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Thursday, December 09, 2004

doctors in demand

The term Doctor brings up visions of Dr. Zivago, Dr. No and Dr. Dolittle –
Jokes apart - medicine is supposed to be one of the noblest of professions. Ever since one can remember, a Doctor was expected to be very much more knowledgeable than any commoner – yes, even an Engineer. Everyone held a Doctor in high esteem and young eligible bachelor Doctors were what young ladies’ dreams were made of. A Registered Medical Practitioner (RMP, for short) was authorized to issue Certificates of illness which were acceptable as substantial proof that the concerned patient did deserve to stay away from work – of course, his absence would be regularized against available leaves.

With the passage of time, the medical profession like any other profession has undergone immense changes. An MBBS of old was able to sit in judgment on any disease. In case he was unable to come to any conclusion or if the symptoms were new, he would obtain advice from his Seniors. The patient would remain his own primary responsibility. The family of the patient would have complete faith in him and would not hesitate to cater to his slightest requirements. Naturally, a bond was created between the two – which sometimes lasted for generations.
The total scenario has transformed – today each and every limb has a specialist. Right from the nose, ears, eyes, teeth – the list is an extremely long one. To cap it all, one part of the dental profession deals in teeth while another looks after the dentures. Similarly, the eye specialist will only check your sight and recommend glasses – for getting these you have to go to a different counter. Increasing the available options has its advantages – the most important among them being expansion of business horizons! As a result, we come across the Doctor being a dentist while his doctor wife runs a shop for selling spectacles and contact lens and his son dispenses medicines. It is agreed that over the years, the medical profession has not stayed stationary: advancements in the field have been introduced in investigation and treatment of diseases. It is but natural that specialists be involved where necessary. Due to this, nursing homes have mushroomed for those who can afford the expenses – for others Government Hospitals are a means to the end.

In this context, a recent news item revealed that ‘Doctors are now making a bee line for BPO jobs’. Apparently, these are better paymasters and, those involved in such activities, earn while they learn. Beginners with MBBS degrees are paid Rs 16,000 per month and those with MD degrees can command up to Rs 20,000 per month. In comparison, at a Government college, a tutor is paid Rs 10,000 which increases to Rs 12,000 for an Assistant Professor and goes up to Rs 26,000 for a dean and Rs 28,000 for a Principal! Little wonder then that cases of impersonation in medical examinations a-la Munnabhai MBBS are on the increase. After all, Engineers do not get chances to adorn BPO chairs.

All said and done, the fact remains that soon a day may come when the thirty two teeth will be broken down into two segments. We would then have specialists for the upper sixteen and the lower sixteen. Then we can have still more specialization.


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