The Good in Medicine

Hospitals are places one goes to for treatment, to get better and to kick their illness. Everyone knows that. Like every profession, there are some good doctors and there are some bad ones. What really gets my goat is how every other person has an opinion on how evil medicine has become recently.

I read a post today, about a child’s surgery costing way more than it should. It stated that the hospital charged more than a lac for simple stitches. It also stated that the entirety of the medical profession was dirty, corrupt and unreliable. But now, were they just simple stitches? I looked into the matter, I just had to. No, they weren’t all that simple. Under General Anastesia, the surgeon found that the eyelid and a part of the boys eyebrow was shattered; it was bone deep. Being an experienced plastic surgeon, the surgeon replaced the ocular muscles layer by layer, and then used fine stitches to close the wound up. It was not a 10 minute long procedure. Here’s the dirty little secret: Running a hospital is a business like any other.  Doctors and hospitals are going to charge you for the services and amenities they provide otherwise how the hell do they survive? And if a patient’s family doesn’t have the common sense to ask for the tariff of the best kind of room before taking it up, and then stoop to bitching about it, I have very little sympathy for them. Reckoning the whole profession as ugly and corrupt is an immature and ignorant approach to the situation.

In this particular case, the family claimed the child was shifted to the ICU to create impact and panic them. And what if they hadn’t shifted the child to the ICU? What if the child ended up having a bad reaction to anesthesia? Suppose he lost his vision because the doctor didn’t do a thorough job? Who would be to blame then? Once again, the profession and the people in it. Medicine is a scary profession. Doctors literally hold other people’s lives in their hands and so they make it a point to do their best. A lack of understanding mixed with a unhealthy dose of fear is why the profession is often misunderstood. As humans, it’s not unbelievable that every once in a while, someone makes a mistake. If a doctor is meticulous and keeps your child under observation, there is almost always a viable explanation for it.

I was watching a medical show called Scrubs the other day, and what they say about how people view medicine today in comparison to how they viewed it years ago got under my skin. The Chief of Medicine, who hadn’t really treated patients in a long time, got back in the game for the purpose of a bet. Now, stay with me here, he realized that people in general no longer treat doctors like they used to. “When the hell did patients stop respecting us? Remember when being a doctor meant people would look up to you? When I first started out I could take this white coat out and get a free haircut or a nice table at a restaurant. Hell, I never once got a speeding ticket.” was what he said, and he got a response I find perfect for this particular situation. “Those were the good old days. Today, people think of us as drug dispensing, walking lawsuits who are in fact less informed than their internet phones.” The fact of the matter is, hospitals also need to be very careful, in case they get blamed for something they have little or no control over. It happens all the time.

I have two doctors for parents. My father isn’t home three nights a week because he’s out tending to emergency surgeries. He worked at a Pro-Bono hospital every morning for more than ten years. He operated on people who couldn’t afford the surgery, completely free of charge. He missed my biggest dance performance and the only play I was ever in because he was tending to the sick. My mother deals with very sick children every day, she treats them the best she can and gives discounts to patients who obviously can’t afford the treatment. They both pick up their phones in the middle of the night and rush off to work at 3 o’clock in the morning because one of their surgical patients had gotten a bad case of the hiccups. Yes, that’s right, hiccups.

Of course, I may be a little biased given that I grew up in the profession around good-hearted competent doctors. But I find it hilarious that people who work in other businesses, with the clear motive of making as much profit as possible through whatever means necessary, have the audacity to comment on Medicine being a soulless profession. My masi is a gynecologist and my masa is a general surgeon. My cousin still remembers the time her parents were hardly able to spend time with her when she was back home from college. The day she was leaving, her mother was stuck in an emergency surgery and her father had to check on a patient. They couldn’t spend time with their own child because they were taking care of other people’s children.  So I ask you again, is it morally correct to deem the entire profession as dirty with medical professionals like them out there?

2 thoughts on “The Good in Medicine

  1. rani misra June 25, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    So nicely written and so true.we,the people associated with doctors know how harshly they are judged for the same things that others do as a matter of right.which profession works incessantly:none,but doctors have to be superhuman,they do,and no one seems to even think that it is something which is to be appreciated,they take it as a Matter of their right because they pay for it but if a doctor asks for his fees for service rendered them all he’ll breaks loose.
    I get it that patients panic for their loved ones,and that it’s traumatic to have someone you love ill. but just have faith in your doctor,a doctor too cares for his patients and a lot of his reputation hinges on their well being,so he too will do his best for them,just believe in him and do trust him

    • iamatripathi June 26, 2016 / 5:26 am

      Thank you aunty. Yes, it is true, only the ones who see it everyday know what a doctor really goes through.

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