Alas, Dr. Rohit Kumar Tated is not in the Military, securing the country from external enemies. Had he been, he would undoubtedly have received Military Honors as a War Hero, given what he did this week at SION Hospital Mumbai!
The Armed Forces were always my fascination since childhood, but destiny took my brother there, and I stayed to become a humble Doctor in the fight against disease and ill health. I was always disappointed that my profession did not give any similar opportunity for courage and valour.
But my Junior colleague Dr. Rohit from Chattisgarh, a Resident Doctor in Medicine from Sion Hospital, (LTMCH) has made me proud this week, with his courage and valour in the line of duty! Despite being a victim of Hospital Violence- one among the spate of Violence against Doctors this month; he is still ready to continue his chosen duty.
That the healthcare services have been orphaned by the Governments since Independence, more so in the last 4-5 decades, is known to everyone. Following any lapse in Healthcare delivery, as the face of the Medical Profession, Doctors bear the brunt of any patient hostility. An Orthopaedic Resident Doctor in Dhule, whose vision has been damaged following hospital violence is a typical example.
On the night of the Holi festival, March 13th, a young man- an alleged victim of head injury after a two wheeler accident- was brought to the casualty of the Govt Medical College Hospital in Dhule, Maharashtra. Even though he was examined, and stabilized, when the relatives insisted on calling a Neurosurgeon, they were politely told that the patient would need to be shifted elsewhere, as the Government Hospital did not have one. This was sufficient for the 30-40 of the attenders to assault and rain blows and kicks on the hapless Doctor’s head and face, with damage to the Doctor’s vision.
- What about the patient himself who perhaps was not alert due to the festive celebrations?
- What about the parents who allowed their child to ride a 2 wheeler, perhaps under-aged, that too without a helmet?
- What about the authorities who were responsible for poor road conditions that led to an accident?
- What about the pathetic emergency services that can never rescue a victim within the Golden Hour?
- What about the administrators, who could not have a full time Neurosurgeon in a Teaching Hospital, even three decades after it was opened?
None of these will be will ever be questioned, except the Doctor who was assaulted!
- Did he communicate effectively with the patient and his attenders?
- Did he understand and sympathise adequately with their frame of mind?
Dr. Rohit had to fight all odds to joining his training in Medicine at Sion Hospital, Mumbai, being afflicted with leg deformity following polio! He even did a four month job in his native Chhattisgarh, to convince his father that his physical condition was not a hindrance to withstand the rigors of Medical Training. “Even after he joined Sion Hospital, he worked relentlessly- taking care of upto 45 indoor patients at a time, to the extent that his leg calipers broke”. ”He never declined any work because of being differently-abled”, said his roommate.
And after all this he was assaulted and pushed to the ground, all because an elderly lady of renal failure, who missed dialysis for a few months, was brought in a serious condition, and died despite all efforts.” In fact, in the last 24 hours, we took care of her, more than her family, who recently had discharged and taken her home against medical advise.” However, Rohit Kumar still wishes to continue his profession with the same passion.
To me Dr. Rohit, you are no less than a war Hero, a war in the fight against the Country’s internal enemy- Human Disease! You are a “PARAM VIR” to me, with OR without a CHAKRA. And this is what the entire medical fraternity in Mumbai realized and led to the mass protests by trainee Doctors, the backbone of public Healthcare. To rub salt to their wounds, this was the response by Chief Justice Chellar and Justice Kulkarni in Bombay High Court regarding this protest:
‘If you are scared to work, leave your job and go home”. What the Judiciary did, when they saw a threat to their own physical safety- in the line of Duty, is an all together different story! “Not just the CRPF, we will order the BSF and even the Army to secure the Courts, if needed”, thundered the incoming Chief Justice of India, on Nov 4th 2015, in response to a petition by the Govt of TN, opposing an order of Madras High Court to order CRPF to take over Court security, following violence in High Court.
Is it any surprise that the entire Medical Fraternity has thrown it’s weight to support the Resident Doctors in Mumbai? Do the authorities feel, it was necessary for Dr. Rohit to sacrifice his life, to be worthy of being considered for any honour, similar to the Military? After all these years of being proud of my Medical Profession, I have the same thought once again “Did i miss out on joining the Armed Forces?” If I had to give up my life, in the line of duty- would I not prefer die as a Hero on the Battlefield, rather than a villain in a Hospital? I hope the authorities, society and most of all the Medical Fraternity itself wakes up to fight this horror of HOSPITAL VIOLENCE, before it is too late!
If anyone, it is the Medical Fraternity itself- that has to highlight this to all! Hope we don’t need more acts worthy of “PARAM VEERs” to convey this point!
PS: The Author salutes those Doctors in the Military, who have put their life in the line of Duty. He is proud of each of them, and his Brother among them! He is a practicing Surgeon, an former member of MARD – the organisation that protested the attack on Dr. Rohit.