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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 40-41

Violence against Doctors in India: A Medical Student's Perspective

Medical Student, Grant Government Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, Mumbai, India; GCSRT Candidate, Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA

Date of Submission16-Aug-2022
Date of Decision13-Oct-2022
Date of Acceptance23-Oct-2022
Date of Web Publication01-Mar-2023

Correspondence Address:
Manas Pustake
Medical Student, Grant Government Medical College and Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, Mumbai - 400 008

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jopcs.jopcs_24_22

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How to cite this article:
Pustake M. Violence against Doctors in India: A Medical Student's Perspective. J Prim Care Spec 2023;4:40-1

How to cite this URL:
Pustake M. Violence against Doctors in India: A Medical Student's Perspective. J Prim Care Spec [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 6];4:40-1. Available from: https://www.jpcsonline.org/text.asp?2023/4/1/40/370803

Medicine is seen as a noble profession as doctors are entrusted with the primary duty of protecting and improving the health and lives of human beings. We enrolled in the medical college because we had vaulting ambitions of becoming good doctors and helping the community as a whole. We were raised in a society where the medical profession is still the most respected of all. At the same time, it seems that the status of medical professionals has declined significantly over the years, especially in India.

The journey to becoming a physician in India begins with cracking an examination of arduous difficulty called the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test – Undergraduate (NEET-UG) after completing higher secondary education. To cover the entire syllabus for this entrance examination, one needs to begin studying for it as soon as secondary school (10th grade) is completed. Competition is severe enough to crush anyone's hope throughout the preparation. NEET-UG serves as a gateway to approximately 41,000 government MBBS seats, with over 1,600,000 candidates vying for these seats, resulting in a worse seat-to-applicant ratio.[1] The first year of medical college is the commencement of the MBBS journey. One has to read stacks of books for 20 different subjects and is expected to know them all to graduate and have the title “Doctor” before their name. Then comes the even more difficult part: the internship, during which this “newly became” doctor is supposed to work hard while also studying for another beast called NEET-PG (the entrance examination for MD/MS in India). The physician is now able to practice medicine in his specialty after 3 years of day/night endless hours of work in the wards and clinics. Another 3–4 years of super-specialization should not be forgotten!

There have been increasing reports of violence toward doctors in the last decade, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.[2],[3] While patient-on-doctor violence is nothing new; we, as medical students, are very disturbed by such news. As medical students, we attempt to understand the fundamentals of clinical medicine by beginning our clinical postings. During our clinical postings, we strive to improve our communication skills with patients, learn to empathize with them to build a rapport with them, and do all we can to be good physicians. However, these kinds of incidents occur often enough to demotivate a to-be physician! Every medical student wants to be a respectable doctor and expects to have a secure, satisfying, and successful career in this field while also giving back to the community. However, in our training, after we pass each and every examination, another news of brutal violence against doctors comes. We realize that even after MBBS, this is a long way; following the grueling voyage, we have to undertake postgraduate training (PG),and after all this struggle, we try to settle down in our life. We sometimes think that choosing this profession may not have been the best decision for us.

Workplace violence against doctors is a worldwide concern. It is four times higher in doctors than among all people working in other fields.[4] It can be found in practically every country. In India, nearly 75% of doctors had encountered some type of violence in the course of their practice.[5] According to the Indian Medical Association, more than 80% of doctors are stressed out about their jobs, and roughly 56% do not get enough sleep.[6] Interestingly, the people who beat doctors have no idea how much the physician has invested (in terms of knowledge, efforts, and time) to be at this level. They simply act impulsively if something happens to their loved ones, even if there is no negligence on the part of the doctor. Moreover, the general public “presumes” that the fault must be on the part of the doctor, and that the patient is always right! Despite the repeated pleas of the central associations, no concrete measure for the safety of physicians has been enacted.[7]

Medical education can itself play an important role in creating awareness and reducing the risk factors of workplace violence against doctors. When looked at the medical education patterns of the developed countries, USA for instance; there, along with the medical subjects the medical colleges, also teach about patient–doctor relations, communication with the patient in an effective way, empathy toward the patients and their relatives. These are parts of their routine curricula.[8],[9] It is also taught to them how to handle angry patients or family in a gentle manner when the situation becomes chaotic and violent. All of these things we wish we had been taught in medical college. Students should be taught how to remain calm and responsible in these situations without compromising patient care or safety.[8],[9] Professional competency is heavily emphasized in medical education in the United States. It is defined as the “judicious use of communication, knowledge, technical skills, clinical reasoning, emotions, values, and reflections in everyday practice for the benefit of the individual and the community being served.”[10] This implies that professional competence encompasses more than just communication abilities. That stated, in our field, communication skills are a vital element of training.

Medical education should incorporate soft skills and communication abilities needed to empathize with the patient, staying calm, and not acting impulsively in the face of persistent prodding from worried or angry patients. Along with better communication between doctors and patients, bridging critical communication gaps between doctors, patients, and relatives will go a long way toward reducing violence. As India's medical education standards are rising day by day, we can hope that one day, the changes optimum for these things will be made at the administrative level.

Ethical declaration

No human or animal participants were involved. Ethics Committee approval was not needed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Government MBBS Seats through NEET 2021: State-Wise Total Seats. Available from: https://medicine.careers360.com/articles/government-mbbs-seats-through-neet.[Last accessed on 2022 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 1
The Alarming Rise in Violence Against Doctors in India and Its Immediate Solution – JURIST – Commentary – Legal News & Commentary. Available from: https://www.jurist.org/commentary/2021/07/bhattacharya-astha-pandemic-violence-doctors-india/. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 2
When we Thank Our Doctors, do we Really Mean It?? ANI News. Available form: https://www.aninews.in/news/business/business/when-we-thank-our-doctors-do-we-really-mean-it20210707171014/. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 3
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Non-Fatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days away from Work; 2012. Available from: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/osh2_11082012.pdf. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 4
Over 75% of Doctors Have Faced Violence at Work, Study Finds | India News – Times of India. Available from: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Over-75-of-doctors-have-faced-violence-at-work-study-finds/articleshow/47143806.cms. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 5
Majority of Doctors in India Fear Violence, Says IMA Survey – The Hindu. Available from: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/majority-of-doctors-in-india-fear-violence-says-ima-survey/article19198919.ece. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 6
Doctors Raise Demand for Protection Act in Meeting with Union DGHS | Latest News India – Hindustan Times. Available from: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/doctors-raise-demand-for-protection-act-in-meeting-with-union-dghs-101625682397656.html. [Last accessed on 2022 Aug 15].  Back to cited text no. 7
Dora SS, Batool H, Nishu RI, Hamid P. Workplace violence against doctors in India: A traditional review. Cureus 2020;12:e8706.  Back to cited text no. 8
van Zanten M, Boulet JR, McKinley DW, DeChamplain A, Jobe AC. Assessing the communication and interpersonal skills of graduates of international medical schools as part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS) Exam. Acad Med 2007;82:S65-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
Epstein RM, Hundert EM. Defining and assessing professional competence. JAMA 2002;287:226-35.  Back to cited text no. 10


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