Recently around 15 doctors suffered severe injuries after the local police resorted to tear gas shelling and launched a baton charge in the premises of the Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) in order to disperse doctors who had gathered there to protest.
Among the injured was Young Doctors Association (YDA) Chairman Dr Zubair, who is reported to be in critical condition. YDA President Dr Rizwan Kundi's arm was also allegedly fractured after police used force to stop the demonstration.
This is one of the many incidences that have become a common thing to happen.
Assault by the patient relatives is also a very frequent occurrence, with around 80% of doctors having faced some form of the violence or abuse.
Over the years doctors feel hemmed from all sides, victimized and perceived as being soft targets. Many doctors specially youngsters seeing their previous generation unhappy with the state of affairs have started leaving clinical practice. Some move into administration, others business, some go abroad, some simply retire. We cannot blame them because Pakistan has been at war with its doctors for the past 2 decades and doctors feel defeated. The doctors do not have supportive work environment, professional autonomy or fair pay.
And to aggravate all this, there comes the new trend of putting the blame of unfavourable outcome of a treatment on the doctors.
Though this trend is not limited to Pakistan but the level of aggression that the doctors face is certainly more in the country.
Multiple reasons can be attributed to this – from poor health infrastructure, lack of doctors, negative media reporting and general apathy of the administration.
“A medical practitioner faced with an emergency ordinarily tries his best to redeem the patient out of his suffering. He does not gain anything by acting with negligence or by omitting to do an act… A surgeon with shaky hands under fear of legal action or threat cannot perform a successful operation and a quivering physician cannot administer an end-dose to his patients… Blame is a powerful weapon. Its inappropriate use distorts tolerant and constructive relations between people.”
But all this said, one must not forget that doctors are the lifeline of a country, who protects the bleeding you. And we must ensure not to make them bleed.
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