Mumbai: City doctors compile manifesto on their and patients’ rights

In its 36 chapters, there are stories by doctors who have lost a patient, of a doctor who faced a mob of 2,000 angry relatives, a doctor who shares the experience of conducting the first hand transplant in India, and an oncologist who shares the pain of treating young kids. Due to release in July, a book titled ‘Dear People With Love and Care, Your Doctors’ is a compilation of stories from doctors and patients who narrate their medical journey and complications on way.

Authored by bariatric surgeon Dr Aparna Bhasker and plastic surgeon Dr Debraj Shome, the book also contains a first-of-its-kind manifesto on rights of doctors and patients. Among the rights, to be treated with respect, paid fairly, have a secure working environment, not be held responsible for death by means of assault, are few demands the manifesto makes for doctors. For patients, it demands that there must be full information given on cost, treatment, treating doctors and to get emergency care.

“We will be sharing the manifesto with the Union Health Ministry,” said Dr Vipin Checker, president of the Association of Medical Consultants (AMC). The association has 11,000 doctors attached from across Mumbai.

In the book, foreword written by spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, various doctors have penned their experiences. IVF expert Dr Aniruddha Malpani talks about handling a serious patient while he was only a post-graduate student. Oncologist Jesse Berry narrates cases of children with retinoblastoma, and the difficulty she faces in telling parents that the child will lose vision. In one chapter, laparoscopic surgeon Dr Rajeev Palvia discusses the night a mob of 2,000 angry relatives assaulted his hospital following a patient’s death. Palvia was forced to flee with family and it took years to overcome the trauma.

“The idea to compile these stories came from strain a doctor-patient relationship sees nowadays. Doctors are blamed for every medical complication even when they try their best,” said co-author Bhasker. In one chapter, Dr Shome has written about an acid attack victim he had treated. “We reached out to doctors and patients, and they were willing to narrate their stories. With so much negativity attached to this profession, we wanted to bring the good out,” Shome said.

The AMC now plans to share the manifesto with the medical world to create awareness about doctors’ rights. It will also be distributed in hospitals.

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