Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India – GODYEARS

Written by Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan (anesthesiologist) this article captures the image of a doctor’s life in India with a scalpel like precision. So much so that it gave me a panic attack today. 

Beginning my journey in the same profession I can ascertain that every word he has written is as true as the fact that I have never held a bagpipes rock and roll concert in the middle of Antarctica.

A pup was walking down the street when it came across a group of young boys. The leader of the group spotted the dog and pointed it out to his friends. Seeing the boys, the dog too wagged his tail and barked, looking forward to being petted and making new friends. 
However,even as the pup wagged his tail, one of the boys picked up a stone. The boy turned to the others and told them how dogs are bad because another dog had bitten his grandfather years ago. As he nodded, a second boy picked up another stone even as he spoke of the incessant barking of stray dogs in his neighbourhood at night, disturbing the sleep of his family. A third spoke of how dogs are bad because of religious reasons. The others realized the wisdom in their friends’ words and each picked up a stone, aware now that breeds like this could not be trusted. The pup stood where he was, confused as he watched the boys come closer to him.

By the time night had descended upon the land, the boys had dispersed and gone to their individual homes. There was a sense of accomplishment, having stopped a menace from entering their streets. Lying bloodied and brutalized, the pup that had wagged his tail in hope of giving and receiving love licked its wounds. It was too young to know that the physical wounds would heal in due time… but it was now old enough to have learned to distrust the species of stone throwers. The most selfless creature since time immemorial now knew to hate… because that was what it received for no fault of its own. For the crimes of others, it had paid with its body and soul. 

That, in a nutshell, is the reason why I will never allow you, my child, to become a doctor in India.

Still confused, I guess? It is okay. Take a chair and sit down… this is going to take awhile.

Increasingly, I find myself watching and talking to doctors across two generations and various specialties these days. And increasingly, that sense of despair and disillusionment is writ large in their words. They find themselves wondering where things went wrong even as they struggle to bring a smile on their faces. With 0.7 doctors per 1000 Indians, the doctor:patient ratio is far below that of other comparable countries like China (1.9), United Kingdom (2.8) and United States (2.5). Spain’s 4.9 seems like an absolute luxury in comparison, I must admit. What this means in layman’s terms is simply this – that you are always going to be swamped with patients beyond the logical human capacity in India. 

Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India GODYEARS

Thou shalt sacrifice your time, parents, spouse and child.

Getting a 63 hour a week schedule (7 days x 9 hours) is a blessing and most of the young guns who join in fresh after post graduation know fully well that a 100 hour a week schedule is par for the course once you begin working. And sadly, this is advocated and in fact encouraged by most hospitals too – who wouldn’t want to have workers in a contract which states 8 hours a day and then get them to work 14, stating that ‘this is how it is for all doctors and besides, we are in the business of selfless service.’ You would never allow a taxi driver to drive you for 24 hours continuously but asking surgeons to do that every third day is fair game in India, apparently. 

For those who wonder why the doctors charge such high fee here: Rs.200-500 (~$2.92 – 7.30) – almost the same as a plumber’s charges for fixing a broken pipe. . . 

And for those who appreciate the years worth of sleepless nights behind those lines of prescription, please read the complete article below. 



32 thoughts on “Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India – GODYEARS

    1. That’s the beauty of the situation. I can’t do anything about it.
      Am currently preparing for pg entrance, clearing which will provide me with the good opportunity of working for days without sleep, without any holiday not even a sunday off, for a pay of 40k while writing thesis and studying.
      And anyone has the God given right to abuse/beat/kill me if I have any news which they don’t want to hear.
      Then for girls there is also sexual harassment especially from within the department to consider.
      Thank you for reading arjun:-) It makes me happy that at least one person will understand his/her doctor’s journey. Perhaps this might decrease violence against docs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No it isn’t and people don’t realise. Even though overworked, under equipped, and disrespected still everything is the doctors fault.
      I once saw a video where an obgyn here informed a patient about intrauterine death of the baby and the patient’s husband beat her up, as if that too was her fault.
      Thanks for reading Susie. The story might be better where you live.☺


