Should Dr. Radhakrishnan's son become a doctor and work in India or not?
It refers to the 'Debate' regarding doctors' life and profession published in Spetember 2015 issue of Pediascene. I would like to join Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan in this debate for the reason that Dr. Radhakrishnan had magnanimously stated in the last paragraph. "I would like to hear from doctors here as well. Even if you disagree with my thoughts entirely, I do not mind. I just want to see how far the disillusionment lies and whether the 'hippocrates Oath' and 'Selfless service' tag are still as strong in your hearts today as it was the day you joined your medical college. Where do you think it is all going wrong in India?" I shall restrict my discussion limited to Indian scenario. I shall not be taking the issues in same order as they appear in his thought provoking article.
1. Are you willing to die for your profession?
It is stated: "The Indian Medical Association confirmed in May 2015 that over 75% of the doctors in India have faced some form of violence at the patient's hands in India." Unfortunately this statement is not wrong. There are multiple factors involved in it. It is not directed only against doctors. There are reports on regular basis that when government agencies go to check some wrong doings like demolition of un-authorised constructions or arrest of culprits the personnel including police men and police women are attacked by the wrong doers.
My questions to Dr. Radhakrishnan are:
A. Should a police man not chase a criminal, there is a risk that criminal may injure or kill him?
B. Should government servants refuse to go for any action against wrong doers?
There is an urgent need to see that hooligans are punished so that every one performs his or her duty without fear. I expected that Dr. Radhakrishnan would make some suggestions in this direction. Human beings need food grown in farms. Earlier farmers used to till the ground manually. Some one invented plough which made tilling easier. Later tractor and accessories were developed which have made farming more productive and easier. Just imagine if farmers had been advised to abandon the hardships involved in growing food, instead of thinking of some means to help these farmers!
2. (i) That is what being a doctor in India is all about, in the end.
(ii) The malaise within.
Here poor working conditions and overwork by doctors are mentioned.
3. Doctor paitent ratio
Dr. Radhakrishnan has mentioned that with 0.7 doctors per 1000 Indians, the doctor: patient ratio is far below than that of other comparable countries like China (1.9), United Kingdom (2.8) and United States (2.5). Spain's 4.9 seems like an absolute luxury in comparison. I must admit.
My question to Dr. Radhakrishnan is if you see a person drowning would you rescue him or lecture him that if he did not know swimming why did he go in the river? Similarly if you realise that India (your own country) needs more doctors, it in itself should be a strong reason for you to give a clarion call to other colleagues working abroad to leave their highly paid jobs and luxurious lives and rush to your motherland.
Dr. Radhakrishnan narrates story of a doctor who spoke at a public forum, that the guy at the shop recharging his mobile reveals how his monthly take awary was more than the doctor's.
So according to Dr. Radhakrishnan and that doctor it was higher pay of the person recharging his mobile, have made them think low of medical profession that it would be better to do any job which pays you more than become a doctor. So success or achievements in life should be measured by the wealth accumulated and not what you do.
Smallpox vaccine vaccine was developed by Dr. Edward Jenner in 1798. He got so much involved in his project that his medical practice suffered very much. His colleagues approached the King of England with a request that parliament should sanction funds for Dr. Jenner so that his family may not suffer. Parliament sanctioned financial help for Dr. Jenner. When finally smallpox vaccine was developed Dr. Jenner refused to get it patented. His vaccine has eradicated smallpox from our planet. I wonder what opinion Dr. Radhakrishnan and his some friends having similar thinking have about Dr. Edward Jenner's foolish acts.
5. Should Dr. Radhakrishnan's son become a doctor in India?
It is for his son to decide whether he wants to be a doctor or an engineer, a lawyer, an architect or a businessman. It is for him to decide whether his priority would be money, earned any how or to take up a profession of his liking, money being secondary.
My worry is that if all human beings follow Dr. Radhakrishnan's advice the world scenario would be very grim. I would like to give example of one profession only. It is teaching. School teachers are lowly paid compared to the teachers in colleges and universities and have to put in much longer hours as compared to hours put in by teachers in colleges and universities. So by abiding Dr. Radhakrishnan's advice no person should become a school teacher, and instead go for any other job or profession. Question is: how will students study in colleges and universities if no schools exist?
Dr. Radhakrishnan states: "I just want to see how far the disillunionment likes......" One of my daughter is a gynecologist, married to a pediatrician. Their son and daughter are medical students. My other daughter is a pediatrician. She left her teaching job as Associate Professor in Pediatrics and presently is working for thalesemic children. She had conducted first BMT for a thalesemic child in Rajasthan, BMT procedure was carried out in the Medical Colleges later.
Recently a lawyer approached me while I was shopping and enquired whether I am Dr. Yash Paul, child specialist who charges less consultation fee from persons belongs to economically weaker section? When I told him that he is right. He requested me to allow him to join my 'venture', by donating some money to help needy persons, but his identity should not be disclosed. Similarly many years ago a businessman had provided me money for needy persons. All this while I retired long ago from government service and now I am a private practitioner, attached to a private hospital
We should not shirk responsibility
It is a harsh reality that morality in society in general has taken a nose dive. We should not be mute observers and wait for some one to make a change in society. We should on individual level make some positive contribution. Even a small step taken in right direction may provide dividend which may be small or big. To participate in corruption because it is rampant cannot be justified. Every responsible citizen should make efforts to reverse the process. Apart from honesty in one's job or profession one thing which is needed urgently is that we should not elect a bad person for any post including Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. We should remember that there is always a light at the end of a tunnel. But, end of the tunnel and light come our way only when we make a move.
There are many medical centres which provide facilities for some specialised medical and surgical treatments of international level and cater to foreigners and it is called 'Medical Tourism'. These centres bring foreign exchange for our country also. Few establishments care for poor needy people. American and European people get doctors and nurses from other countries including India. No doctors from other countries are expected to come to India to provide medical services to our needy people. It is for us Indians to realise that we should think of serving our own people rather than leaving our country for more money.
In the end I would say that we have to set our principles and no one can force us to abandon or deviate from these. I would personally plead with Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan that he should reconsider his decision that he would not let his son become a doctor in India.
Dr. Yash Paul
G-1, Kumkum Apartment-II,
Plot No. 48, Vinoba Nagar,