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Of the White Coat

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 Feb 2018 12:00 AM GMT

By ID Bora

You might have seen doctors. You might have admired them too. And now with the frequent visuals in news headlines: be it an attack or negligence or a new law being passed-"doctors" now have the potency of soon being the heated topic of discussion. While most of us consider them to be just money-makers in the me of humanity, many of us still uphold our believe in them- it is that believe which has been running through centuries- the very fact that be it a king or a laymen, when in ailment, it is a doctor who will heal you through.

It is only when we look into the inrds that we see the cumbersome journey one has to go through to don the white coat and sling a stethoscope over his shoulder.

When you walk into a med-school as a medical student, you are welcomed by the three basic sciences: Atomy, Physiology and Biochemistry which are more than enough to replace the erstwhile Physics, Chemistry and Biology from our cerebral cortex. You forget Calvin Klein's perfumes when you get acclimatised to the stench of formalin in the dissection halls. This formalin poses a health hazard, its notoriety lying in the fact that it is a potential carcinogen. So does blood in Haematology practical and acids in Biochemistry. But this is just first year and hence the beginning. Move on to second year and then you have clinics. You don't have to deal much with interventions this year. However you are to perform the general examitions on the patients and the unlucky ones might end up contracting air-borne diseases. And as the years pass, you are to deal with patients' blood and stools and God knows what!

And if you thought that classes were the toughest part, think again. Almost every week you are assessed through assessment exams. In fact, every day in a doctor's life is an exam; be it while the study period or during practice. Also, in every stage of a person's life, in every academic institute he goes to, be it preschool or medical college, peer pressure is inevitable. Here in med school, you come across a wide variation of "peers": you have that geek friend who would memorise the entire Grey's and Park; you have that close friend who would at times consider you to be a little less knowledgeable than the others (and hence inferiority complex); then you have those fun-frolicking, party-goers who would make you seem like your life is nowhere close to fun or anything remotely akin to that.

Bravo to you if you could pass through these stages of aggro. You are a doctor now and it's up to you if you would start practising or opt for further studies. But is that all...With the controversial exit exam (something called NEXT which has been on debates over the last few months), the medicos will not even be sure if after their five and a half years of turmoil, will a pen and paper based test earn them the "Dr." Tag.

Now, suppose the struggling period is over. You are a full-fledged doctor now. Frustration follows here too. Let alone the neck-to-neck competition amongst the professiol, doctors are nowadays in fear of being battered any moment because of what the physicists would term as "human error". And you cannot help but wonder why human rights are always against the doctor fraternity. Doctors are indeed doing a noble deed serving mankind- but this does not mean that they will be bereft of any errors. There are certain amendments made, certain judgements made by people from other professions which even after a decade long delay turns out to be disastrous. But a doctor has to perform his examitions and come up with a result within an hour or less. This might even be the scerio when a doctor has to prescribe some medicines in certain emergency cases which might at times result in allergic reactions. Of course, tests are done before hand. But none of us knows the genetic machinery of a person. It took more than ten years for scientists to decipher less than half of the genetic coding. However, even if the problem was genetic, the attendants would be ready with their slippers and shoes.

And when the treatment is successful, the attendants consider it to be God's blessing and ignore the doctor's hard work; hence ignoring his due. Brickbats to the ones who demand their fee (they are serving mankind, how dare they charge for that) are condemned as selfish money makers. But the fact that we do not hesitate to pay an engineer his due or lawyers or corrupt officials their "kala dhan" is often considered. Didn't the doctor work just as hard to get through the medical entrance exams; didn't he have to combat all odds to get through his medical exams; isn't he performing his duty like any other fellow professiol? And besides, if you can shower brickbats without hesitation, you should have the guts to bestow bouquets too without much thinking.

Doctors are not God; earlier people did consider them to be next to God. Just like a person mimicking James Bond's "My me is Bond...", dialogue doesn't become James Bond, a person next to God also cannot be expected to become God.

Doctors' life is not an easy one. It is not like the glamorous ones that they show in soaps and movies. Especially when he has to juggle his life and his patient's at the same time. It is more of a vicious cycle of frustrations, anxiety and commotion. And it would be better if we pay them the respect that they deserve.

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