Kolkata, May 18 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday regretted that high quality health care was yet to the reach India’s six lakh villages, and spoke out against patients’ families beating up doctors and ransacking hospitals to express their anger over the medical treatment provided.
“A massive effort is needed in our huge country to make education and health reach the people. A majority of out 1.3 billion people reside in six lakh villages. We have not yet succeeded in reaching modern high quality treatment to them, though we have big and specialised hospitals in the cities,” Mukherjee said at a programme close to the city.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Institute of Liver and Digestive Sciences at Sonarpur in neighbouring South 24 Parganas district, the President underlined the need on the part of doctors to treat patients “with a humane touch”.
“At times I hear complaints from people and also read in newspapers that the concept of service — to serve the sick to serve the needy — is fast receding from medical treatment,” he said.
“Just as there is need for modern treatment and medicines, similarly a humane touch is a must. It can only come from the behaviour of the doctors. A smiling face can cure half of the disease.”
Appreciating the efforts of the doctors associated with the IILDS, he hoped it would benefit citizens living in Eastern and North-east India and also a big part of Eastern UP where there is no specialised hospital for liver and gastro-intestinal diseases.
The President hoped the people would cooperate with the institution and said patients and their relatives needed to behave responsibily.
“When a patient dies, at times there are allegations that the doctor did not give him proper treatment. So the hospital now has to be ransacked, and the doctors beaten up. This is improper,” Mukherjee said.
“Nobody can guarantee that a life can be saved. Despite the advances in medical science, so far it is not in a position to give such a guarantee. They can only try by using all their knowledge, competence and experience,” he said.
In the same vein, the President said patients’ relatives needed to know that the expenses for medical treatment has to be borne.
“It would have been the best case scenario had the government been able to bear the entire cost of medical treatment. But that’s not possible. So we also have to bear the cost,” he added.