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Assam’s Dr Diganta Buragohain has penned an open letter that highlights some crucial factors, which affect doctors and are forcing them away from their initial goal of selfless service to others. We re-produce the letter that is going viral in many medical circles-

An open letter to all concerned –

 I am a doctor. I passed my MBBS from GMCH in 2014 and am presently working in a primary care hospital (as the govt of Assam, a few years back, made it mandatory to work in rural set-up for 1 year to pursue post-graduation).
I was a state topper in class 12 exam in 2009 and could easily have chosen any other career. But, I chose to be a doctor despite being warned that for the rest of my life I would rarely have 8 hours of uninterrupted sound night-sleep, that I would hardly be able to attend family functions and festivals, that it will take 5.5 years to complete bachelor degree, 1 year of rural service, 3 years to complete post-graduation and another 3 years for post-doctoral (if I at all want to be a super-specialist) and by the time I get established I will have fewer number of years to live than I have already lived. These gentle warnings could not stop me from joining medical profession simply because I, for the rest of my life, wanted to be directly involved with people through my work.
However, back then in 2009, the network of electronic media in Assam was not that strong and therefore I was not aware of ‘the hatred’ of public towards the community of doctors and health workers. I perfectly know that everybody in my profession is not saint, that sometimes there is negligence on the part of the on duty doctor, that some of the doctors don’t know how to behave. But, is not that true for all professions?
With as little as a year and a month of my experience as doctor, I can say that the working environment of the government hospitals in Assam right now is pathetic. There is a sense of fear among all the health workers at all levels(and to be frank, there is a sense of frustration among the younger generation of doctors and health workers). Today, a doctor, especially in periphery, is afraid of attending a serious patient even under emergency condition. He/she has a fear that people today will not appreciate his/her efforts, but will judge (and may punish him/her) depending upon the outcome of his/her efforts.
Coincidentally, I have been associated with the Assamese electronic media for the last few years. I do believe that they have immense influence among the general public. Therefore, whenever I see reports, completely biased and un-investigated, prepared not with an aim to show the truth, but to rather pass judgement over a technical issue of which they have as little knowledge as a neonate; I get disturbed. Media, along with the civil society, have a huge role to play to make the hospital environment congenial for both patients and health workers and when they do the opposite it harms the patients more than the health workers.
Personally, I don’t have the same level of enthusiasm as I had 6 years back. But, I will continue to do my duty as a doctor, because if I and my colleagues stop working the world will stop. However, I can tell you all that from today onwards I will ‘treat’ my patients but will not ‘serve’ them and that I will be the last doctor (coincidentally, the first as well) of my family.

– Dr Diganta Buragohain


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3 Responses so far.

  1. Reeshav444 says:

    I stand by you…diganta…. There’s a whirlwind coming….

  2. riju das says:

    Diganta….hope for better… day people will know the role of doctor….

  3. dr shahjubin basir says:

    Very nicely written diganta.v stand by you

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