Medscape India, an umbrella body of 21 medical institutions, has asked Bollywood actor Aamir Khan to apologise for "defaming" doctors on his TV show Satyamev Jayate.
In an open letter dashed off to Aamir, the Medscape India said it was "shameful" that doctors be subject to such unilateral scrutiny, while acknowledging that representation of malpractices by doctors is "rather sad".
"Doctors operate in the same socio-legal environment as everyone else; are a part of the present society. No wonder that the practices of dishonesty, corruption, scams have percolated down to this profession as well. Hence they can not be isolated from the society and remain in ivory towers," the letter said.
"The age-old practice of bracketing them with God, a statement with which Mr. Khan began the show, no more holds true. Doctors are professionals trained to serve and heal society, and earn a livelihood as well in the process. Doctors too are forced to pay bribes for licenses as other common citizens of this country," it said.
Terming the conduct of doctors as "a reflection of the moral fabric of the society he survives in," the letter said that the show presented only the content suitable to its flow, while ignoring assaults on doctors by patients. "By spreading a negative imagery about doctors to one billion viewers across the country, Mr. Khan has created doubt in the basic edict of healthcare coined by the Indian Medical Association: "faith is the greatest healer, have faith in your doctor".
The fourth episode of Aamir Khan's TV show 'Satyamev Jayate' talked about the malpractices in medical treatment, besides highlighting corruption, insensitivity and rampant malpractices in the medical profession.
"If patients approach doctors without faith, it will be a sad reflection on our society. Mr. Khan should ensure that he clarifies that citizens across India do not need to lose faith in their doctors for a small percentage of black sheep, which are there in every profession," the letter said.
"Mr. Khan, you have sadly widened the gap between doctors and patients. As Medscape India represents several federations of doctors, its our duty to sensitise you of our point of view as well," it said. The fourth episode of the show recounted cases where patients were recommended to undergo surgeries while they actually suffered from minor ailments.