Medical negligence: Is it medical terrorism

26 May, 2016

Nowadays, it has become a fashion to say that doctors are not noble and not dedicated to their profession. Most of the time people are too judgmental and so biased with their opinion about doctors. These days, a section of people are frequently harassing, physically and mentally abusing doctors in the slightest pretext for alleged negligence without going into the merits of a case. This time it has crossed the limit. On May 14, Dr. Anamika Roy Memorial Trust organised one advocacy campaign in Guwahati against medical negligence with a title “Campaign against medical terrorism in State’. I have nothing to disagree about the issue of medical negligence. The campaign organised by the Trust to make people of the State aware about medical negligence and demanding better health care service in the state is praiseworthy. But, I strongly oppose using the exaggerated term “medical terrorism” to denote medical negligence. The entire medical profession shouldn’t be maligned by such term. This kind of sensational term may create a fear factor in the society. It can provoke those people who frequently abuses doctors. Negligence is prevalent in all profession. What message will spread in the society if we start to add term terrorism with each profession (e.g. educational terrorism, judicial terrorism, journalism terrorism, police terrorism, political terrorism, beurocrate terrorism etc.) for their negligence? These kinds of terms augur ill for any profession and the society in general.

Terrorism is a systemic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some kind of goal or other. According the Trust, any act of omission or commission of medical malpractice and medical negligence which can cause injury or death of a patient is medical terrorism and the doctor who is responsible for these types of acivities are terrorist. Though I don’t support personally, there may be some degree of malpractice or negligence by some doctors. But, a doctor never becomes violent to achieve any goal. A doctor never does injury to a patient or kills a patient for own benefit. So it is not good to use the term terrorism with this noble profession. We all know that medical practice comes under consumer protection act. If any doctor commits any kind of malpractice and medical negligence, the doctor will be punished as per law. Terrorism, apart from claiming lives, create tension among all section of society, especially the common masses, destroy the socio-economic and cultural fabric of the area in conflict and causes proverty. In my view, using the provoking term ‘medical terrorism’ in place of medical negligence, the Trust is creating fear, terror, tension among common masses and destroying the noble socio-economic fabric between medical profession and public.

As statistics reveal a large number medical injuries and deaths in the State due to medical negligence, so it is important to create awareness amongst people against medical negligence. In developed countries the authorities concerned meticulously examine the data in relation to medical negligence to bring down the incidence. But, in our state there is no such accountable medical tribunal to deal cases of medical negligence. The authorities concerned of the State should take notable action against medical negligence. There is need of a medical tribunal in the State to deal cases of medical negligence properly and rationally. This would be able to adopt measures to reduce such cases of medical negligence, the injuries and deaths that occur due to medical negligence. Many times, as public complains a fatal situation may not be due to doctor’s negligence. So, a medical tribunal is the need of the hour to get justice by both the doctors and patients. Doctors of the State shouldn’t be defensive about their negligence or errors being examined and recorded.

Medicine bridges the gap between science and society. Doctors are one important agent through which that scientific understanding is expressed. No one can deny the services and contributions of doctors dealing with health issues to the society. All doctors are doing their best to save human lives. Many human lives are saved due to doctor’s service. Sure, there are a few rotten fishes that do charge excessive fees, prescribe unnecessary and costlier medicines, order unnecessary investigations, have unholy nexus with diagnostic setup and pharmaceutical company,  misleads patient for his own benefit, take advantage of helplessness of a patient or his family, misbehave to patient and his relatives, refuses to admit his mistake, neglect in the duty of care and do inhuman acts of stealing organs, keep dead persons on ventilation for days together, illegal abortions after prenatal sex determination. These rotten fishes are degrading the noble profession and tarnishing the doctor’s image totally. But till most of the doctors’ top most priority is truly the wellbeing of their patients. The public should be aware and cautious in future who unfortunately have come in touch with these money- minded, selfish doctors; who are disgrace to the entire doctor fraternity. The public shouldn’t form a generalized negative opinion on the entire doctor fraternity, because of a few disgraceful doctors. Such generalized negative views demoralize and discourage noble dedicated doctors. People’s appreciation fuels the dedicated doctors to work and improve them to provide valuable health service to the society. Give the dedicated doctors a chance to serve people better.

Being a doctor myself, I request all the doctors to be aware and cautious in future and to be dedicated to their profession, so the trust and respect return that the public had in doctors. Trust is the single vital ingredient in doctor-patient-people relationship. If the trust and respect returns to doctor by the society, then uses of such term will automatically decrease. The role of doctors in medical practice has been changed drastically nowadays. Earlier medical practitioners struggled with unbelievably large numbers of patients in their districts. Today the numbers of patients are much smaller, but their qualitative demands are much higher. The patient expects that the doctor examine him/her properly, come to a correct diagnosis and offer treatment with the aim of curing the patient. To return the trust on doctor and to fulfil these demands one must practice ‘Good medical practice (GMP)’ as a set of values, behaviours and relationships. GMP has several components like medical professionalism (competence), doctor-patient relationship, good communication, judicious use of investigations, good prescribing and practicing within medical ethics. The best possible GMP is that where compenssionate health care can be provided to patient or community within the available resources in a specific setting, doing justice to the profession within ethics respecting persons and their autonomy, telling truth with informed consent, keeping confidentiality and giving maximum beneficence to the patient with non-maleficence. To end the conflict between doctor and public,to stop using the term like medical terrorism;we the doctors should be a little more patient in dealing with patients and answering their queries. A tolerant, forebearing and polite approach can go a long away in restoring the lost faith on doctors.

http://www.sentinelassam.com/editorial/story.php?sec=3&subsec=0&id=268541&dtP=2016-05-26&ppr=1#.V3Tek1fVunQ