LAHORE: In view of the recent malicious campaign in the media against the doctor�s community, KEMCOLIANS Forum organized an interactive dialogue on Doctors as a Role Model on January 31st 2010. The speakers included Prof. Kh. Saadiq Hussain an eminent physician and former Principal of King Edward Medical College who is also former President of CPSP, Dr. Jahangir Alam another noted medical personality, Prof. Rashid Latif a well known Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who is the pioneer of IVF and the man who popularized the Assisted Reproductive Techniques in Pakistan offering hopes to many infertile couples besides Prof. Saad Bashir Malik, Prof. of Psychiatry. The panelists included Prof. Zafrullah Khan VC KEMU, Mr. Anwar Kamala who represented the lawyer�s community, Dr.Arifa Syeda, Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor Pulse International and Mr. Wasif Nagi from Jang Group of Publications who also represented the media.
Prof. Kh.Saadiq Husain was the first speaker who pointed out that every father and teacher also serves as a role model as they are being observed by their children and pupils who get influenced from their habits. Role model is someone who excels in a field and inspires people to follow them. Doctor is a father, a family man and as a true role model he or she has to harmonize all their roles as guide, family man, preacher, warrior, peace man according to the society�s expectations and set an example for others to follow. His/her role has to be acceptable to the society. Many doctors have made a name nationally and internationally. I always considered late Prof. Amiruddin, late Col.Ellahi Bakhsh and Prof. Peerzada as true role models. They were the devoted and dedicated teachers. When at the time of partition most of the teachers had left King Edward Medical College, Col. Ellahi Bakhsh first taught pharmacology and then medicine. Similarly Prof. M.A.H.Siddiqui first taught anatomy and then surgery. They were performing the duties of two professors but they never asked for any additional remuneration. Once Col. Elahi Bakhsh as Principal fined all the late comer students Rs. 50/- each and it also included his own son. When one of the students pointed out that you as father will pay for your son, who will pay the fine on our behalf, Prof.Ellahi Bakhsh agreed to pay the fine on behalf of all the students. That is how the teachers of those days used to treat the students, he remarked.
Dr. Jahangir Alam in his address stated that if you make one person honest, you have done your duty. It was the people like late Prof.Riaz-e-Qadeer who always kept the flag of medical profession high. Alas today the image of the medical profession in the society is at its lowest ebb. Referring to the campaign against the doctors in the media he asked that for the mistakes committed by a few, the entire medical profession cannot and should not be maligned. He also suggested that medical profession should have a system of check and balance. Unfortunately doctors no longer enjoy the respect and dignity which they used to in the past and there are some reasons for that. They have failed to check unethical medical practice amongst their profession, many doctors do not show the sense of commitment and I share this view. As doctors we have responsibility to do our best. We must recognize our limitations and practice within our own fields. There have been tremendous progress in medicine and most of us are no longer sole performers. At times it is important to seek the help and advice of others and we must do it before it is too late. It will improve patient care. At time doctors keep the patients with them just because of financial gains and fail to refer them in time to other specialists who can manage them better. We have failed to produce role models in the recent past that is why we see this malicious campaign against the doctors on the media, he remarked.
He emphasized the importance of dignity of the medical profession, fair play and justice. In the past senior professors and consultants used to do night rounds in public hospitals to attend to any serious patients or some of them used to do early morning rounds. This is no more practiced these days. The doctors have to balance their charges keeping in view our economy. Mushroom growth of private medical colleges has opened the flood gates of corruption and the PM&DC has failed to ensure quality education and training. Many of these private medical and dental colleges are producing ill-trained doctors. We as a profession have accepted to condone malpractice. Private clinics and hospitals are charged for water, gas and electricity services at par with business concerns. Government allocates meager funds for healthcare. No law should be enacted which is detrimental to the national interests. There is no dearth of honest, conscious doctors. It is high time that we all show responsibility and try to regain the lost public trust. There is no doubt that some of us are not doing ethical practice. We must call a spade a spade and teach them the importance of professional commitment and fair play, he concluded.
Prof. Rashid Latif in his speech said that at present there are over one lac twenty thousand registered doctors in Pakistan which includes about twenty five thousand specialists. At the time of independence, we had very few doctors. All this was possible because of Pakistan. We have not imported doctors and specialists and all of them were trained within the country. Though I am not a KEMCOLIAN but we should be proud of the fact that King Edward Medical College is the mother of all medical institutions in Pakistan.
Commenting on the healthcare Prof. Rashid Latif said that government investment in health sector is very meager and not enough. Over 80% of the healthcare to our population is provided by the private health sector may it be hospitals or General Practitioners. To me these GPs are a role model who live and practice in the community and serve them most of whom do come up to the society�s expectations. Specialists should serve as a beacon of light as a profession. Because of the deteriorating law and order situation and poor health of our economy, different sections of the society are bitter and they have become a bit irritable to each other. I feel sorry for the three unfortunate incidents which happened in quick succession i.e. the death of a small girl at Doctors Hospital, the death of wife of Cricketer Wasim Akram and the death of an MNA Faiz Mohammad at PIMS in Islamabad. I feel sorry for them but we must remember over fifty lac patients are seen and managed daily and how many of them die? Do not we know that thousands of deaths which take place due to medical errors in the most developed country in the world like United States of America? We must identify the mistakes, punish the culprits but it is highly unfair to blame the entire doctor�s community. I remember at Nishtar Medical College we had a role model in the shape of Dr. Jamal Bhutta who worked for over twenty years without any remuneration. There are many among the medical profession who are doing a commendable job. As community we the doctors have done much more for the development and progress of Pakistan than any other profession may it be the lawyers, army personnel or the engineers. Hence the society should not forget all that, he remarked.
