Forward a doctor’s experience

Rajesh sobti
A few years ago when I started working in the remote areas, my parents weren’t supportive of the idea. They insisted that I shouldn’t go to remote areas as there were law and order issues. They felt (and rightly so) that I was inexperienced, relatively new to the profession and wasn’t competent enough to handle any untoward situation. They insisted that I meet a very senior orthopaedic surgeon who was  politically very well connected in that area and somehow related to our family. During the meeting, he assured me that I could call him in case of any untoward situation and he would be more than helpful. For me, the very thought of an “untoward situation” was hypothetical and the meeting was not really required. It didn’t make any sense to me then.
A couple of months back when I started visiting a suburb town near NCR, I noticed that the owner of the hospital who was a doctor, had a good repute in the society, was well connected and very well built (could give any wrestler a run for their money), and extremely polite (to the extent of calling me ‘bhaiya’ despite being 10 years elder to me) carried a pistol. The first time we saw it, my friend, an anaesthetist, the respective doctor and I discussed its calibre, magazine size, make etc. The next time, I couldn’t hold myself. Looking at his pistol, I politely asked him, “Boss, is it necessary?” He was quiet for a few seconds, smiled and replied, “Bhaiya, in these 10 years I have made a place for myself in the society. Sometimes I come here at odd hours to counsel attendants and declare death. If at all something goes wrong, I would rather chase the crowd away than get thrashed and end up in my own ICU.” He added, “At odd hours, I keep it Cocked & loaded!” It now sounds like Donald Trump!
We never discussed guns after that. And again, all this didn’t make any sense to me then.
Recently, I was stuck in a situation in a counselling room (64 sq ft) of a hospital when about 8-10 aggressive male attendants surrounded me. I had not operated upon the patient, didn’t even know him. I was just there to see another patient. The attendants were getting aggressive with the nursing staff. I tried to intervene and explain to those aggressive illiterate attendants that a urocath getting blocked after a prostate surgery is not a surgeon’s or a nurse’s negligence. I was purely unlucky to be there and just lucky enough to have escaped unhurt.
Now when I retrospect, I realise that:
1. My worried old father who often co-relates the law and order situation, mob mentality  and hazards of being a doctor today, is right.
2. My wife’s restlessness when I go out at odd hours to do a laparotomy or a LSCS  is absolutely justified.
3. My Guru/mentor/father figure, ensuring that all his 4 children (son, DIL, daughter and SIL) settle abroad despite him having a roaring practise in India, made a very intelligent move.
There is absolutely nothing like Judicial negligence, political negligence, bureaucratic negligence etc., but Medical negligence is always a topic of concern for non medicos and  the media.
A country which spends almost 10% of its GDP on healthcare makes its citizen wait for weeks to months before they can see a specialist. A country like India which spends a negligible share of its GDP on healthcare and whose citizens have easy access to specialists ensures that nothing concrete is done when a doctor is thrashed while performing their duties.
In a desi version of Koffee with Karan, Mr Prime Minister had all the time in the world amidst the chaos of national elections to get interviewed by a leading actor (wearing pink trousers) over a never-ending cup of tea in a lush green garden, but has no time to rectify or moderate a non sustainable, impractical and disastrous scheme like Ayushman bharat which will supposedly take care of the health of 75% population of this country. Rajeev Gandhi Swasthya Beema Yojna …. let’s not even get there!
A B grade journalist whose IQ isn’t even 1/10th of the ICU technician working in such wards has the audacity to enter a PICU without following any protocols and intimidate the only and already over burdened doctor working there. This lady later starts questioning the head of department of that hospital. Does she even realise what and with whom was she talking? All this for mere TRP and to stamp the authority of the media. Get a life, lady, and  question the right people, only if you can!
The Supreme Court can open its doors for terrorists at midnight but the security of our doctors can wait.
Long live our judiciary!
And finally, the Didi of this nation feels that since policeman die in line of duty so should doctors… Pathetic!!!
If this continues, then in the generations to come, the doctors will have only two options-
1. Pursue medicine and settle abroad.
2. You never know when u may need it… So keep it Cocked  and Loaded!!!