Doctors and Patients: Victims of Circumstance

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Here’s my take on the recent issue of doctor shaming. Much has been said and it has gotten tiresome. I don’t think I have to explain myself or my profession or my colleagues for being human and making our weaknesses slip. No one has to explain their right for basic needs or for respect or for dignity. NO ONE. We simply seek for respect and understanding not because we’re doctors but because we’re humans.

What I see in this endless exchange of hurtful words is that both sides are victims of circumstance. While most of us went into this profession in our own volition, with all our hearts, minds, body and souls – basically, all that we are – we also have our kryptonites. Even, our favorite Asgardian, the God of Thunder, bleeds. Doctors also falter. I know much is expected of us. So I wouldn’t make our 36hrs straight duty an excuse to be an ass in handling patients or to get sympathy for neglecting my responsibilities as a physician.

On the other hand, I also understand patients and relatives (because I have also been in this team often). They are in pain, they are scared, they are confused and they are uninformed. But those also are not excuses for entitlement. Please, don’t speak and act rashly toward us. If at in any point you think we neglected our jobs, please present the case to the proper venue. What’s the point of taking photos with thousands of reacts, comments and shares intended to slander us? If you felt violated please present it to the authorities for legal action. And if we felt the same, we shall take the same step.

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In this matter there are 2 suspects, deeper issues, that both sides have fallen victim to:

1. Crappy Philippine Health Care System – we are forced to go on inhumane duty schedules because of lack of health personnel in the country. And we couldn’t blame people for not choosing this field. Our tuition fees are very costly. Our personal health is at risk. Our services our abused. We are poorly compensated. And people are critical of us, always waiting for a mistake to capture. Given this discouraging facts in exchange of being part of a so called noble profession, in a practical sense, would you join us?

Also, it has long been proven that sleep deprived doctors are a danger to themselves and others. And yet has the government taken CONCRETE steps to protect its health professionals and the patients?

2. Irresponsible use of social media – I don’t understand why everyone has suddenly turned into keyboard warriors always choosing to engage in a losing battle. Battle fueled with short-term but addicting satisfaction from likes and shares. Probably, this is a societal disease that we have to soon find the cure because it leaves people wounded. I believe, we now have to start support groups and advocacies to rehabilitate keyboard warriors and their victims. This is likely a mental health issue that we need to address with urgency before it literally kills people.

This ongoing saga of #doctorshaming puts strain to our patient-doctor relationship. We are destroying its foundation of mutual trust and respect. I urge everyone to please stop giving their rebuttals and break walls that has been built between us because of nonsense exchange of slanders. It’s not about who has the last say, it’s about choosing to move on, see our own mistakes and improve for better service of mankind. It’s not only about us (either as doctor or as patient) clamoring to be given what we believe we deserve but also working best and going out of our way to give to the other what they deserve.

It’s not about who’s side is right or wrong. Because in the end there are no sides take. We both want quality health care, let us work together in achieving this.  Let us drop our prejudices and entitlement. Let us be properly and adequately informed. And most of all let us be more human – understanding, forgiving and respectful.

 

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