Practice of medicine is the most respected of all professions. For all I know, they worked so hard, really very hard to get that degree to their name and it is not a joke. Well, they are also placed on the top of the status tier ,and most deservedly so, as no one can do without them. A doctor’s learning phase doesn't end with the last day of their final year examination. They need to keep themselves updated each and every single day of their existence because that is the pace at which medical science grows. A good doctor is one who is passionate about what he does, and not one who was sent to medical school because it was his grandpa’s last wish.
There are however, few morons who spoil it for the entire medical fraternity. Fake and unqualified ‘doctors’. Yesterday as I was watching TV, I came across this appalling piece of news, which reported that there are thousands of unqualified people practicing medicine across the state. That too, in full public view with placards outside their fake clinics. Amusingly enough, they even have an association for themselves, something called the All Kerala Unqualified Doctors. Unqualified-Doctor is a laughable oxymoron. A so-called ‘physician’ prescribed an unsuitable medicine for a child, was caught red-handed and thus was unraveled the shocking story of an entire community of medical frauds in the underbelly of the state, earning status and money to their credit since decades. Steroids, and expired medicines which were regularly prescribed, were caught from their pharmacies.
We are all laymen when it comes to medicine. When we get a headache we pop a paracetamol and get temporary relief. When there is a stomach upset we have something else ready. In short we have a whole medicine box to ourselves. Don’t we? Any self-respecting doctor may tell you not to prescribe medicines to yourself. If that headache persists even after you slept for 12 hours and ate enough food, then it is ideal to get a doctor’s opinion. Instead we eat paracetamol three times a day for a week to get rid of it. It may disappear for some time, but the suppressed symptom may be back with a bang later. Its better to be safe than sorry isn't it? But no, we do not get an appointment with a doctor, because, they are expensive, it takes an entire day to get a token, wait, buy medicines and come back home. Moreover, fake doctors are in town. Who knows their background and what if we end up eating steroids? I am a nobody as far as medicine is concerned, and I will go to a hospital only when something strikes real hard and a sick leave certificate is required from a doctor. Now with the fake doctor news, we are most likely to think twice and the value of qualified and lifesaving medical professionals go down.
It doesn't stop there. There are another category of qualified doctors who are determined to slander reputed and sincere ones. We had a a family friend-doctor, to whom my parents went flocking to when they sneezed or had hair fall. This person, who dint have many patients to his credit was proficient to prescribe antibiotics for the smallest ailment. But who are we to judge? 'He is an MBBS!' defended Papa ever since I could remember. A month ago, my mother had this incessant tiredness, sore arms and fever and high body temperature that wouldn't come down. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, repeatedly, which further worsened the condition of my mother, whose arms got red and had rashes after ten days of treatment. When the doctor understood that things were going beyond his expectations, he said that this was a confirmed case of measles and that she had to shift to a different hospital. When my parents met with an experienced doctor from a reputed hospital in the city, he admitted her immediately in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) as this was a severe case of Dengue fever and shouted at Papa for not bringing her earlier. The platelet count in her blood had gone way down from normal and in the next two weeks, she had to be infused with six bottles of blood. My mother, who later recovered, battled with fatigue and body pain for more than a month. Now tell me, everyone makes mistakes, but can doctors wait so long until they come to a conclusion in the diagnosis of a person? Shouldn't he have checked the blood when fever persisted so long, given that dengue is like a plague nowadays?
I have another example for you. Once when my husband was about to leave after his appointment at a hospital, the doctor casually asked how our son was. My husband replied that he was fine, but had a slight cold which was manageable. Immediately the doctor tore a paper from his pad, wrote the names of three syrups and handed it over to him, saying that these would ease the cold. My son was four months old at that time. All three syrups had in their leaflets, dosages and warnings which said that it is not for kids under the age of two. I am not judging anyone, but I am educated enough to know, that without seeing, touching or knowing about any allergies or medical history, is it not okay to prescribe medicines for an infant, or anyone for that matter. My son was not there with my husband then, and so it sounds really wrong to me. Nevertheless we did not give those medicines to our son. We met a qualified pediatrician who suggested that no medicines are required and to consult him again if it does not subside in a week.
Both the examples above are my bad experiences with doctors in general. The doctor we meet with now is a qualified person, who listens, educates us about what is wrong and prescribes medicines only if it is necessary. He doesn't write down big names in illegible letters just because we visited him. And we trust him blindly because he is right all the time. I wish all doctors were like him. Most of them are, I know, but I hope the unqualified ones and others who lack experience, does not meddle with the lives of people. I hope as many people wake up to realize that there are fake doctors out there, waiting to make money out of our misery.
Good doctors are found not only in plush multi-specialty hospitals alone; they are everywhere. You just need to identify them. The minute you stop placing your trust on that fancy placard outside, and go that extra mile to do adequate search and gather opinions, it is worth each day you take out for an appointment. Because healing comes from God; real doctors are His messengers. And his, is the final word, the answer to your question of health, of life.