Doctors on strike; how rational is it?

Posted by: Indra Dhoj Kshetri

The repeated attacks on medical professionals and their responsive strikes have been something that has jeopardized people’s right to live and/or health care in Nepal. Reports show a record of an incident of attacks on medical professionals each month in average in the last eight months after the success of April movement. An attempt is made to begin discussion how rational the doctor’s strike are.

Series of Medical professional’s strikes in Nepal
Dec 24:
Action: The relatives of an eight month child who died while undergoing treatment at Kanti Children’s hospital manhandle three doctors and medical staffs.

Reaction: Nepal Medical Association calls three day nation wide strike: All services excluding Emergency come to a halt. Owing to lack of treatment, a person dies in Kathmandu. Such incidents in other parts of the country not recorded.

Dec 11
Action: Relatives of a patient beat up medical superintendent Pawan Thakur and chief of the lab Dr. Raj Kumar Mahato and manhandle the Janakpur Zonal hospital charging that the hospital came up with false pathology reports on his diabetes test showing high sugar levels.
Reaction: Doctors and all staff at the Janakpur zonal hospital resigned en masse. Many seriously ill patients, undergoing treatment at the hospital plead for treatment, but doctors remain unmoved.
Dec 7.
Doctors demand security with the government and decide to halt the OPD services across the country one hour each day.

July 24
Action:
A group of locals that reached the hospital with a demand of reforms in services misbehaves health workers and vandalize Mechi zonal hospital.

Reaction: The hospital staffs close all the services for the day.

July 12
Action:
Two hooligans attack a Doctor on duty at Emergency at Koshi zonal hospital.
Reaction: All the medical services in Biratnagar come to a halt for indefinite period.

July 11
Action:
The relatives of an old woman who died while undergoing treatment at Patan hospital manhandle the medical staffs on duty.
Reaction: Staffs halt the Hospital services for 24 hours.

May 24
Action 1. Blaming the death of a 69-year-old asthma patient on a doctor a mob vandalized the Everest Nursing Home in Kathmandu.
Action 2. The same day, alleging doctors’ negligence behind the death of Deepak Sapkota of Jamuni of Bardiya, a mob vandalised Lumbini Zonal Hospital in Butwal.
Reaction: All medical services except emergency in the hospitals across the country come to a halt for indefinite period. They resume only after three days.

The repeated attacks on medical professionals and their responsive strikes has been something that has jeopardized people’s right to live and/or health care in Nepal. Reports show a record of an incident of attacks on medical professionals each month in average in the last eight months after the success of April movement. The situation has turned worst in the recent days when medical staffs across the country stage three day protest against the misbehavior on medical staffs at Kanti Teaching Hospital Monday. Owing to the lack of treatment, a person has died in Kathmandu and many other incidents might not have been reported.

Despite such critical development, the government has failed to address the demands of the medical professionals and hasn’t done much to ensure their security either. With those developments, the crisis is heightened and if such negligence pertains, it is surely to invite severe situation within a few months.

As the crisis prolongs, it has been crucial to discuss how rational those activities are. The case has both the sides. To the one hand, complains regarding the misbehaviors of medical professionals are increasing. Nepal Medical Association has received thirty such complains in the last eight months. The general public is growingly becoming unruly towards such incidents. Among those thirty cases, Nepal Medical Association has reported ten incidents of attacks and misbehavior on medical professionals in the last eight months.

Doctors are supposed as God to the ailing patients. A patient thinks that his/her life entirely relies on doctors, whatsoever illness s/he may have. However, to the contrary, Nepal’s medical professionals and institutions have failed maintain this image. When one has to talk about a doctor, s/he will think of one in white apron, generally not paying proper attention to the complaints of a patient. After all, it has been like a universal assumption that a doctor pays more attention to his clinic rather than hospital.

The public attitude is more serious when it is about medical institutions. The government owned hospitals stand synonymous with the most poorly managed institutions whereas, private clinics and hospitals are meant for too high charges. Thus, public reaction against certain cases in the last eight months might have been an expression of this attitude.

In addition, medical professional’s repeated strikes have obliged the general public to think how responsibly they acted. Such strikes have not only prevented people from fulfilling their primary need on health care, but also jeopardized their right to life. Health service is such a service that has the importance of every second. One second early treatment can save one’s life, whereas a second’s delay can result into death. Owing to those strikes, a number of deaths were reported. Ignoring this fact, Nepal Medical Association has called three day strike throughout the country. And civic society has begun to question the social responsibility role of medical professionals in the country.

However, the article doesn’t solely rest the responsibility upon medical professionals. The coin has the other side as well. The attacks and misbehaviors against the medical professionals can’t be condemned in words either. Certainly, the demise of close relatives makes anybody emotional, and sometimes aggressive. However, expression of grief upon a medical professional can’t be excused. The security of medical professionals is utmost priority. The state can’t escape this responsibility. In the latest developments, the state also can’t turn deaf ears to the demands of medical professionals. And if the medical professionals stick to their decision and continue strikes, the state may have to interfere to continue the essential service.

The general public also should realize the obligations of medical professionals and aggressiveness doesn’t benefit them either. And medical professionals are expected to react most responsibly.

Otherwise, if the situation pertains, it won’t be favorable to anybody, be it the state, medical professionals or general public.

Doctors on strike; how rational is it? was last modified: January 9th, 2014 by Indra Dhoj Kshetri
 

Blog Comments

  1. Bibash

    IPKji, you are talking about your patient ,denunciating the doctors and forgeting the massacres that were happened in the country .

    I think in our country doctors are showing their responsibiity in comparision to other government
    officers(it doesnot mean that doctors doing all what they should do ).Better slap them first.

  2. lpk

    When Saddam could be hanged for killing 150 people, why doctors should be spared? If Docs do not treat patients in respectable way and do not ethically admit that there was some mistake when people die within avoidable circumstances. I remeber taking a patient to teaching Emergency one day, but there was only sharp remarks and doctor saab arrived after 1 hour. My Patient survived because a peon there gave oxygen to my patient. I somehow refrained from slapping the Doctor.

  3. Bibash

    Yes!,Not only the doctors but also the political leaders have blessings form India and they arenot getting the collusion of India.

  4. lpk

    In any country, doctors have rights. but In utilizing those rights they should not deter the rights of patients to get solutions from Docs. I have never seen rights for anybody in any country. It does not mean that ALL Doctors in all countries have been on strike, except our dear India, and most of our doctors have blessings from there, like political parties. So, Political Parties and Doctors have same Doctrine, Strike, if somebody beats you or says that you are wrong on killing people by not identifying diagnosis properly.

  5. Indra

    I agree with Bibash idea that the strikes by political leaders are no less detrimental. However, doc’s strikes have direct effect on people’s life. I have mentioned both the aspects of the case above, that Doc’s security should be state’s topmost priority. Any way, your concern is genuine.

  6. Bibash

    You are taking few incidents into account that are the deleterious effects of doctors on strike. Its ok but what about the lots of incidents that are the detrimental effects of political leaders on strike ??should the doctors only have responsiblity towards a nation?so i think it’s reasonable to some extent.

    IPKji,the political leaders should be punished heavily first not the doctors.

  7. lpk

    ridiculous, Docs are not professionals but policitcal activists learning from indian Counterparts. I am a shopkeeper. If my customer beats me, I do not close my shop. Doctors are negelecting lives of many patients and so they must be punished heavily.

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