Catch me if you can. This is the challenge that the novel coronavirus has thrown at the superheroes of the world. However, Dr. Soham D Bhaduri writes that despite the grim circumstances of the pandemic, this could be the right time for the medical fraternity to take up the cudgels for healthcare reform.
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The preceding few months have seen an unprecedented lionising of doctors and other healthcare personnel as ‘COVID-19 warriors’ leading the global battle against the pandemic. Multiple heartfelt occasions and demonstrations were held for expressing admiration and gratitude towards them. The top political order was mobilised into bringing an anti-violence ordinance with an agility never before witnessed. News portals, earlier surfeited with political bickering and destitute of scientific discussions, became replete with doctors sharing invaluable information for public benefit. Last but not the least, the pandemic has served to exalt the health ministry into a position of consequence it has hardly ever enjoyed before.
Still, many instances have insinuated that such admiration and lionising could be largely situational and fleeting, rather than established and enduring. A perennial lack of trust in the patient-provider relationship has frequently surfaced in the form of healthcare violence even in the midst of the flaring emergency. And subtle expressions of government high-handedness have often managed to breach the semblance of gratitude: from threats of cancelling licences on failure to report to duty, to coming down hard on personnel clamouring against shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).