‘Black Eye’- Once More? How Often?

‘The Black Eye’, belongs to a doctor, who works not in Afghanistan but in a civilized society, somewhere in Maharashtra, who was violently assaulted for perceived wrong treatment. This is not an isolated incidence. Lately, it has become a trend; reflecting fast degrading standards, somewhat similar to Afghanistan, reflecting an inclination towards adopting barbaric practices. It is a shame on a society when they resort to violence especially against the medical community for ill-conceived and misperceived wrong. It is unfortunate and a disgrace on the society when the system stands still with blissful ignorance. No doubt, it is social decay and a reflection of social malice.

However, it is time to reflect, introspect, remodel and re-engineer social engagement focused on regaining trust. These are challenging times and medical profession, being cognitively driven, should find a way to understand this phenomenon and resolve this attitude. Let us accept, we lost trust, we take the initiative to regain it.

Dr. Naphade

Willful Political Ignorance

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It is a disgrace for a civilized society when its constituents resort to violence and its government ignores, reflecting a tacit support for violence that dilutes the statutes and legal stipulations. Politicians, irrespective of ideological lineage, have always been scared of taking action against such outburst, supporting popular voter base, at the cost of a small percentage of doctor population, which offers them no volume leverage. Not addressing such violent acts is likely to reinforce or reward violent aggression, which may eventually consolidate into a mainstream barbaric norm of resolving disputes. Supporting aggression is tantamount to accepting barbaric norms, at least in a civil society, an initial signs of emerging lawlessness, something similar to Talibanization of our society.

Physical violence is a clear sign that reflects lack of intelligence or trust to resolve disputes. The perpetrators are no less lunatic or rabid then those religious fanatics, who decide to adopt violence to eschew spiritual cause. Any blissful ignoring is simply encouraging the tendencies of violent aggression. In addition, adopting such crude measures reflects regression from civilized functioning.

Even under worst war torn conditions, doctors never had to carry weapons. Irrespective of civilizations and cultures across the globe, they have never been harmed physically even under the most trying circumstances of war and extreme brutality. Just imagine, doctors carrying guns while practicing or having patrol to protect themselves. Violence is one step lesser than that extreme degradation, that drastically liquidates and devalues us when we fashion ourselves as one of the most evolved societies. Having said this, trust me, there is zero tolerance towards violence against doctors. Somewhere, politicians are wrong if they presume that to avoid larger revolts, it is better to let these small revolts.

Dual System and Ethical dissonance

We all live in an ever degrading milieu where politicians, officers, business, spiritual leaders all manipulate  for personal material benefits. It is an existential dilemma, we support corruption and we aspire ethical interaction. We live a dual life, while personally interacting, we are worldly (practically) wise and while discussing norms we take an archaic puritanical stand. When the child within us interacts with the realities of the society, we expect the best ethical treatment. Eventually, that ambiguity becomes a way of living. Materialism and Commercialization has only fanned these further. Just imagine a doctor graduating from a donation college, imagine, a hospital investing crores. What do you expect them to meet to returns on investments (ROI). This profession is at the crossroads of balancing between ethos and an equation dominated by TCO (total cost of ownership) and ROI (return on investment). There is a sizeable proportion of practitioners who have made commerce out of practice.This commercialization of medicine started way back, now has mushroomed into distrust. Denial is no option. Let us accept this fact.

Murky milieu and a ‘way of living’

Of course, there is no support to the ideology or practice and ‘way of living’ of corruption. Irrespective of the circumstances, expectations from this profession are singularly unique. However, those considered to uphold highest values on ethos are found to rampantly practice ‘cut practice’, promote ‘nepotism’ in practice, solicit products and push wrong products are to be blamed as well. Neither can we deny this nor can we support this. Doctors are supposed to be the bearers of values; no one is expecting them to be selfless. There can’t be any justification to support any of these practices. I call this an evolving social phenomenon that is intertwined with the overall values and materialization, that is so rampant within the society. Medicine cannot be isolated from society as it is thoroughly grounded with the society. Is this a recent phenomenon? Is that a sudden transition?

However, when the trust disappears general tolerance crosses threshold and reflects as attacks against doctors, as an expression of that frustration. It is not about ‘Doctor versus Them’, but it is about ‘Doctors versus Ethos’.

Moments of Introspection

Let us take another stride and admit that this is a moment of introspection. Those who have seen two to three decades of medical profession, will recollect how this profession has steadily lost its grace and ethos to material and monetary artifacts. They have been a testimony of how values and trust have mellowed and melted?

Contemporary Challenge

Unfortunate though, doctors are taking a beating for a social phenomenon, a general angst and a societal malice. We have to work out a solution against this steady decay that started over several decades. It is trust deficit that is being reflected, it’s syndromic and we need to accept and bridge that trust deficit.

Character is doing the right thing when no one is watching. Let me add, right now, everyone is watching us silently though. It is a complex problem that needs a comprehensive system wide solution. It is moment for reflection and introspection. But as a cognitively driven committed profession, together we will find a way. It is time to introspect and remodel and re-engineer social engagement.