22 Thursday
September 2016
The women of Delhi.

Doctors are being assaulted every day. For death of any patient suffering from any disease, the treating doctor is held accountable,threatened with jail, sued for malpractice and worse, assaulted by a mob of angry family members. This has to stop. And today is that day…not sometime in the future, not when the police is sensitised, not when public is made aware of the nursing home protection act.
Today , all doctors of India have decided that enough is enough. We have spent the best years of our life studying and treating the poorest of the poor and learning techniques to save lives. We will not be abused and threatened by the people of this wonderful country. Every time a doctor is physically assaulted all the doctors in that district will go on a pen down protest for 24 hours following the incident.
Every time you raise your hands on us, we will stop raising our hands to treat you. The courts of the country don’t let doctors go on strike stating that medicine is a life saving basic emergency service. We agree. We are life saving. We are basic. But our safety is basic too. We deserve to work without fear of assault. We deserve the dignity that is not being delivered to us.
In a recent medical strike after an assault on a resident doctor, the courts put a fine on doctors saying pay 25 lakhs for every life that was lost because of your strike.That is absolutely fair. Justified. Please also see that every time a doctor saves a life, 25 lakhs are paid to him or her for a life saving measure.
To every general surgeon who saves an RTA victim with a burst spleen and 3 litres blood in his abdominal cavity, pay 25 lakhs. To every emergency doctor and internalist who treats respiratory distress give 25 lakhs.To every cardiologist who gives the right medicine to prevent a cardiac arrest , give 25 lakhs. To every ENT who does a life saving emergency tracheostomy , give 25 lakhs. To every gynecologist who saves a baby and a mother pay 50 lakhs for 2 lives saved. To every neurosurgeon who removes a clot or tumour give 25 lakhs. To every oncosurgeon or oncologist pay 25 lakhs for the life saved No you can’t do that?? We are not begging for the money either. India has one of the most cost effective medical facilities the world over. You can see any specialist or super specialist within 24 hours by paying a meager 300-1000 rupees consultation fee. The same consultation in USA and UK costs upto 500 USD and a waiting of upto 6 months.

Respect your doctors. Don’t take them for granted. We are here in India because we chose to stay back and serve our country and our people. We studied medicine because it gave us a chance to save lives. We enjoy our profession, it’s less paying that a lot others and lot more demanding . Every surgery is a risk, every patient is a challenge. We accept the fact that God is the one who helps you get better, we are only facilitators. We neither promise a 100 % recovery nor can we save every sick patient who is brought to us.
The law also says that every death of a patient is not negligence. Every time a patient dies , the doctor wonders what more could have been done to save that life. We are with you, on your side, using all our expertise and training to make them survive. If they live, we all thank god and if they die you blame us.
The law does not allow us to go on strike. But peaceful Satyagraha is a right of every Indian. All doctors can use this means of a peaceful protest by not lifting their hands to help patients in their district if any doctor brother or sister is physically assaulted. We will be physically available. We will verbally tell you the medicines. You can ask the sister, technician or pharmacist to administer the treatment. But we will not life our hands to help.

I urge all doctors to unite and have the courage to take this stance. Every time there is an assault in your district, please put your pen down. Peace and non violent means are the best way to resolve any dispute. Gandhiji has said so. Let us have the courage to follow through. Please forward and help the medical fraternity be saved from this daily harassment.
You have to treat doctors with respect. We will not be assaulted any more.You raise your hands on us. We will simply put down our hands. 24 hours. Starting today.

The author is a practicing ENT surgeon in Chandigarh and can be reached at