Doctors, Healthcare facilities reluctant to admit, manage serious patients

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 Doctors, Healthcare facilities reluctant
to admit, manage serious patients

Most often such patients are referred to public hospitals
to escape adverse publicity in the media

KARACHI: Reports being received from all over the country reveal that a vast majority of healthcare facilities in the private sector as well as the doctors are reluctant to admit and manage serious patients. These patients are most often referred to the public hospitals as such the malicious campaign being run by the media and certain institutions against the medical profession is proving counterproductive. Many patients which could be saved if the doctors take chance are deprived of this facility as no one is prepared to face adverse publicity in the media.

Unfortunately both print and electronic media takes pleasure in carrying reports of deaths, mismanagement of cases due to negligence of the healthcare professionals without verifying the facts. What is more interesting is the fact that a vast majority of those covering health in the media even lack the basic core knowledge of medicine and health services but even then they make comments as if they are the experts in this field. In the public hospitals, in view of the workload, doctors have to work for long duty hours in not so comfortable working environments. They are most often under lot of stress and strain. Sometimes the patients come with such an advanced disease that not much can be done and despite best efforts, doctors are not able to save them. However, no one realizes this fact. Once a patient lands in a hospital, it is taken for granted that he or she will be saved and will recover.

Though the healthcare professionals and the hospital management tries its best to save all those who are admitted but it is a fact that in some cases like serious head injuries, chronic diseases in an advanced stage, mortality is always very high, hence it is not possible to save such patients. Attitude of the attendants at times is also so that they put pressure on the treating physicians and in case of death, they even do not hesitate to create law and order situation which is then exploited by the media which is very fond of running breaking news, “ Death of a patient due to doctors negligence”.

Training of the healthcare professionals in managing such violent situations, breaking bad news, improvement of their communication skills how to talk to the patients and their attendants is important but education of the public as regards their realistic expectations from doctors and healthcare facilities besides complications of various surgical procedures is also essential. When despite best efforts to manage serious emergencies, the healthcare team is not given due respect, it has adverse effect on their overall morale which does not provide an ideal situation wherein the healthcare professionals can work with devotion and dedication.

Government needs to look into these things seriously. Monitoring and accountability of the healthcare facilities, healthcare professionals is important but it must be performed by those who are knowledgeable, aware of the situation and are thus capable of taking correct decisions. Provision of drugs, other diagnostic facilities is the responsibility of the government not of doctors and in case of their non-availability, they should not be held responsible. Providing security to the healthcare professionals is also responsibility of the government where it often fails. Visitors to hospitals should be allowed only during visiting hours, un-necessary traffic in hospitals should be checked, entry and exit points from hospitals should be manned by security guards to avoid any unpleasant incident. Every healthcare facility must have a designated spokesperson that alone should be authorized to talk to the media and media personnel’s entry to hospitals should also be regulated. They must take permission and then talk to the person who is authorized to provide any information to the media which could avoid many mishaps. Apart from the comfortable working environment, healthcare professionals must get due respect by all concerned. Adverse publicity in the media during the last couple of years has discouraged many to take up medicine as a professional career. Even children of doctors are reluctant to join this profession. Doctors often remain over worked, over burdened, too busy, have to study throughout their life to keep themselves abreast with the latest developments in medicine. They have very little time for the family and their children, most often have to work under lot of stress and strain. This stressful life has its own effects on their own health. The situation is going to become still worse in the coming years as now majority of the new admissions to medical colleges are girls. After graduation, many leave the profession due to various reasons and those who practice, cannot take so much stress. They are also reluctant to work in small towns, urban slums and rural areas due to security reasons; hence all these factors are going to further overburden the already overcrowded public healthcare facilities. Putting emphasis on preventive services, allocating enough funding for preventive healthcare can help prevent diseases thus reducing the patients workload on hospitals.

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