Sunday, 23 June 2013

Why Medicos Suicide ??.......................66213

by Yogesh Kant

New Delhi: Every profession has a grim side but when precious life succumbs to circumstances, it becomes a serious cause for concern. Recently, a 25-year-old postgraduate medical student reportedly committed suicide by throwing himself in front of a running goods train in Ahmedabad while a second year MBBS student was found hanging from the ceiling of his hostel room at a premier medical institute in New Delhi. So, what has happened to those medicos, who had sworn to save lives suddenly taking their own?
In an attempt to find out the genesis of this problem, AalaTimes talked with a number of medical students and senior doctors. Why could the medicos even ponder over to commit suicide? Who and what could have propelled them to take such an extreme step? Very often, we ended up our conversation while asking one another the same question: How could a doctor — who might be aware, what he was suffering from and what are the treatments available — never seek help?
The conversation often veered towards the possible suffering of the victims and the extent of depression and self-loathing they must have faced but we dared not imagine, let alone speculate, the agony and pain of their final moments! But it was not the details of their life that haunted us; it was the details of their deaths.
So what is it that’s driving young and promising doctors to depression and in some cases even to commit suicide?
The problem today is most prevalent among medical students and resident doctors confined to the hierarchical and competitive structure of government medical colleges and hospitals, according to Dr Sumit Goyal, a private medical practitioner. “Resident doctors are the backbone of any hospital; they bear the pressure of trauma care to outpatient department. However, most of them get stuck in their respective department and work at a stretch for more than 72 hours. They don’t even have the time to change their dress. And they also have to prepare for their specialization by following their routine jobs, which is endless,” said Dr Goyal.
“It is a fact that Indian medicos are facing tough time,” said Dr M C Gupta, a New Delhi based medico-legal expert. According to him, there are very less number of government jobs available for doctors and there is no campus placement for medical students not even at premier medical institutes like AIIMS. And even when the doctors somehow manage to get jobs in private hospitals and nursing homes they don’t get a decent remuneration. These all add up to the stress level of young doctors.
A young doctor burst out with his problems. “After a regressive study, when we come out with a degree we don’t have proper jobs; some lucky folks get a chance to work with prestigious hospitals and others are pushed for rigorous treatment in remote areas, pushed to hard work but with no remuneration on time, having salary backlogs for more than three months in government run dispensary,” he said requesting not to be named. “After 10 years of study, we are getting only Rs 20,000 as perks, yes we are under great depression,” he added.
According to doctors, the postgraduation study is the toughest period in a medical student’s life, when he has to study hard while working tirelessly in a hospital. “But getting very low remuneration leads to frustration and depression,” said Dr Kuldeep Kumar, associate professor, department of medicine, University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi.
A study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, as far back as 1996, showed that 40 per cent of its senior doctors in emergency medicine faced stress levels within the warning zone. AIIMS and other premier medical institutions have since tried to put some preventive measures in place.
“We made two resource persons available across 40 departments to identify doctors with such problems and help them out,” said a senior doctor at the department of psychiatry, AIIMS, New Delhi, who requested not to be named.
But the latest suicide cases show that these measures are not enough. An institute that treats thousands of patients everyday clearly needs to pay attention to its own stressed and harassed doctors. “Evidently, shortage of manpower in a hospital leads to overburden the residents, who are under tremendous pressure from academic seniors. The doctors consider themselves as a caged parrot,” said Dr Suneet Upadhyaya, assistant professor, department of psychiatry, VCSG Govt Medical College, Srinagar Garhwal.
According to a young doctor, in medical institutes, the students must compete against each other throughout their study and training period for achieving better ranks and positions and most of them have a difficult time admitting to any perceived weakness. For those who do and want help, there are more obstacles in a sense that peers, faculty members and others are likely to judge the distressed students as less competent.
But this “survival of the fittest” mentality can affect all medical students, not just those who are depressed or burned out. And it can also affect patients by wearing away a young doctor’s sense of empathy.
“If this is the way that medical students view each other,” Dr Kuldeep Kumar wondered, “how would they view their patients who are depressed or struggling with mental illness?”
Medical institutes and hospitals might exacerbate the pressures on such studious students but they are rarely the sole culprits. At these premier institutes, students from a variety of caste, class and cultural backgrounds converge. And at times, they fell prey under greater pressure and loneliness. They need to adjust, but the desire to be “cool” does not easily allow thoughts of possible failure. And what is worse is that Indian families generally do not welcome back defeated or recalcitrant students as much as they do not welcome back daughters after a failed marriage. According to them, they have invested too much in both.

Do you have your own opinion, write in comments below.............

1 comment:

  1. The working hrs for any other discipline/even docs outside i n other countries is 8 hrs. Enumeration are tooooo good if compared. To cope up with this & in high profile studies & tremendous duties esp. during ur youth which was made to enjoy, u lose ur prime time to enjoy. When u do ur studlies, u come out with late marriage & late settlement, art other points of stress. These all things are reasons for suicide in docs.