Quitting Doctors: The New Phenomenon

Quitting Doctors: The New Phenomenon
©️ Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“I am reducing my practice now. I have already stopped admitting cases” one of my colleagues told me during the coffee break. I wasn’t surprised, as it was the fourth time this week some doctor had said that to me.

He is an excellent physician, I know he has saved hundreds of lives. I understood him, despite the terrible thing he had just said.

“It’s not the hard work. I passionately love solving medical cases, and feel inner happiness when a patient is cured or relieved of suffering. But I don’t feel the same affection and compassion now for the patient or relatives- because whatever good I may have done in the past, their assessment and behavior is always suspicious, screwing me for each word I say, cross examining every decision with their knowledge scales. It is not my job to teach everyone and bring them at par with all medical knowledge and wisdom. If I admit a patient, they start treating me as if they own me – like a slave- even if their breakfast is late they will start calling, write bitter messages or write complaints and expect written apologies- hardly acknowledging the importance of concentration and time limitations of doctors. Even when the patient comes back from deathbed, they tend to write negative reviews because the hospital couldn’t give them bill concessions to their satisfaction, or the insurance companies declined their case. One cannot expect respect now a days from anyone, but the disrespect is uncalled for- the tone of relatives, even when I try to save their patient, is like hidden threatening, disbelief and over expecting. After slogging for so mane decades I don’t think I deserve this. I will now choose which cases I will treat, based upon whether they are well behaved or abusive.”

“The threats of media defamation loom high, however hard working and honest a doctor has been. It’s all at the mercy of one dissatisfied relative or patient, without a chance to explain or sue them back. I don’t want it now. I haven’t slept well for decades. I have decided that I need good sleep, timely food and rest- exactly what I have advised thousands- to be able to function well”.

“Now, when arrogant, ill-behaved relatives approach me with goonish tendencies and language, when even the highly educated come with polished threats and highe expectations with bargaining attitude, I give the case a pass. I wish them well and refer them to the low cost centers which is their primary concern. I am not open for abuse or bargain “.

He was right. Irrespective of what payments are offered, many responsible, experienced and highly qualified, skilled doctors have started to wind down their work to minimize the abuse they face. Treating admitted patients is a pleasure, but dealing with over expectant relatives who want daily explanations of everything without the ability to grasp things is now impossible. Everyone brought to the hospital may not get better in spite of best efforts. The moment something goes wrong, it is presumed to be the doctor’s fault or negligence, and right from litigation to violence, anything can happen.

Fortunately, there are some trusting, well behaved patients and families, who understand the doctors’ limitations- and time restrictions. There are emergencies where only the right decisions by the right person can save lives. For those we will always be available, as is our innate wont.

©️ Dr. Rajas Deshpande

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