Who would have thought that the first case in Wuhan by a lesser known virus would shortly turn into a global pandemic? COVID-19 has by all means ruled out everything worldwide and year 2020 i s becoming a nightmare for everyone. The virus has created history for generations to remember. We actually experienced what pandemic, quarantine and isolation meant rather than being just theoretical terms. The virus that causes COVID-19 is designated as severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus has not only affected our lungs but also touched upon our economy, occupation, humanity and mental health as well, in every possible shape and form. And when it comes to health, doctors are our frontline warriors. They along with the paramedical staff have selflessly and with their utmost dedication provided medical help at the cost of their own health. Doctors became a shield to the common man of our country when needed the most, their aim and path was clear. But what about aspiring doctors? Those who are still discovering this vast miraculous science. Those who are yet to get proper exposure in clinical field. So are they supposed to abide by their oath of serving in time of need? Or are they too inexperienced to do so? This matter has been talked upon widely ranging from internal debates to honorable high court with everyone having his/her own point of view. Numbers of colleges are calling their final year students for COVID duty. With this background, we asked medicos themselves about their opinion on whether their duty should be voluntary or mandatory? Our survey was not only limited to medicos, but we also asked general public about their opinion on this issue. We carried out an online survey amongst the medicos of Gujarat on August 18, 2020. Approximately 7-8 colleges of Gujarat were included and all students from first to final year have participated. A total of 283 responses were received. The survey also asked them to justify the reason for their choice. And here is what they think:
Very evidently, 79.86% of them think it should be voluntary while 20.14% feel it should be compulsion. The task does not end here, analysis of their reasons is also equally important. The majority, who opted for compulsion justified it by saying that it’s the need of situation (26.72%). No doubt situation is getting out of hand. Of 83K+ cases, only 65k+ have recovered in Gujarat so far and this statistics itself is very unpleasing. We need more warriors to improve the recovery ratio because the situation is no less than a battle field. And Meeting to this, 17.5% voters believe that in this time of crisis it is every medico’s duty to be true to core aspect of their profession which is serving and treating the people. Conditions like these tests the true dedication of a person towards his/her professional ethics. Another reason being that patients are outnumbering doctors.
There is an increasing shortage of doctors that inspire 21.37% of votes. Their view is, being from a medical background we should provide any little help available because every little deed goes a long way. While there was another sector of medicos who thought it should be compulsory otherwise students might skip duty (4.58%). They will not get adequate clinical skills and will not be able to diagnose and manage patients when it’s their turn. It acts as a golden opportunity for every medico to expand their theoretical knowledge into practical use. Students can stand with other doctors on duty, said 14.12% voters, thus can learn and simultaneously help the doctor as well as the patient.
There are other reasons (1.53%) as well stating authority should provide accommodation, incentives and give optimum time for exams, duty in these crucial times prepares the medical student for future. So if we conclude on the the views for compulsion, it is synonymous to ones morals and duty towards profession, society and nation. When entire world is trying whatever it can do to help one another, medicos who have more medical knowledge than a layman could be the given some basic training and called for. Now other side of coin, for those who said Voluntary, had various reasons with their justification. Majority feel that students lack clinical knowledge (28.31%). Every day we learn new facts about virus. There is no formulated way of treatment, new approaches are being tried, patients even present with different symptoms. The only constant fact about this virus is change…. It’s course of transmission, treatment, reoccurrence and prevention. Thus an inexperienced medico who probably has not done clinical duties may mess up and things may turn unfavorable to patients.
Another point is risk of contracting the disease (15.68%). It is not an unknown fact that direct exposure to patient will increase chance of contamination 100 times more than staying at home.22% of voters also question that if something unfortunate and unforeseen happens to them who will take responsibility? COVID duty not only increases their personal chances of acquiring infections but also endangers their family. Many parents would not be willing to send their ‘yet to become a Doctor’ son or daughter for duty. 12.02% feel that making it mandatory increases the stress of joining duty and anything done under compulsion or unwillingness does not yield the best results. Rather this uncalled burden might deteriorate their own health.
The list does not end here. There are other reasons given by 0.81% of voters who opted for Voluntary duty, includes: selection of posting according to their desired ward, Posting should be there where it is genuinely required and not in centers where doctors are sufficient in numbers, Private doctors and paramedical staff also should be counted for help.
From those who opted for voluntary, when asked further if they were willing to do COVID duty, 55.46% voted Yes while 44.54% refused to go for duty.
With every reason being justifiable in its own way, and without being bias to anyone, we sum up from the obtained statistics that most medicos prefer the duties to be kept voluntarily rather than mandatory.
– Shailee Shroff