Reviving trust and rebuilding relationship

The doctor-patient relationship is a central part of health care and the practice of medicine. This relationship forms one of the foundations of contemporary medical ethics, and it has been re-interpreted with today's technical and social media development.

Dr Debraj Shome and Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker authored a book titled 'Dear People, with Love and Care, Your Doctors', to give a sneak peek into the world of medicine and motivate millions to maintain faith in the doctor-patient relationship.

Dr Debraj Shome, a cosmetic surgeon, likes to play squash and is a fitness freak. This is his first book, although he has written more than 60 articles, which were published in international journals.

Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Bariatric and Laparoscopic Surgeon, is one of the first Asian surgeons to be accredited for excellence in Bariatric Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation from the USA. She is also a first-time author.

Their inspiration to write this book is to bring back the focus on the unshakeable foundation of the doctor-patient relationship through inspiring stories. Dr Debraj says, "We often hear discouraging stories of doctors being abused and hospitals vandalised. The narrative is gradually turning negative—the dismal reality for both doctors and patients. But we tend to forget that many medical miracles are occurring all over the world owing to the cutting-edge technologies which have transformed the healthcare industry. Life expectancy all over the world has doubled in the past few decades, due to the wonders of modern science."

He further relates, "When we were growing up, it was every parent's dream to see their children become doctors. Back then, crème de la crème of this country got into medicine, and it was a matter of immense pride to get into medical school."

"Every student coveted for a medical seat. And then suddenly, we started hearing of doctors being attacked and hospitals being vandalised. Earlier, these instances happened once in a while, but gradually they have become common. To the extent that recently some doctors were grievously injured on duty, and another senior doctor in Assam was beaten to death. Today, the doctors are applying for arms licenses and are left with no choice but to go on strikes to protest crimes against the medical fraternity. There is a deep sense of loss of pride in this profession. Lack of trust is palpable, and it almost feels like India is at war with its doctors. There are many reasons for the deterioration in this relationship, and somewhere we all are responsible. It is a systemic failure. We are just ordinary doctors, and in our daily practice we also experience a lot of good interaction with patients, good feelings, gratitude and so on," adds Aparna.

About the title for their book Dr Debraj says, "Because of neither patients nor doctors can live without each other, they are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, we wanted to convey some love to our patients and also showcase individual patients, who are very happy with the medical system, and how they had got treated even though they had complicated diseases to treat. In general, this book allows you to take a ringside view and become a fly on the wall."

"Health is an emotional subject and medicine, and healthcare is all about empathy. The only language that every human being across the world understands is the language of 'love'," shares Dr Aparna.

Debraj and Aparna know each other for almost five years now; they have been good friends. About their relationship as co-authors, they say, "We have been part of the same hospitals, same institution, and we have also treated patients together. Being friends, we also run a charitable foundation 'Debabrata Auro Foundation' and believe in being the change that we would want to see in the world."

They further added, "The most challenging part of the book publishing process is to post the publication. Marketing the book is also an expensive exercise, and for first-time authors like us, funding is a challenge. Time management was another challenge, as we are not professional writers. We are surgeons with busy practices and unpredictable working hours. One serious patient needing our attention would set us back by a month. We were lucky to find good people in the industry to help us, and that made it a little easier."

This book can be an answer to what may have gone wrong in a profession which from time immemorial, has remained one of the most respected ones and may just inspire both, the doctors and the rest of the world to re-strength the beautiful relationship.

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