Today, as we mark National Doctors’ Day, we should take some time off to think about the changing dynamics of doctor-patient relationships, about the turbulent times we live in and how the medical fraternity and people must move towards building a stronger base and more importantly build trust between the two.
Of late, because of the intense media scrutiny, medical professionals have found themselves in several news reports where their credibility and competence have been questioned. While many of these cases have substance, some may be open to debate. Yet, like it or leave it, doctors have to realise that we live in a highly intrusive age, where every little action comes under the scanner. Social media has only added to the news frenzy, adding fuel to fiery reports, sometimes distorting it beyond recognition, and at other times, helping it to reach more people.
With the Internet, people are becoming more aware, more understanding of the ailments afflicting them. The patient has moved from passive recipient, to active participant in his own healing process, especially in urban settings. They have also realised that they have recourse to options in case they feel that injustice was done, that the treatment fell short or that there was medical negligence.
Doctors too are facing intense stress, a myriad choices and constantly changing cutting edge techniques in an age of super specialisation. While they are routinely reviled by media that believes in the ‘bad news is good headlines’ mantra, let us remember that and physically attacking doctors is simply unacceptable. While there are black sheep, there is little doubt that most doctors continue to do great work. Today, it is time to break down walls of mistrust and build a better relationship between healers and those who seek to be healed.