National Doctor’s Day is celebrated on July 1 each year. This day is celebrated to thank the doctors and physicians for their dedicated service. The first National Doctor’s Day was celebrated in July 1991. This day offers an opportunity to express gratitude towards doctors for round-the-clock service they offer. In India, this day marks the birth as well as the death anniversary of Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, who was one of the most renowned physicians and also the second Chief Minister of West Bengal.
The Doctor’s Day – 2020 with the theme ‘Lessen the mortality of COVID-19’ is of special importance as it is dedicated to the innumerable doctors who are serving during this COVID-19 pandemic in primary and secondary care setups as well as dedicated COVID care hospitals. Wherever one is, it is a time that every single effort counts.
This Doctor’s Day, Team Star of Mysore spoke to some doctors in Mysuru to know more about them, their profession and the challenges they are facing. Now read on…
Lack of trust from people you look after is daunting: Col. Dr. Dayanand, Director, JSS Hospital
What made you to choose this profession?
Col. Dr. Dayanand: While I was young, my family used to be looked after by a general practitioner, Dr. Ramappa. Whatever is the time of the day, he used to be dressed smart and his interaction with us was pleasant. This made a strong impression and motivated me.
Is it a dream job for you? Why this hospital or medical department interests you?
Col. Dr. Dayanand: Yes, this has been so for quite long and I have been managing the hospital for the past 20 years.
Your way of handling emergencies and the workload especially during COVID-19.
Col. Dr. Dayanand: Though I’m not handling emergency department personally, my team of doctors have trained and retrained themselves to address emergencies and also heavy workload.
Doctors are working round-the-clock as the world is gripped with Coronavirus pandemic. How are you managing personal and professional life?
Col. Dr. Dayanand: In my profession we are trained to such situations. The way I look at it is we have to do what we have to do.
There are many theories regarding Coronavirus. In such a situation, how will you convince your patient that he/she will get cured of the disease?
Col. Dr. Dayanand: At the moment we treat with whatever medicines available with us. There is unnecessary fear among people about virus infection. Out of 100 people affected 85 percent of them will have only mild illness. The rest about 10 percent will require hospitalisation. Only 5 percent of them are severely ill.
These days, people tend to trust internet more than doctors. What do you have to say to this?
Col. Dr. Dayanand: It is good to gain knowledge from whatever the source. However, one has to seek professional help for their illness and not self-medicate.
What does Doctor’s Day mean to you? And what is a challenge you face as a doctor?
Col. Dr. Dayanand: It reminds me to rededicate myself to the service of people. Lack of trust from the people you look after is the main challenge.
Making patients understand about their illnesses is challenging: Dr. Anita Seshadri, MBBS, DNB, Consultant Physician, Sigma Hospital
On why she chose this profession, Dr. Anita Seshadri says, “The concept of healing one’s illness made me choose this profession. It is a dream job for me while work environment and work ethics fascinates me the most.” But at present, handling their workload with COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge. “We always have to be ready for emergencies. Of course, managing professional and personal life is a big challenge, but I am able to do so with the support from my family.”
On Coronavirus and how it affects a person, she says, “COVID-19 affects the upper respiratory system as any other virus initially but can rapidly progress to affect lower respiratory system and other organs as well. The severity is more in elderly and people with other associated illnesses. Because this virus spreads from one person to another through droplets, we need to understand the need for social distancing and hand hygiene to prevent transmission.”
On people trusting the internet more than doctors, she says, “Internet is definitely a boon but with its limitations. As there is so much of information about everything, we need to know what is relevant for us and what is not. General public may not understand everything and this creates misinformation and panic. I would suggest that people discuss with their doctor before trusting the internet on their health.” “The biggest challenge we face as a doctor is making the patient understand about their illnesses and the proposed treatment especially for long-term problems like diabetes and hypertension.”
