What do you see in the image on the left side? If you see a black dot then I am sure you are with majority of the people. Almost all of us clearly see the black dot, very few will have the mindset and patience to appreciate that the blackness is just a small dot in a white canvas! This is what I felt after reading a blog post which has gone viral from a week written by Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan, anaesthetist with a negative title ‘why I will never allow you, my child, to become a doctor in India'. Most of the facts mentioned by Roshan is easily acceptable, one can’t deny that but using those facts to spread an article with negative mindset is certainly not helpful to medical fraternity and to future medical aspirants. And not so surprisingly the article has been shared by many Doctors and Medical students. But is the medical field so bad? I don’t think so.
First confession – I never wanted to join MBBS.
My dream throughout my highschool and PUC days was Journalism. I always wanted to be a journalist. Unfortunately I scored very good marks in PUC (12th) so option from family side was reduced to Engineering or Medical. Don’t know the reason, I opted MBBS! Do I have any regrets? Nope. The main problem with MBBS students begins when they start comparing their life with Engineers. Our friends who scored less than us in PUC start earning at an early age, at around 22 or 23 yrs while we doing our MBBS are still getting scolding from professors, patients, their relatives and receiving money + scolding from parents! That appears frustrating but is it a matter to get frustrated? We are fortunate enough to get a longer student life when compared to BE students. Let us have a look at our life through 5 and a half years of MBBS!
Initial days of first year were to make new friends. And then begins the horrible battle of understanding the impossible anatomy terminology and biochemistry cycles. Physiology appears quite easier in the beginning; the easiness disappears once we start reading neurophysiology! But the difficulties with the subject will not dampen joviality of students life. When BE students are appearing for their first sem exams we are still relaxing with our first internal results! Once we get hold of the subject, atleast the idea of reading and understanding, fun phase begins. Roaming, Parties, Trips, Movies, Books and what not! First year exams are quite dreadful, once you clear that you will enter the ‘fake’ honeymoon phase. Second term extends for 1½ year, so there is no hurry to read. First six months is fixed for enjoyment, next six for knowing the names of the books in second year! And a good 6-8 hours reading per day in last 4-5 months is enough to clear second year exams! Then comes the ‘real’ honeymoon phase. With just community medicine, ENT and ophthalmology we can forget that we are medical students and do all nasty things that attracts us. By the time we enter final year, we would have learnt the art of writing exams! No issues in passing theory. A little bit of concentration in clinics will surely help us in future. And then comes internship. By this time our Engineering friends are ‘placed’ in some company and getting a handsome amount of salary. And here we are doing night duties, OPD’s, casualty, rounds and a blank future! ‘Is 22 year, a right time to earn?’ My answer is a big NO. Young minds should read and read atleast till 25; Ofcourse we Doctors read still more than that! We, Doctors don’t earn at 22 but we are still gaining knowledge which is equally or many a times more than earning at younger age. These days more and more engineers are opting for Mtech / ME, which is really a good sign. So stop comparing with Engineers, which is completely different way of working and earning. The high presence of social networking might create more jealousy in present day medical students, so be aware of it! Don’t get upset when you see your friends of other profession earning, purchasing and visiting foreign countries frequently.
Unemployment after internship is good for few days. Then comes the dangerous PG exams, they appear more dangerous now when compared to our days (around 7 years back). There will be some friends who are satisfied with MBBS for various reasons and settle in some Primary Health Care Centre. The remaining will start reading and reading and reading for PG entrance. This is the phase when students read in real sense! There is a long list of courses available and it is students choice to decide his/her way of life when opting PG seat. Want to be a clinician and still need some free time without any emergency calls - psychiatry, skin, ENT, ophtho. Want to be a busy practitioner with late night emergency calls then there is medicine, surgery, ortho, OBG, pediatrics etc. Don’t want clinicals, then there is options of pre and paraclinical subjects. I agree that most will get adjusted and adapted to whatever they get, but if you don’t want to blame the entire Medical Profession after certain years better avoid deviating from your aim and desire.
Second confession – My aim in post graduation was reduced to two subjects, anatomy and forensic. Since I was left with Anatomy seat in counseling I became an Anatomist!
So I have a relaxing work, work where I interact with students, from 9 to 4. Ofcourse I could have established a clinic as general practitioner to earn some extra bucks (I don’t want to use great words like service for private practice) but I didn’t as I wanted good enough of extra time for my extracurricular activities! If you opt for Clinical subjects, especially in a government college then the difficulty of all those continuous night duties, sleepless nights begins. As I said it is our option not some outside force. Even after seeing Medical teachers ‘relaxed’ life, how many of the students want to opt that? Probably no one. When Clinical subject is ‘our’ choice why to blame the profession in future? There are many clinicians who restrict their work and restrict their earning capability just to have some good personal life. How many of busy practitioners agree to restrict their practice? Again, probably no one. Most of the Doctors Can’t just restrict themselves to a good amount of salary to lead a respectable life. Why to blame the profession when craving for money for lavish lifestyle is the main reason for busy and hectic schedule for many doctors?
And the common reason why many doctors blame Medical Profession is disrespect from people and society. If you are reading till this sentence please have a look at the image of Black dot on a white canvas at the beginning. Whatever good a Doctor does is washed away by a simple/single mistake. That is not the mistake of society. It is mistake of people’s (including Doctors) mindset. We forget the good things done by a person and we are always eager to point out his/her mistakes. Black dot is always more appreciable than the white canvas. Don’t we have bunch of patients who are always grateful to us. Who always say ‘you saved us’. Why don’t we remember them and forget those who scold us. I am sure Doctors will agree that they have very few patients who scold them and a large number who praise them. Unless you are very bad doctor patients good words exceeds bad words. Negativity gains more publicity in the era of social media (which is evident by Roshan’s articles virality) and 24 x 7 news channels and that is the reason why doctors mistakes are highlighted in the mainstream media. Never get carried away from the media news!
Major benefit of Medical field is our lifestyle is completely in our control. At any moment we can leave the bigger institutions in which we work and just be satisfied with a small clinic in urban/ semi urban/ rural areas. How many of other professionals have this option? There are lacunae in our profession, there is lacunae in society’s view of Doctors but that doesn’t instigate me to avoid my child from opting Medicine if he/she wants to become a Doctor.
Third Confession – I have watched more than 300 movies in theatres during my MBBS days (almost one or two every week), I have read more than 300 non text books during my MBBS days and still I succeeded to clear all years with first class!
Last Confession – I still don’t have a child!
Though this article doesn’t completely oppose Roshan’s view, the title for this article is to completely oppose Roshan’s title which I don’t agree.
I don’t earn in lakhs now but I am leading a happier and self satisfactory life with my continued hobby of reading, writing, photography.
I am sure this article won’t reach many but still I thought it is my responsibility as a Doctor to oppose some of the views of Dr. Roshan.
Dr Ashok K R