Doctor & Patient, A ‘Pious Relationship’

Tilak Vij

Since ages, Medical profession has been known for service to mankind. It is a known fact that those who opt for medical profession do so out of passion for medicine. It takes years of toil and practice to build credibility and a bank of professional knowledge that comes with experience. But yes, this is also admitted that this is also a source of livelihood.

Doctors, para-medics and other support staff - that constitute the ‘essential services’ willingly sacrifice a variety of comforts, be it restful night’s sleep, or time with family, to make sure urgent matters are attended to first. For doctors - morbidity, pain and death are all a part of everyday work.

On the other way, the patient/consumer relationship has its own story to tell. Rising costs of health-care, too many diagnostic tests, unnecessary surgeries and drugs, lack of facilities in emergency situation, indifferent attitude of some healthcare professionals are some of the concerns from the patient’s point of view.

In modern times, a patient has also become a consumer. Obviously the patient has a right to know about the treatment he or she is getting or the need of certain tests to be performed during illness. There is lot of information available online. But it is a fact that no amount of reading, even for the doctor, can replace the knowledge gained through experience and understanding of the fundamentals of medicine as a science. It is therefore important for the patient/consumer to understand the values before judging a healthcare professional’s decision.

The other important aspect which is discussed is that of apathy and indifference to the patient’s well-being. This is not correct. Here one should understand that a doctor is also a human-being and is sometimes dependent on availability of medication, equipment and diagnostic facilities to offer full care in a critical situation as is being felt during current Corona times.

Under very grave situations as the country is facing during current Corona epidemic, the patients and their kins must understand the overall deficiencies in medical infrastructure and inadequacy of trained medical personnel to meet this extraordinary situation. These type of emergencies do occur but once in a century. Here the patience and understanding of patients and their relatives is very crucial.

Generally we believe in God, we do so more whenever we are in a difficult situation, be it about health, finance or social relations. We are most near to God when we are facing severe health issues as is the current Corona one. At this crucial point, it is the Doctor to whom we look at as our only saviour. Unflinching trust in God never allows us to doubt the intentions of the Doctors who are working day and night even at the risk of their own lives. Below are certain instances which reflect the actual scenario about the work conditions of Doctors and para-medicos during this dreadful epidemic.

Family members of a Covid-19 patient attacked doctors, nurses and other staff at the Apollo Hospital in New Delhi. The family members were enraged after the patient died without getting an ICU bed.

Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospital says that they do not expect gratitude, but atleast people should be civil. He adds that “we do not expect ‘thank you’ because we chose this line at the age of 23. We took an oath, a pledge that we will put the interest of our patients above us.” He adds further that they never anticipated this kind of behaviour from the relatives of the patients.

Our healthcare system is under tremendous pressure during second wave of Covid-19. According to Dr. Rohan Aggarwal of Holy Family Hospital- everyone - patients, relatives and staff - knows that there are not sufficient beds, not enough oxygen, not enough ventilators to keep everyone who comes to the hospital. Dr. Rohan says ‘ Who to be saved, who not to be saved should be decided by God’. But here Doctors have to decide depending upon the critical aspects of the patients.

Our country is passing through a very grave situation. Corona epidemic is at its peak. The patients and their kin must understand the overall deficiencies of existing medical infrastructure. Trained medical staff is also inadequate compared to the present need due to sudden spurt of Corona epidemic simultaneously in all the States of the country. Neither Para-medical staff can be trained overnight nor medical equipment can be manufactured or procured at a short notice as the increase in demand is all over the world. Therefore we have to avoid the inhuman acts of attacking the doctors and allied staff. This would further spoil the pious relationship between the ‘doctor and the patient’.

Country cannot afford the destruction of medical infrastructure by unruly mobs whose kins have not been so lucky to withstand the havoc created by this deadlier disease. This would affect the morale of medical fraternity and further worsen the deficiencies on the infrastructural front. Cooperation of general public, politicians belonging to ruling and opposition ranks and social organisations hold the key for general welfare of the masses during these difficult times.


Dr.Anupam Sibal, Dr Rohan Aggarwal, India Today