Monday, October 29, 2012



She was a young and petite woman with a soft voice and a benevolent face unlike the more common elderly shrill and tyrannical kind. The general opinion was that she was a good nurse who did her duties well. A few hours past midnight, she was called upon to look at one of the patients of her ward.
The patient was a frail and elderly woman whose lungs were consumed by tuberculosis and it must have been a few months of familial neglect that culminated in making it so difficult for the unfortunate old lady to breathe in air to stay alive. A few wonder drugs and nursing care had prolonged her survival for some hours but her health was too damaged to let her fight her battle against death with any degree of miraculous success.
The men who flanked the nurse as she approached the sick and decrepit patient had been well informed at the outset about the lost cause and it so appeared that they accepted that eventuality. However, when the nurse began to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the unmoving body of the patient, a totally untoward reaction occurred. The burly men, who were the sons and nephews of the old lady, immediately zeroed in on the solitary nurse as their enemy and began to curse her with expletives and then manhandled her. The equation in their minds was that since their patient died at her hands, thus making her services ‘zero value’, she should as well not be allowed to live! The malevolent temerity of their act was unopposed in a ward where attendants of other patients were still undecided about which side to take as if there remained a moral dilemma to them! The fact that a few of them sported a grin each at the sight of several men beating a poor nurse was a display of their equally ungrateful and prejudiced minds. They seemed to empathize with the transformation of despairing relatives into uncontrollable assaulters and savoured every blow!
When a handicapped nursing orderly valiantly came to rescue the badly bruised and almost fainting lady, the emboldened assailants saw the opportunity to turn their ego-driven wrath on a male and their aggression knew no bounds! The poor fellow faced the brunt of the furious onslaught for several minutes and was left bleeding from many sites. They created a scene such that the doctor on duty could not reach his patient!
Herein, the sufferers were a nurse and a nursing orderly. Several such incidents take place in hospitals all over India where the life of healthcare providers is similarly threatened. ‘A doctor or a nurse was thrashed today’ is news that is increasing in frequency and every time such news unfortunately degenerates into a generalized discussion of all the shortcomings of the medical fraternity and its ungodly malpractices. Therefore a crime is justified again and again till it has become a trend and nobody cares any lesser.
It seems as if everyone in India, except the medical man, has the right to act in self-defense because the accepted thinking is that the attendants with a patient have an emotional license to do whatever they wish once things don’t work out according to their preference! Many times, it is a sordid spectacle of ego-driven power play and histrionics.
It is noteworthy that all hell breaks loose when the doctor evens the score of the blows on those who are intent on causing him mortal physical harm!


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Dr.Mayurakshi said...

@Gaurav da
Very apt article. How the mighty have fallen! From the reverence of healing hands to defenseless victims. It's the rise of sensationalist media coupled with the altruistic cloak that society dons anyone who undertakes the Hippocratic oath, are the causes of this uncalled for incidents of assaults on physicians and health-care personnel. The mistrust of the public against the medical fraternity is shocking. Just the other day a neighbour was telling me (for a brief moment forgetting the career I've chosen) that she has a nagging doubt that the surgeons hadn't taken out her appendix three years ago, just showed her someone else's appendix, just for the money! This is a highly qualified career woman I'm talking about. There are corrupt and negligent people in every field, but for doctors it is a curse because they deal with human lives, and the folly of a few often has rapid generalization. And people leave their reasoning power at home before ganging up against the doctor, the very same people who would disappear before you can finish saying the sentence, "The patient needs two units of blood." Genuine cases of rebellion against negligence has been overtaken by a sadistic pleasure in degrading the ones who have always been revered. Politics merging with healthcare also accounts for its falling credibility. Sad trend.

Gaurav Das said...

Mayurakshi, the points you highlighted are very important.