An occasion to realise our responsibilities as doctors: Dr. M.S. Vishveshwara, Chief Radiation Oncologist & Medical Superintendent, Bharath Hospital & Institute of Oncology
On why he chose this profession, he says, “As a child, I used to see our family doctor coming home to treat my grandparents. So seeing them, probably I developed a liking towards this profession.”
“In the medical field, only if we keep updating our knowledge we can do justice. Doctors should develop knowledge and work towards bettering their patient health,” he adds.
“My father late Somasundara Aradhya was an economics professor and mother late Hemalatha was a housewife. They would have been happy to see me grow in my career. My wife B.P. Jalajakshi takes up all family responsibilities so that I can concentrate more on my profession and I am deeply indebted to her. I have a daughter, Radhika Vishveshwara, who is pursuing her MD in Geriatric at MGM Medical College in Navi Mumbai and a son, Raghav Vishveshwara, who is doing his second year Computer Science Engineering at SJCE in Mysuru.”
“During COVID, responsibility of medical professionals is more, especially in a cancer hospital, extra care has to be given as cancer patients are more prone to infections,” he says. For him Doctor’s Day is an occasion to realise responsibilities. “It motivates to safeguard the importance of the profession and sanctity,” says a proud doctor who is serving people for the past 30 years.
On Coronavirus, he says, “It is important to develop our immunity system. For that, not only healthy food but being mentally strong is also equally important. Meditation and yoga will help. Hatred and jealously too reduces immunity.”
Let your doctors do research rather than you being a Google doctor: Dr. P.T. Vipin Kaverappa, MD, DNB (Nephrology), Consultant Nephrologist, Sigma Hospital
Why did you choose the profession? “I was fascinated with human biology during my formative years and choosing medicine at that time seemed like a natural progression. To be honest, at that time, I never really understood what it meant to be a doctor. But when I look back I could not imagine a different career,” he says.
Dr. Vipin says that being a doctor is a dream job. “Nephrology was my field of choice. Diagnosing a kidney problem at its nascent stage and treat it early before damage is a challenge. Guiding an individual with chronic kidney disease through his most vulnerable times gives immense satisfaction,” he says. On strategies for handling emergencies and workload especially during COVID-19, Dr. Vipin reveals, “We have been handling emergencies throughout the lockdown phase. It’s essential to take adequate precautions including at least basic personal protective measures.”
“Yes, this is a testing time for us. But in Karnataka, till this point of time, there has not been a significant surge in COVID cases. However, this is going to change in coming days considering the recent country-wide spike. The greatest challenge will be to continue providing care without putting ourselves at risk. Healthy diet and regular exercise go a long way in boosting immunity and this holds true for every individual,” he feels.
About the deadly nature of this virus, he says, “Our understanding of COVID 19 is still evolving and with extensive research worldwide, I am sure we will get new insights into the patho-physiology and disease management. At this juncture, people need reassurance that most will get cured without any intervention. They need to be educated regarding personal hygiene and social distancing. Unnecessary panic needs to be avoided since it can be counterproductive.”
On people trusting online more than doctors, he says, “It is unfortunate to see educated class trusting unverified information. The vast information available online needs to be filtered and only the authentic, verified facts needs to be trusted. Let your doctors do the research rather than you being a Google doctor.”
Reading Bendre and Kuvempu is a favourite activity: Dr. Venkataram Srinivas, Physician and Diabetologist, Clearmedi Radiant Hospital
Dr. Venkataram Srinivas has been in the profession since the last two decades. A Squadron Leader in Indian Air Force where he has worked for nine years, he started his career in JSS Hospital, Mysuru and then worked in Apollo BGS Hospital. After his higher studies in London, he now serves at Clearmedi Radiant Hospital. “During childhood, as there were no hospitals in my village, people used to suffer a lot. Hence, I wished I would become a doctor. I feel my dream has come true. My wife Dr. Rupa is also in the same profession (Radiologist) and I feel happy and lucky,” he says. The doctor couple has two kids. “Emergency situations are part of our medical profession. When people with life-threatening conditions rush to hospital, we need to attend them immediately. This Coronavirus pandemic has given us more responsibility and opportunity to serve others,” he says. About balancing their personal and professional life, the doctor says, “My priority is my patients. In my free time, I listen to music or read a book. Reading works of Bendre and Kuvempu is a favourite activity.”
