Let me get straight to the point.

Baba Ramdev: 

The self-proclaimed & nationally-revered godman, who took the boisterous liberty to malign modern medicine. To mock healthcare workers, not once but one too many times. 

In his explosive episode of verbal diarrhoea, he went on to call doctors ‘Murderers’, among other things. His puny brain and the scarce grey matter would never realise the impact of his words on the even more naive and unsuspecting, superstitious population of our country. That, which will lead to a delay in seeking professional help, and will, of course, inevitably lead to loss of lives. Lives, which could’ve been saved on time. The blood is on your hands Babaji. 

However, I am assertive that he will deep breathe & stretch his way out of delinquency & emerge unscathed, rather victorious from this event. 

The Delhi High Court stated yesterday that his statements were well under the cover of “Freedom of Speech.” 

Our Prime Minister and his cabinet:  

With all due respect, sirs, we doctors and healthcare workers do not require the cacophony of clanking utensils or elaborate petal showers from helicopters. Our demands are crisp, clear, and as follows:  

  1. Hospitals should be declared a protected zone at this crucial juncture in our country’s history. With the number of young doctors being brutally assaulted every single day, we require protection from the Armed Forces in order to function to the best of our abilities. 
  2. An Act solely for punishing, stringently, those who harm/ attempt to/threaten to harm doctors. There needs to be a permanent solution to end healthcare violence. 
  3. Upgrading the healthcare infrastructure in the nation. When a patient faces a dearth of oxygen due to its unavailability, when another patient doesn’t get medical attention on time because there are only so many doctors, or when we cannot admit anymore patients in our setups because we have run out of beds, all the fury and fire of the attendants is directly channelized at the healthcare workers. They refuse to admit that it is indeed your blatant failure and not ours, and we become victims to their assault and frustration. 
  4. We demand respect, at least the bare minimum. We do not want to be at par with God. We just want to be treated as human beings whose human rights are safeguarded and catered to. 
  5. It would be appreciated if you stop giving undue leverage to all these Babaji cliques to navigate their “Freedom of Speech” in a way directed to humiliate, malign & derogate us. 

To our relatives and friends: 

You are much more updated than us about whatever is going on in this world and around, thanks to the lockdown. Hence, all the free time. For God’s sake, I learnt about Dalogna coffee two months later, because, you know, COVID-19 duty and all. By the time I caught up, you had moved on to baking banana bread and doing new routines on Tik Tok, I had to gear up, don that PPE again and go tackle the second wave. Your heart aches when you see the lynching of George Floyd in America, #blacklivesmatter but you won’t even so much as bat an eyelid when you hear of Dr Seuj barbarically thrashed in Assam while on COVID-19 duty. 

“Save Palestine” & “Pray for Paris”, yes of course, but when it came to Dr Deepak lynched by a mob in Karnataka, the female students of a medical college in Bhagalpur locked inside their hostel rooms whilst an angry mob surrounded their premises, hurling at them stones, crackers & rape threats you chose to turn a deaf ear and blind eye. You see my shares, tweets and retweets about the same, but choose to conveniently ignore it. Why? Ariana Grande getting married and the Friends reunion would look so much more flashy (read FAKE) than my stories. Isn’t it? 

I am the same doctor who calms down your frenzy when you miss your period or have an anxiety attack. When your child is running high with fever, or when you have a COVID-19 scare.

Every day, I, and all my colleagues, give free consultation to all of you. My gallery is flooded with reports and scans of literally random people who seek my/rather feel entitled to my consultation by the virtue of simply knowing me. And we do cater to your needs free of cost. *The doctor-patient relationship comes under the consumer policy forum legally, and yet we are social workers at your disposal. 

The least you could do is stand with us in solidarity in these trying times. If only! 

The media: 

I understand everyone has to earn their bread and butter. Yes, a Bollywood suicide coupled with demonising a girl for leading to the same leads to much higher TRPs. However, you do have a social responsibility as well. In a country like ours, where the people do not have a mind of their own, you have the onus to draw their attention to things that matter.

For every one doctor assaulted, another 1,000 become more sceptical about high-risk procedures and interventions that could have otherwise saved lives, more doctors move their approach to a less risky approach, albeit less productive. More and more people move to corporate hospitals where their safety is relatively more assured than government setups. Even a larger section will look towards moving abroad where they will be paid better and treated better. So who is the sufferer ultimately? In the grand scheme of things, it is the patient who bears the brunt of his/her doings. 

My dear country:

We are bound by the Hippocratic oath and more so by our conscience to take good care of you. We are in this profession because we are emoted by nature, to save you and your dear ones is more than our bread and butter, it’s what we live for. We could’ve opted for easier career paths with a much better payroll, and which do not require half the handwork and years of our lives that we put into.

Our struggle started young. It goes back to the 8th grade when you had to work hard enough to score a good percentage in boards so you could take up Science. After 12th boards, not even after a day’s rest, we had to sit down and burn the midnight oil for entrance exams. MBBS is regarded as one of the most difficult courses by the Guinness Book of World Records. I developed clinical insomnia and anxiety during my college days because of work/ academic pressure. I continue to pop my anxiety pills. I did an unpaid internship at a Central Govt Instt in the capital, sometimes worked in a 36-hour shift only in lieu to get hands-on practice and hone my clinical expertise. All this, so that one day, I can be the best doctor that there is for you.

At the age of 22-23, I was expected to be ok with my patient dying in front of my eyes, I wasn’t permitted to be an emotional mess although all I wanted to do when I saw a patient succumb in front of me was to curl up in a ball and wail. How could I? I had to be the bearer of bad news to the family, console him whilst simultaneously fighting my tears. I am still young in my practice and have several competitive exams to clear.

I have made my peace with it that I have to study for the rest of my life because modern medicine, unlike indigenous forms of medicine, is ever-changing and ever updating. I chose to become a doctor, and I proudly own that choice because nothing makes me happier than saving a life. 

Please, don’t take this will and passion away from me. With the grim scenario for healthcare workers prevailing all around, the fire in me is slowly dying. 

Dr Deepshika Chettri (MBBS) is a member of the UNESO Bioethics Committee, North East Wing.

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