What was once a noble profession now seems like a high-risk job.
Numerous publicized instances of violence against health professionals have brought alive a fundamental question – has healthcare changed from being a service-oriented profession to a business model?
Well, there are two sides to a coin.
It is but fair to note that those who opt for this rather tedious and relatively thankless profession do so out of passion for medicine .It takes years of toil and practice to build credibility and a bank of personal knowledge that comes with experience. Ultimately, however, the fact remains that it is also a source of their livelihood. Doctors, paramedics and other support staff that constitute the “essential services” willingly sacrifice a variety of comforts, be it a restful night’s sleep or time with family, to make sure urgent matters are attended to first. To add to that, morbidity, pain and death are all a part of everyday work.
On the other hand, the patient/consumer set has its own story to tell. Rising cost of health care, too many diagnostic tests, apparently unnecessary surgeries and drugs, lack of facility in emergency situation, indifferent attitude or apathy of healthcare professional are some of the concerns from the patient’s point of view.
Most often, the first intent of a medical practitioner is to do no harm. Making people well is what they are meant to do.
The various “points” the patient/consumer makes about too many tests increasing the cost of healthcare are in fact a protective mechanism in today’s times. Defense against under-diagnosing or misdiagnosing and being sued for that, is a real threat in today’s times.
The patient has become a consumer .The patient obviously has a right to know about the treatment he or she is getting or the need for certain tests to be performed in the course of illness. There’s also a lot of information available online and knowledge is not exclusive. However, it is also a fact that no amount of reading, even for the doctor, can replace the knowledge gained from experience and understanding of the fundamentals of medicine as a science. It is therefore important for the patient/consumer to understand this before judging a healthcare professional’s decision.
Cost of healthcare, undoubtedly, has risen. For the average middleclass person, a specialist’s consultation costs as much as a movie ticket in a multiplex; that is not bad!
However, multiple consultations, a multitude of tests, admission to hospitals that form a part of a chronic condition obviously is extremely difficult for the common man to sustain; And the less said about the economically deprived, the better.
It is here, that the private healthcare players need to devise a sustainable model that is pocket-friendly for the patient as well as profitable for them.
Another oft discussed topic is that of apathy and indifference to the patient’s well being. Here, one should consider that before everything else, a doctor is human, is sometimes dependant on availability of medication, equipment, and diagnostic facility to offer full care in a critical situation. Sometime, despite all efforts, it is not possible to prolong life or save a limb and while the onus lies on the physician to explain the scenario to the aggrieved, it is also important for the patient and their well wishers to empathize with the person who brings bad news . For, even for the strongest individual, sharing sad news and being helpless about it is heartbreaking.
Having seen both sides of the scenario, one believes that a prudent way to deal with illness is to find a learned physician, adequate health insurance, a hospital within reasonable economic reach and of course some trust!