The mask

The study room was no longer a study room. Over the last few months, it essentially became a store room. Being a weekend, I decided to restore parity. I pounced upon my old briefcase with power ranger stickers on. It was my old school briefcase.

In my teens, I used it as my collection of precious possessions. It was essentially a box of my achievements. It did not have any sad moments saved up in it. It reminded me of all the people who share only fun moments on social media. It is human nature to store positive memories. It’s probably because negative memories stay forever. Positive ones remain but are ones which we consciously prefer to recollect again and again.

I was rummaging through the entire bundle of my school progress reports, reading through performance assessment verdicts given by my class teachers. It’s been 15 years since I left school.

I opted for medicine. It’s been a long, tiring, difficult, determined journey. Healthcare brings about multitude of human interactions. We meet people, both in and out of the workplace, be it colleagues, working staff or patients and their relatives.

The journey has been much more than illness and cure. As a person working in the healthcare system in India for the past 8 years in my field of radiology, I can fairly say it is a grim picture.

When I took up this profession, irrespective of the hippocratic oath, what mattered to me was that we deal with humans, who come to us for some help to restore their lives. I did my training keeping in mind no harm should be done to the patient. Harm doesn’t confine itself to physical form. The socioeconomic harm is also very relevant.

Just like fans look up to celebrities either in the film industry or sports, patients look up to doctors of great repute as people with a good percentage bet of restoring health. What irks me though is identifying the contrare from the inside.

What short term gains do doctors look for by exploiting patients? The arrival of Dr. Google has to a small extent put a dent into the money mongering tactics of doctors. Patients are not that illiterate of their illness, though a good percentage of people continue to know nothing about illness other than what is told to them by doctors.

Since it is a matter of health, provoking the proverbial death mongers fear. I have seen many patients putting themselves out there to more investigations and tests merely because of the fear instilled in them by another peer doctor.

So the question is, whom do we rely on? How do we know if the doctor is saying the real thing? Or cooking up a plot to thicken up his wallet?

I have only one message for these doctors. Remember. The present might seem rosy with what you do. Kicking ethical practice into the dustbin will come to haunt you. The right have nothing to fear. The wrong runs on fear.


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