karnataka, government doctors are underpaid, and hence, some doctors work in private clinics after their duty hours. Complete ban on doctors will not be helpful”. He also said that only a few doctors violate the rules.
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