Wait a minute!

Shockingly, a patient has been reported dead at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital apparently due to ‘doctoral negligence.’ The relatives of the deceased, Mahendra Basnet, 35, and a resident of Kathmandu, alleged that the doctors on duty not only did not look after their kin, they also misbehaved with them. The patient was not admitted till late in the evening though he was rushed to the emergency in the morning. Agitated crowd gathered around the hospital premises and angrily demanded that punishment be meted out to the doctors responsible for the tragic mishap.

Undoubtedly, the medical practitioners in Nepal operate under tense condition and heavy work pressure, given the overcrowd in the hospitals and the lack of sufficient space. The doctors in this case too have admitted that they were unable to take the patient to the ICU as there was no vacant bed there. However, the fury of the public and of Basnet’s relatives cannot be declared unjustified on such grounds because on a matter of life and death no excuse is acceptable. The hospital authorities have admitted that there was a communication gap between the doctors while changing the duty shift and have apologised for their mistakes. Although doctors are neither machines nor messiahs, it is nevertheless the moral duty of every responsible hospital to ensure that adequate care is provided to the patients and that the hospital has a well-trained lot of polite personnel.

The real problem with the government hospitals is doctors’ lack of dedication to their hospital duty since it is no secret that the majority of them are more interested in private practices where they get to make much more than they would in the public hospitals. Clearly then, when the overall attention of the doctors is diverted to their private clinics, no one can say for sure that such cases would not be repeated in the future. But medical ethics should be put into practice and the patients should receive all the services that they pay for, be it in a private or a government hospital.