We need professional mourners, protestors and agitators

Is it as yet Enough ?

A doctor slapped by an agitated patient's relative or even a threat of rape to a resident doctor is hardly something which raises eyebrows in our country. A doctor stabbed for refusing to do sex determination may get small print in inside pages of local newspaper. An MLA or Member Parliament publicly thrashing more than one senior doctors in a medical college is suppressed as a news because of political correctness. To my knowledge we have had at least three doctors who have been killed by patient relatives for perceived professional negligence and these murders are not even in public conscience.

Our threshold for tolerance is very high. Maybe if 200 doctors die in line of professional duty someday we will realize that it is not the society, judiciary, police or politicians who are to be blamed for our misery. It is us , the medical professionals themselves who are to blame. We have been selfish , petty , greedy and jealous bunch of materialistic morons who cannot see the writing on the wall because it is not my wall on which it is written. We make some token noise, forward a few mails hold a photo-op before scurrying back to our OPDs because heavens will fall if one day my OPD is closed.

And there is also the issue that the doctors in institutes are far superior to doctors in Government civil medical services hence cannot associate with them and they in turn have nothing in common with the private practitioners to participate in a unified protest. Corporate doctors are of course not humans but Gods so cannot mingle with ordinary mortals for something as mundane as assault on one doctor.

Barring a few exceptional colleagues , if funds are sought to be collected to take legal action for a acknowledged collective wrong done to our profession we suddenly turn paupers. This has been my experience whenever we have sought funds on behalf of MLAG to file petitions on various issue like doctors right to protest or unlawful arrest of doctors. When a doctor is booked under section 304 and is on the run, how many of us go to his home , see that his children are safe and family is secure. No one will accompany him to police station and If arrested no one will visit him in jail. We excel however in showing our colleagues down in front of patients or in conferences by quoting the latest study conducted in Taiwan.

Whenever a doctor approaches me for help (and many do) and laments that no one is helping him I have lately started questioning them on what he / she had done for other doctors in trouble prior to their own problem having occurred. 99% of the time they have never contributed time, money or even their sympathy when the issue involved someone else.

I am a strong believer in going by the law. We started Medicos Legal Action Group with the idea that we will seek legal resolution for common cause grievances and will not resort to strike, hartals or other forms of violent protest. Part of the reason was my confidence in our brethren who would not participate in a demonstration in sufficient numbers what to talk of strikes etc. Situation in the country however is fast making me loose conviction that we will achieve our goals by legal means alone. We are going through a crisis and soon something will break. Till then there will be some casualties from among the doctors which I hope are not among my near and dear ones.

I am waiting for the day when an agitated member municipal corporation asks his gunman to shoot the doctors who did not attend to his mother at the instant demanded. I request all to contribute money to Medicos Legal Action Group so that MLAG can hire professional mourners / protestors because our colleagues will be too busy and uninterested to collect to mourn and protest. Since contributions again will be scant maybe I can rope in some insurance company to introduce a policy which would provide funds to hire professional mourners / protestors in case of death of doctor while on duty and then convince doctors to buy the policy from MLAG Indemnity.

Dr Neeraj Nagpal 
Convenor,Medicos Legal Action Group, Managing Director MLAG Indemnity, 
Ex President IMA Chandigarh
Director Hope Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Clinic,
1184, Sector 21 B Chandigarh 
09316517176 , 9814013735
0172; 4633735, 2707935, 2706024, 5087794
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For Contributions; "Medicos Legal Action Group" Ac No 499601010036479 IFSC code UBIN0549967 Union Bank Sector 35 C Chandigarh; 
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