Fifty years ago in any city or town in India, there would a handful of doctors, maybe specialists maybe not, whose clinics had long queues of patients. They would begin seeing patients in the wee hours of the day and continue seeing them all day long. Those were the days when whatever the doctor told you was regarded as the ‘gospel truth’. A doctor was chosen mostly based on a word of mouth recommendation through a friend or relative. Just meeting the doctor for 5 minutes cured most people’s illnesses. A doctor could rarely go ‘wrong’. It was sheer faith that made all the difference. A cult following definitely existed! I always wonder whether the doctors themselves really believed that they could create miracles! Those were the simpler days.
Let’s take a quick peek into a doctor’s clinic in 2020. Most patients will have multiple previous records of visiting several doctors for the same illness. Taking a second, third, or even fourth opinion is not unheard of! Almost always, they would have looked up reviews on Google about the doctor. Almost always the patient appears to have an element of mistrust or doubt about the treatment given. For a patient, faced with a distressing condition or illness, there will most definitely be queries; and as doctors, it’s our duty to answer you. But please have some faith! How can it be that every small hurdle in a patient’s course of treatment is the fault of the doctor? It looks like ‘the halo’ over doctors’ heads has totally disappeared.
As an obstetrician and gynaecologist, we often face such situations. We have to take care of both- mother and baby. Obstetrics is unpredictable. The simplest of pregnancies can get complicated, and what appears to a complicated pregnancy can turn out to be the least problematic. A preterm baby being shifted to the NICU is a nightmare for any patient. Similarly, a healthy baby and a weakening mother is something few wish to face. In spite of the best treatment, there are some things that are out of everyone’s control. Nobody likes complications, but they are a part and parcel of any medical treatment and have to be faced bravely. Can doctors create miracles beyond medical science? What helps in such situations is the strength of positivity.
In the last 3 months of the corona pandemic, healthcare workers are giving their best to save lives. Who would have thought that a small virus can bring the world to what it is today?
Almost all of my colleagues give more than 100 per cent. We have no fixed work hours, do not have the luxury of working from home and we are always prepared to go when called. We do not want a halo. At the end of the day, we also just human beings, trying to do the best we can. Patients have to realise that some situations are beyond our control. What is a fact is that we always want the best for our patients.