September 1, 2016
Without any prejudices, the purpose of this blog is to outline the status of medical profession or practice in India – both from a public and a doctor’s perspective.
It’s a simple and lighthearted perception that does not intend to hurt the sentiments of anyone, and if it does, then please excuse as it’s purely unintentional.
The blog does not aim to blame anyone, be it the public or the doctors, or glorify the medical practice or doctors or explain the plight of doctors.
I also want to be very clear this is a column, and therefore presents my personal views, while I certainly agree there could be many other viewpoints that I will be very happy to debate amiably.
This is the first of a series of columns that will discuss various aspects of the health industry.
How one becomes a doctor?
Being the first column, let me try analysing how one actually becomes a doctor, before getting into serious issues.
Let’s try rewinding a successful doctor’s life to his or her childhood. (I’m not using the word ‘my life’ as I don’t consider myself successful at least for now).
In fact, many still believe being a doctor itself is an achievement (let’s discuss this issue sometime later).
Every year in the month of June when the Grade 12 results are declared, we invariably get to hear the standard line from toppers, which is, “It was always my passion to become a doctor and serve the society”. It’s so repetitive that journalists can actually cut and paste from the previous year’s news report.
Youngsters are so well informed today that they have graduated to using titles of specialities like cardiology, oncology etc, instead of just doctors.
Let’s now see from where did this ‘passion’ arise.
Starting from elementary school usually these kids are some of the best scoring in class, possibly the front benchers who roam around with like-minded students. They are quite close to the teachers, more liked at home than the other siblings, are the usual ‘quality control kids’ setting an example for the children of relatives or neighbours.
Feels good, doesn’t it? Exactly, this is when the children start to taste the first ecstasy of life, and sorry to use the word ecstasy. But I prefer this to ‘flying high’ as this feeling is exactly what they acquire, thanks to the neighbours, teachers, parents and relatives, who turn into counsellors for the children who in turn are mesmerised into becoming doctors.
It’s common to hear statements like,”If he doesn’t become a doctor, then who would?!”, “God has been so kind to have made you so brilliant that you should become a doctor!”
Some uncle of yours could be telling his son, “Look at him, he is studying so well and would become a doctor and you would only be grazing cattle.” Oh my god!
Slowly and steadily, their only target would be to become a doctor. They will have no clue whether they like maths or not, but will dislike the subject as it is not required to become a doctor. Actually many don’t like Biology (in fact I didn’t), but when you say “I loooove science”, parents are proud to hear your lie for once.
No English, no Hindi, just biology, chemistry and physics, and a 200 cutoff are the only things they would need in life for now. The counsellors also bustle around you, making sure you hear only one thing: “Get into Medical college and your life is settled!”
And then here comes our doctor after all those sleepless nights, crying, panic attacks and spiritual episodes.
Do I need to explain spiritual episodes? Ha,ha, ha!
Here comes our doctor. Although he may have just scored a medical seat, he already starts imagining to be a doctor , or ‘counselled’ into imagining so.
So was it passion, force, necessity or chance that made him a doctor? We are still searching for answers!
(The writer is Head of Bariatric Surgery, Gem Hospital & Research Centre, Coimbatore)
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own