Better doctor patient relationship
Medical professions in Bangladesh occupy a respectable position. People from all walks of life are heavily dependent upon it. It is a vast discipline with a tremendous amount of responsibility. All work of doctors is for people, humanity and the country. But the question is how the mass across the country deciphers their feelings upon these noble professionals. Now, with the passing of every day of our lives, we find medical science is advancing so that the common people are benefitted.
Definitely, the burden of serving better falls on the doctors, who are the harbinger of ease and happiness. A doctor has earned his degree by blood, sweats and tears. A doctor is trained to serve their patients, either on duty or on duty. A doctor is always a doctor who can serve until he dies. A registered doctor who has taken the Hippocratic Oath cannot do wrong for his patient. We should not mix the persona of quack and a physician. Not seeing the interest of patient makes him not only unsuccessful also a villain even in his own eyes.
The situation of the increasing distrust between a doctor and patient is increasing alarmingly. There was a time, not long ago, when doctors were treated and worshipped as no less than God. How has that trust, faith and respect vanished into thin air? One of my colleagues was buying personal medicine for his family. The medicine seller was astonished to see the buyer being a doctor buying medicine from a shop. The reason for his astonishment he has a preconceived idea that all medicines for doctors come from pharmaceutical companies.
The idea that doctors get big gifts from pharmaceutical companies is wrong. Teachers of medical college, professor of non-clinical subjects, doctor of pathology, radiology, blood transmission department, a doctor in administrative and research all of them buy medicines. None of these people gets gifts. A good practitioner senior doctor earns big. But this income doesn't come without hard work. On the other hand, a newly employed doctor may earn a meagre amount of taka. The problem is the society sees a senior doctor and a new doctor in the same queue.
It seems that it is time to change this perspective. COVID-19 saw faces of doctors who were front liners and died in service, serving for the nation as Samaritans. They are martyrs. They are true heroes who died on duty. Among all professionals the highest number of doctors, nurses, and health technicians died, serving the patients. They could forego, flee, and stop their service. They did not do that, rather they served and that is why Bangladesh saw the lesser number of deaths compared to other developed countries.
The doctors, nurses, health workers had dealt with it and still working round the clock. On the contrary, we see health care workers among all cadres are manhandled regularly on duty. Still, we see all hospitals are running smoothly. Doctors are not waiting for an incentive to come; rather it is proved that they are serving in all hospitals relentlessly.
There are lot many selfless service providers in this noble profession, saving the humanity, staying close to their patients in their sorrow and joy, caring and sharing with them leaving back the near and dear ones. This is the noble profession, serving people from cradle to grave. And if there are mutual trust, compromise and sympathy, doctors will be able to survive in such a stressful profession.
Otherwise, at the end of the day, you will get a glimpse of a disappointed doctor. How will they maintain the health of the country? With the ever-increasing commercialization and privatization, some of the doctors have resorted to charging high fees, order numerous investigations needed or not and started referring a patient for fee sharing. Why and how this started? Are doctors responsible? One or two black ships maybe!
The main problem the profession faces is that it is becoming too much costly and expensive for the poor, lower middleclass and middle ones to afford. Only upper middle classes along with richer classes can afford to bear the burgeoning medical expenses. It is a matter of concern as the ratio between the doctors and patients has a wide gap.
There are a lot of fields to improve. Who could be the best researcher than a doctor? It is true that many aspects of our delivery system need to be fixed. We are often unable to provide the best to our patients considering inadequate structures in the peripheral rural areas of Bangladesh. The patient-friendly atmosphere will have to be created in all the hospitals in the country.
In government hospitals all over the country suffer from inadequate infrastructure, machinery and equipments. We need a lot more improvement, the allocation in budge in the health sector has to be raised. Our doctors, when serving overseas they, are head and shoulder above others.
Sometimes health care providers face objectionable behaviour, yet these people are there to give service to these patients. We should also highlight the good deeds and achievements by many unsung heroes of this profession whose moral principle is still very high.
On the other hand, the drugs the government hospitals provide to patients free of cost are at times inadequate. More often than not, for conducting investigation tests, they have to go through various hazards. The hospitals are generally supposed to be neat and clean with hygienic atmosphere. In this regard also, our public hospitals fall far below the expectation, of course with a few exceptions. As the poor and helpless people are unable to get their rights at times, the conscious section of the society has to come to help them. Doctors become the villain, not for themselves, for the system itself.
A relation between physicians and patients gets strengthened due to cordial disposition between both concerned. Modern doctors should always be transparent; they should update themselves in different specialized fields of medical science. The doctor-patient relationship is a very important matter in the successful treatment of a disease. A doctor's good behaviour makes a patient receptive to the treatment he gives.
However, health professionals in Bangladesh are now very much proactive to cope with the ever-changing disease pattern. Patients of Bangladesh are becoming more diverse; they are increasingly afflicted by one or more chronic illness, while at the same time becoming inquisitive to know health information. This changing scenario requires the clinicians be more skilled in responding to varying patient's expectations and values; provide appropriate patient management; deliver and coordinate care across teams and support patients' endeavours to change behaviour and lifestyle. We hope that with sincerity and skill physicians definitely live up to the desired expectations of the common people. Only better doctor patient relationship will hold the key to a satisfied and healthy state of mind body and soul.
Dr Zubair Khaled Huq is a Family Medicine, Gerontology and Public Health Specialist