    1. Thanks for reading this LW. ☺ another insightful doctor wrote it and I had the good fortune of happening upon it, thus the share.
      I thought perhaps if other non medicos understood the lives of doctors then there would be less aggressive behaviour from the patient bystanders and everybody likes to be appreciated of course.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, life is exactly like this for 99% residents here and maybe even after that.
      Glad to meet you Paul. May I ask which country are you from? It’s all right if you want to keep that personal.
      I saw that the audience of your blog requires people from medical profession. I know around a dozen of them here. I’d be glad to direct you to them if you wish.
      And another suggestion would be to add the references and source of your answers, although the cases are simple enough but that would add credibility to your answers and med people will trust you more. And a disclaimer so that normal people don’t start diagnosing themselves and start using the drugs on their own without consultation.
      I hope this was not too much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nice!
        I meant sharing their username with you, if you are interested. I’ll write them down in the next comment. Hope it helps.
        Np. I hope I wasn’t imposing.
        You too! Good luck with your studies and new blogging life.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The blog names are:
        1. Beesting – she is a doctor
        2. Behind the white coat – she is in internal medicine I think
        3. Diary Of A Growing Black Man – a med student
        4. Green scrubs and blue jeans – a surgeon
        5. LazyHaze – a doctor
        6 . Lone wanderer – will graduate to be a doctor in a few months
        7. Medicine and Serge Benhayon – no idea about their qualification
        8. Nurse Kelly – nurse
        9. thedoctorindistress – doctor I think but not much active on wp
        10. Aks Thariani – a med student
        11. https://petyrblog.wordpress.com – a med student but not much active here either


  1. I am pursuing my medical course and im happy about this. Though i may never get time or a good salary but this is what i want to be a doctor. To help the poor in India..treat them for free…I want my country to be aware and stay healthy.
    Though you’re right on your part..but that’s just my view ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s good to hear. The lady who runs pingalwara in amritsar is a doctor and leads a life full of simplicity. Everything she earns goes there. But leading such a life takes real courage.
      For most who want to practise in the conventional way, helping the poor comes naturally and you don’t have to think about it before doing it. And most doctors go out of their way to help every patient if they are in need. Basic empathy.
      As far as making India aware and healthy is concerned that is a part of the job description, an obvious outcome of your work. You will dispense your medical knowledge with glee after you have spend 51/2 years acquiring it.
      The issues highlighted in the article are those you will perhaps experience from internship (if your college has a heavy internship) till you settle down as an established consultant. Working for 48-72 hrs continuously without sleep, sometimes food or even sitting down is deleterious for your own health as well as that of others you are treating. And this is not just once a year, it is everyday, every year for at least 3 years. Everybody who prepares for pg is aware of this gruelling life before they take it up.
      The pay will become a concern when you have to put food on your table or have kids to take care of later in life. To Buy your own clothes, support your own education and not ask your parents for money after you graduate. Many people don’t mind asking their parents for support but I’m glad to be independent enough to pay for my own studies and books.
      Most patients these days are not like ‘doctor sahib aap hamare liye bhagwan ho. Jo aap karoge wo thik hi hoga’ most are like ‘agar main theek nahi hua then l’ll sue your bloody ass’ and the patient by standers think they are better informed than you after consulting Dr. Google.
      The abuse or beating doctors endure is a real thing despite however good your intentions might be. I doubt there is any established doctor who has not experienced this. Just spend an emergency posting and you will understand.
      The best part is after doing everything some patients still call you nurse. Nothing can match that feeling. Not that being a nurse is anything less but my set of skills is different from theirs.
      I don’t mean that being a doctor is not rewarding or that you can’t help people. I just mean that the world is not as rosy as it appears to be when you start mbbs. Nothing can match the exquisite feeling of delivering a baby or doing sutures on your own or helping a poor family out. But thinking and doing are very different things. I hope you remember your kind thoughts when you start practising. The world will be a better place for it. Goodluck.
      Endeavour to be an exceptional doctor along with what you said, learn something new everyday and acquire better skills. Your altruistic desires will come as second nature to you.
      May I ask what year are you in ritika. Is it third if I’m not wrong? Your comment made me laugh, reminded me of my first and second year days.

      Liked by 1 person

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