The Calcutta branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has taken the onus to improve the “strained doctor-patient” relationship.
Over 600 doctors from across the country will meet at the first-ever Academy of Medical Speciality Conference to be held in the city on March 1 and 2, 2003, to seek ways to rectify the situation.
“Medical practitioners from all disciplines will discuss medico-legal problems and doctor-patient relations, which is a major problem area in recent times,” said Dr R.D. Dubey, secretary of the association’s city branch.
Medico-legal issues are plaguing the profession especially after the Kunal Saha episode in which three eminent doctors were dragged to court. The other topic on the conference agenda is the ailments common in the city.
“People seem to have forgotten that doctors are there to treat them, and not cause harm. Likewise, doctors, too, must realise their responsibilities,” president of IMA’s city branch Nirmalya Banerjee said.
The IMA office-bearers were prompted to put discussions on the medico-legal issues as “top priority” after they received complaints that doctors were harassing patients on the pretext of finding out whether all legal documents were in order before treating the patient.
“It is true that doctors nowadays have become very careful about taking up cases. The process is no longer the same as doctors now try to protect themselves from legal wrangles,” says eminent city-based cardiologist P. Hazra.
Apart from these issues, the doctors will discuss the rise of diseases like AIDS, cancer, diabetes and cardio-vascular ailments in the city.
According to a recent state government finding, more then 30 per cent of the total number of patients dying in city hospitals are suffering from cardio-vascular and cerebral diseases.
“This is disturbing news. Calcuttans must change their food habits and lifestyle immediately. Everybody above 30 years of age should undergo regular check-ups to avoid heart diseases,” says Dubey.
Apart from AIDS and heart ailments, diabetes will also feature prominently in the conference. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) surveys, one-fifth of the world’s diabetes cases will be from India in a few years.