Regarding COVID-19, he says, “To save ourselves from infection, we need protection and immunity boost. Infected patients need reassurance. In particular, people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, cancer or other co-morbid conditions should take extra care.”
On Doctor’s Day, he has this to say: “People should have confidence and appreciate our hard work so that it would improve the bond between patients and doctors and of course, encourage us to serve more.”
Reassurance is the first therapeutic step: Dr. C.B. Avinash, Cancer Specialist, Clearmedi Radiant Hospital
I also dreamt of becoming a doctor in my childhood. I never felt this profession stressful. We need to serve patients with enthusiasm because their health is important for a doctor,” he says.“People need not fear about COVID-19. We need to take precautions and be safe.”
Dr. Avinash’s wife Dr. Chaitra Katakol is also a Cancer Specialist at Bharath Cancer Hospital and they have two children. “Doctor’s profession is a noble profession and patients and hospital should be our first priority. Reassurance is the first therapeutic step and key to patient education. Corona is of course a terrible, life-threatening disease. To combat this, we need a strong immunity. Elderly and children need to take special precautions since they have low immunity,” he says. On people hooked to internet for medical advice, he says, “Yes, we need internet but whatever it says is not true. It might provide some information, but if you believe it 100 percent, nobody can help you.”
“It is our duty to serve patients who trust us. Doctors should cultivate the habit of service as this attitude is important. If patients are treated as our relatives, the patient will gain confidence and respects his doctor. This would strengthen the relationship,” he says on the bond between patients and doctors.
Everyone has a job but not all jobs are risky; ours is: Dr. Pavan V. Joshi, Medical Director and Chief Eye Surgeon, Annapoorna Eye Hospital
This 35-year-old doctor has over 17 years of experience. A resident of Lakshmipuram, Dr. Pavan V. Joshi is married to Dr. Anupama P. Joshi, Paediatrician at JSS Hospital, presently doing neonatology fellowship in Lucknow. They have a four-year-old daughter Gaurika Joshi.
Why did you choose medical field, ophthalmology in particular?
Dr. Pavan: My great grandfather, grandfather and father too were doctors. The kind of satisfaction they got after they treated a patient successfully motivated me. Since my father was an ophthalmologist, it was a natural choice for me.
We have seen people wearing masks. Not much importance is given for eyes.
Dr. Pavan: Eyes are also very important as droplets can also enter through eyes. People use more computers and mobile phones which cause dryness in eyes and they tend to rub eyes, leading to infection. However, we cannot recommend face shields/ goggles for general public as it is a little tedious and not everybody can afford it. But they are a must for healthcare professionals.
People avoid hospital with the fear of getting infected. But as a doctor you have to go to hospital every day.
Dr. Pavan: Anything may happen to us but we should make sure we do not transmit it to others. If we safeguard ourselves, it is like safeguarding everybody. Nowadays, I am not physically close to any family member. I make sure that I maintain social distance within family too.
Your say on Doctor’s Day.
Dr. Pavan: I am happy that people are recognising our hard work. Many doctors have died on COVID duty as they are putting service above their lives. Everyone has a job but not all jobs are risky. Doctors have taken risk of their family and nobody is running away from their responsibilities. This should be recognised on Doctor’s Day.
People demand guarantees from doctors & put us under pressure: Dr. Raghunath Aladakatti, Consultant Anaesthesiologist and Critical Care, Gopala Gowda Shanthaveri Memorial Hospital
Doctor’s Day is spiritual to me. “I always wanted to make a difference in this world since childhood. I firmly believe that nothing comes closer than critical care speciality,” he says.
