Prof. Dr. P. K. Jena in Bhubaneswar, April 11, 2018: For all of us health is the most valuable wealth. In all the countries, programmes on socio-economic developments aim at having a healthy and productive life for their citizens. In India, particularly after independence, a lot of industrial and other economic developments based on our vast and varied resources, are taking place.

However, in this process, due to increase in environmental pollution, mismanagement of wastes and effluents, and at the same time unsatisfactory health and sanitation care, increasing number of people are suffering from various types of deadly diseases including Cancer, TB, Asthma, Dysentery, Diarrhea, Cholera etc. Proper implementation of well-planned health care projects has been the greatest task for our government. There are not sufficient numbers of hospitals, health care centers as well as doctors to cater to the needs of the people particularly in rural areas.

Even as a large number of private and government hospitals have come up in recent years, there is an acute shortage of required number of doctors to take proper care of the patients. At the same time, in recent years, in both private and government hospitals increasing number of cases are being reported in the media citing uncalled for incidents where sincerity and honesty of some doctors are questioned. This is shameful and it disheartens the patients who come to the hospitals with a great hope to be cured soon. In some cases, the patients get disappointed with the feelings that, the doctors are becoming casual and business minded. Besides, a large number of doctors are reluctant to work in hospital located in rural areas where the people need more medical care. Under these circumstances, the poor and middle class people are worst sufferers.

But, there is a silver lining in the dark cloud. There are some of good doctors who are found to be quite sincere and sympathetic to the patients. Sometimes they even go out of the way to help the patients. Naturally such doctors have great demand in the present society. I may cite an example of one such doctor I came across.

A few years back, my wife suffered from stomach Ulcer which she ignored for a long period and as a result it became quite acute. One late midnight I found her lying unconscious on the floor of our bed room after vomiting blood at the door of the attached bathroom. It was about 2 A.M., when I got up from the bed and was shocked at the sight. I called my two sons and daughter in laws who were staying with me.

We all decided to take her immediately to a nearest hospital where a niece of mine was a doctor. When I contacted my niece, she advised me to contact a particular doctor and gave me his mobile number. Though it was odd time in the night, but as we were in distress, I phoned the doctor. He fortunately took my phone and I told him about the condition of my wife.

Though we did not know each other, but knowing the seriousness of the case, the doctor advised me to bring the patient immediately to that hospital where my niece was working. My wife was taken in unconscious state to that hospital by car. After reaching there, she also vomited blood once again and we lost the hope of her survival.

It was surprising that, by the time my wife reached the hospital, ‘the doctor’ was there. He immediately started examining her and gave her a number of lifesaving injections one after the other. That night he along with my niece attended my wife till she was stabilized. My wife stayed in that hospital under his treatment. During that period ‘the doctor’ used to visit her three to four times every day and as per his instructions the treatment was carried out. My wife remained for about 10 days in that hospital under his care and then came back home in a normal condition. Naturally we all expressed our grateful thanks to ‘the doctor’ while leaving the hospital.

Another time, a few years after the incident, I had an appointment with the same Doctor to consult about some of my illness. He gave me a time for the consultation at his residence. When I reached his residence at the time fixed, he was not present then. However, I waited there for him for about thirty minutes and then he arrived. He apologetically told me that, he had been to visit an old retired person living alone and suffering from some serious disease and needed immediate care. By the way, ‘The Doctor’ also told me about the patient’s pathetic family situation. I was surprised to hear from him that, this old man was living alone uncared even though he had sons and daughters living somewhere else.

These two facts indicate that a doctor should be sympathetic and sincere in treating the patients. We all expect that, our doctors besides utilizing the best of their experience and expertise in the field of their specialization should be sincere and sympathetic towards the patients.

My father was a doctor. He once told me that, his father advised him to be a doctor, as in this profession while earning the livelihood one also could serve the patients allowing them to lead a healthy life. At present, it is highly essential to have greater numbers of devoted doctors to take care of the health of our nation. We all wish that, larger number of youths in our country, should get in to this noble profession and avail the opportunity to heal the sufferings of the patients.

* (Former Director General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, India)

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