Prof. Saad Bashir Malik read the story of a doctor how he starts his education, progresses in the professional career and then he has to live and survive in the corrupt environment. Many a time he finds it extremely difficult to compete which is one of the reasons that they are often criticized. However, it is much better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. A good doctor has to be a good teacher, a balanced personality with compassion, humour which all makes him a good human being. It will be much better if we all change ourselves first than trying to change the society and the community as a whole, he remarked.
Participating in the discussion Mr.Shaukt Ali Jawaid Chief Editor of Pulse International said that though he did not like the current malicious campaign against the doctor�s community in the media but it is also a fact that medical profession has failed to monitor itself. He was of the view that there is no dearth of kind hearted, God fearing physicians but it was extremely important that it should have some in-built mechanism of monitoring and accountability. Various bodies like PM&DC, PMA, various professional societies and associations should monitor the working of their members and provide some forum to the public to lodge complaints if they have any. Then they should be properly investigated, those found guilty should be punished. Since they failed to do so, this accountability was taken up by media which has played it up out of proportion. We are all human beings and we all make mistakes. I have myself committed many professional blunders but always tried to learn from those mistakes. That is what we all should do to ensure that the same mistakes are not repeated again.
Mr.Wasif Nagi said that these days there are no role models in different fields, teachers, police and doctors are no exception. We do not have many good role models in the media. When eminent journalist Mr. Irshad Husain Haqqani was seriously ill, no body bothered to find out about his well being and after his death there was a small news item. On the contrary the terrorists get much better coverage in the media. There are some black sheep in the media as well. There is no institution to teach and train the representatives of media. Doctors as professionals have much more responsibilities as they deal with the ailing humanity. They should do their duty. It is important to have some lectures on ethics during the undergraduate curriculum. Doctor�s attitude towards the patients most often is not good. If they listen to the patients patiently, have an affectionate attitude, it will earn them lot of respect.
Another participant remarked that with poor and inadequate training, we cannot produce good role models. They need to be re-examined and their re-certification should be initiated. Paediatric Surgeon Prof. Hameed also highlighted the ethical behaviour of doctors and how they should ensure ethical practice. Prof. S.Zafar Haider opined that we the seniors are intellectually dishonest. We must learn to speak the truth. We must look towards the juniors, be kind to them and have an affectionate attitude. There is lot of talent in the younger generation of doctors and when they see their seniors being dishonest, intellectually corrupt, they tend to follow them.
Replying to a question regarding the role of media and how it can be corrected Mr.Shaukat Ali Jawaid said that continuous professional development is extremely important for every professional and people from media are no exception. People from the media also need to be educated so that they understand the intricacies of healthcare services and then project an objective assessment. However, it is a bit difficult and one has to do it tactfully as people from the media believe that they know everything which in fact is not the case. An educated, enlightened media will highlight the issues in its true perspective.
It was not only the doctors, who felt that the media has been bias towards projecting their bad image, Mr. Anwar Kamal who represented the lawyers community also had lot of complaints against the media. Many a times they air and project news in such a way that by the time the truth is known repeated telecast has made the falsehood look like truth. Despite contradiction, it is difficult to eliminate the bad image which has already been created. Prof.A. Waheed President of KEMCOLIANS Forum also pointed out that it is not an easy task to educate the people from the media. Once he spent lot of time to translate medical terminology in simple Urdu language in a workshop for the media but media representatives did not appreciate it. On the contrary some of them felt I was not good at English language, hence spoke in Urdu. Prof. Rashid Latif said that let us remember that only the brightest students go to a medical college. We earn for ourselves as no body works for us unlike the businessmen and industrialists. We earn respect from others and we should be proud of it. But we must strive to come up to the expectations of the society which will make us stronger and earn us more respect in the society. We need to have some system of in-house check and balance as suggested by Mr.Shaukat Ali Jawaid. Prof. Saad Bashir Malik replying to a question said that doctors must provide quality service to earn respect. It was also stated that doctors are human beings and they can also make mistakes but the authorities as well as society must look at the miseries which are being created by unchecked quackery. Dr.Khalid Nawaz opined that the seniors must look into the problems and grievances of the junior doctors sympathetically. He also supported the self monitoring and accountability by the medical profession.
Prof. Shaukat Mahmood General Secretary of KEMCOLIANS who is also Registrar of KEMU was of the view that once we make mistakes, let us not hide them. They should be discussed as it provides an opportunity to learn and improve health services. Dr.Arifa Syeda said that doctors should engage themselves in social welfare service. A smile, it was stated, does not cost too much. Doctors have to work in the present circumstances and they should try to change as best as possible.
Prof. Zafrullah Khan VC KEMU felt that the government should reduce the number of seats in public sector medical colleges. Once we have a better student-teacher ration, it will ensure better education and quality training. Above all it will be possible to monitor all the students and discipline them. Majority of the doctors are good and only a few are involved in unethical practice but they are bringing a bad name to the entire doctor�s community.
Earlier Prof. A.Waheed Qureshi President of KEMCOLIANS Forum welcomed the guest speakes and participants and also highlighted the activities of the Forum so far.