Medical profession and public perceptions: an Indian perspective
In the West, medical professionals are subject to increasing levels of public scrutiny. In India, the medical profession has remained pretty much unscathed, and doctors are widely praised, thinks Balaji Ravichandran
Our society undervalues doctors yet expects, and will accept nothing short of perfection… Even with perfect risk management, mistakes will be ‘made’… people will die young or decline with age, and not all pregnancies will have a good outcome. Unfortunately, doctors are more easily sued than God, and, moreover… pay cash.”1
This is how an Israeli intern responded when the BMJ asked its readers to define a good doctor two years ago. The quotation succinctly summarises the heavy scrutiny to which medical professionals are increasingly subject, especially in Western communities. And this begs the question: can the increasingly prevalent negative sentiments towards doctors be fully justified? A moment's reflection made me think otherwise. A doctor ought to be respected not just for his academic and human qualities, but the very name of his profession should command instant respect.
India, the second most populous nation in the world, obviously presents a