On the job and passion, he says, “This is the only job I ever wanted to do. My passion drove me to specialise in critical care. Managing terminally ill patients and closely witnessing both ends of life has given me a sort of better understanding of life and has made me a better individual. After a hard day’s work at the ICU, when I come home, I feel contented that I made a difference in someone’s life,” he says.
On managing personal and professional life, Dr. Raghunath says, “We stick to basics, do it right and also keep ourselves updated. On personal front, as a son, a husband and a father of two, I make sure that my family is educated on COVID. My family understands the immense commitment I need to give to my profession especially during these difficult times and they support me in every way.” Many theories regarding Coronavirus are speculative. “It’s been my personal experience that COVID positive patients develop hyper immunity status, which in turn disturbs the interleukins, and cause other chemical imbalances in the body leading to complications. So every case presents itself differently and is a challenge in itself,” he reveals.
“Google doctors do not realise the fact that one has to be a trained medical professional to understand the intricacies of a particular disorder. Unless you trust your doctor, the treatment outcome will be grossly compromised. Sadly, our profession has now been reduced to a business undertaking filled with legalities and constraints. People demand guarantees from doctors and put us under pressure.”
A doctor must give patient confidence about treatment: Dr. Shilpa Santhrupth, Medical Director, Siri Caree IVF Centre, Gopala Gowda Shanthaveri Memorial Hospital
Every day is a Doctor’s Day for me if I am able to bring a smile on at least one of my patient’s face,” says Dr. Shilpa, who is also a Trustee of International Institute for Assisted Reproductive Technology and Research Centre.
“Though I give my 100 percent, many a times results will not be favourable. Despite explaining pros and cons of any treatment, patients want guaranteed results. People must understand that doctors are ordinary human beings putting their best efforts to do an extraordinary job,” she says.
“My family was behind me choosing this profession and I became the first doctor in my family. Moreover, being a fertility specialist I make a difference in people’s lives as I have got the opportunity to make numerous childless couples parents,” she proudly says. On managing her personal and professional life, Dr. Shilpa says that her husband Dr. Santhrupth, being a doctor himself, understands the complexity of her profession. My daughters are used to my odd-hour work. My professional needs will definitely outweigh my personal ones,” Dr. Shilpa says.
On many COVID theories emerging, Dr. Shilpa feels that a doctor should establish a good rapport with the patient, educate them with authentic and recent information about the disease and show openness in explaining the condition of a patient. “Please do not Google and take self-medication. Many times, Internet contents are written by people who have limited or vague knowledge. Trust your doctor as he/she knows what is best for you,” she concludes.
I take a shower and then meet my baby: Dr. D. Sinchana, General Consultant, Annapoorna Eye Hospital
Thirty-one-year-old Dr. D. Sinchana has two years of experience. She is married to Dr. S.R. Divakar, Assistant Professor in Anaesthesia, Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences. They have a two-year-old child.
Why did you choose medical field, ophthalmology in particular?
Dr. Sinchana: Since childhood, my parents used to tell me about the nobility quotient of medical profession. Even my brother is a doctor. I liked Ophthalmology from day one and I used to top in this subject.
How do you balance professional and personal life, especially during COVID?
Dr. Sinchana: Actually, I did not visit the hospital during lockdown. But eventually did. I have a baby and aged people at home and to avoid risk I had taken leave. We use PPEs at hospital and machines are sanitised after each patient is screened. After going home, I leave my slippers outside and directly go to the bathroom, take a shower and then go to my baby. This is followed by my husband too.
How important is it to shield eyes?
People think that one gets COVID-infected only through cough but many do not know that even through eyes, one can get infected. Even many doctors neglect eye protection. People must avoid touching eyes without clean hands. In many countries, more ophthalmologists have been infected because we go very close to patients while screening. Ophthalmologists too should wear PPEs and face shields.