May I Enlighten You, Doctor?

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande


Sixty year old gasping, unconscious, has fever.

“Since when he has been like this?” asked the doctor, as the staff started to secure IV and oxygen mask, preparing for intubation.

“I don’t know. I just came. My brother who lives near him told me that he had breathlessness since yesterday, he thought it was due to the weather”.

“Does he have diabetes or blood pressure? Where are his old papers?” asked the doc.

“My brother probably knows. He has the list of medicines, he will come after four hours, he had some important work”.

The doctor started examining the patient. 

Son: “What is the diagnosis?”

Doc: “This could be stroke or infection. We need some tests”.

“So you cannot diagnose him?” asked the son, in a dramatically raised voice.


The elderly mother, 80 years old, unable to walk without support, brought in by the hospital staff. The son and daughter in law sat in the chairs, did not bother supporting her. The son shouted at the hospital staff to “Hold her well” when the patient swayed.

“What medicines is your mother taking at present?” asked the doctor.

“What medicines are you taking, Maa?” asked the son.

The mother, confused and fumbling, held out a big bag with a cross-pathy drug museum within it. She emptied the contents on the doctor’s table, then the son, artificially polite, started asking her, holding out the drugs one by one. There were at least 20 medicines, and the patient’s daughter in law, laughing at the confusion, commented that she takes five or six tablets per day, she didn’t know which.

“You will need to do her blood tests” said the doctor. 

“We have done them eight months ago when she had fever, they were normal. Can’t you give her medicines for now? Why is she having this confusion? I have googled this.. I think this is because of the side effects of the earlier doctor’s medicines” the son enlightened the doc.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande


“We cannot bring the patient to the hospital. Can’t you come home for serious patients?” asked an aggressive voice, “He cannot move his right hand”.

“Can he walk?”

“Yes, but he is 84 years old and does not want to go to the hospital. He has fever today. Can you suggest some doctor who can treat him at home?”

“Please contact Dr. SDD”. I gave her the number.

“Can that doc come in the evening at 7 pm? Because I am at my office now”.


“Doctor, she does not tolerate any allopathic medicine. She has severe reactions to all allopathic medicines. ”- Educated daughter.


“Do these medicines contain high antibiotics? Are these steroids? Do these damage kidneys and liver?” Because we know from the news about doctors prescribing dangerous medicines!


“We do not know what exactly happened. We found our child unconscious and bleeding on the road, her bike nearby”.

“Did she wear a helmet?”

“No, it was only nearby that she went for a chore, a daily road she is used to”.


People who call doctors “butchers” in some posts must sit in some casualty and see for themselves these overt displays of neglect and cruelty. Just because they are busy elsewhere and want to avoid spending, they lightly label this profession a “money making business”. 

Just because their guilts, faults and grave negligence are to be hidden, some turn the doctor and hospital into a villain. Medicolegal protection is meant for the patient’s best treatment at a given time and place with the available skill and resources. However, it has always been misconstrued as a tool to threaten and harass the medical professional, and to avoid responsibilities and payments. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Then there are the ones who cross examine the treating doctors whether they knew about the safety of medicines being used. The only profession where such “paranoid meddling” is still treated with dignity! Innocent curiosity about medicines and genuine queries of concern for the patient are always welcome, but not the alleging “I know better than you” approach. If a doctor has learnt flying an airplane only via google tutorials, will you board a plane he/ she flies? Then why expect a doctor to respect your googled wisdom?

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

The medical profession is being turned into a “Cornered Cat’ by the approach of some in the “money saving affording class” who want all the benefits meant for the BPL / poor class for their patients. They will readily pay a thousand rupees at a coffee shop, but not in a hospital. The media and governments should stop the “crocodile tears” in this case.

Most doctors feel responsible for the health of their patients and thereby ignore the wrongdoings, neglect, delays and “fatal money saving tactics” by some relatives that have led to worsening of patient’s illness or grave consequences. With the heat being turned upon the medical profession continuously, the day is not far when the doctors will have to record and report every case of patient neglect and delayed treatment by the family / relatives – for their own safety.

We must also acknowledge that some relatives do “everything possible” and spend all they can for the patient. This is becoming rare. Also some doctors may take advantage to extract money from the patients, but the patient always has an option to go to better doctors, or to avail of legal aid.

The patient is God for the doctor, but the relative’s convenience is not.

The concept that everything in medical field must work on the charity principle and that the medical fraternity is a service”to be misused as desired” is a sign of an uncommon sense that needs to be treated.

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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