Not medical ethics, but ethics of medicos

This morning I am driving along St Mary’s Road, near Park Sheraton, shortly to turn left. A Hyundai Verna is stopped at the left side of the road. A woman on a scooter, ahead of me, is turning left, when the Verna swings out without any indication and knocks her and her scooter to the ground.

So far, so normal. If you drive a lot in Chennai, you’ll see this sort of thing at least a couple of times a week.

The driver gets out of the car, I assume to check that she’s OK. Instead, as she’s picking herself up, he’s berating her. For what — turning without honking? I don’t know.

After a half minute of watching, I get out of my car (I can’t move until they stop fighting anyway). The Verna has a “Dr” sticker on the rear windscreen, so I look inside the car to see if it has a passenger. It does — a distinguished-looking white-haired guy coolly smoking a cigarette. I ask him if he is a doctor. He says he is.

Picture that. The doctor’s car knocks a woman to the ground, and he stays in there smoking a cigarette.

I point out that the driver pulled out without any kind of indication, I was watching the whole thing from behind. I ask him to get out of the car and apologise. He gets out, but doesn’t apologise. Another passer-by agrees that it was his driver’s fault entirely, and adds that his driver has no right to shout at a woman like that. The doctor looks on at the scene glassily and does nothing.

I ask him again if he’s really a doctor. “Yes I am. What are you?” he asks belligerently.

I am, among other things, a blogger. So I’m blogging this. I did take his photograph, and his car’s, and suspect it would be rather easy to identify him. But I think there’s no case for the police here — the woman wasn’t hurt, and I think her bike wasn’t damaged either. It’s just that I would not want to go to a doctor who has (as I told him) no respect for human life. The world is full of jerks, but a jerk whose job is to care for other humans is another matter. His patients should be aware of the extent of his concern when his own driver knocked a woman down, and make an informed decision on getting treated by such a man.

So I’m tempted to put his photo, and his car number, up here at least. But at the same time I know the dangers of vigilantism and don’t think it’s the best course of action.

What would you do?

Leave a comment


  1. Anonymous

     /  August 23, 2011

    Please do Identify him and there is an online complaint mechanism at the Traffic Police Website and the police do take action against those who drive rashly when the information is made available to them.
    Well, it wont be the first time a doctor has sat in his vehicle as his driver who causes the accident berates the woman rider. With me it was a psychiatrist no less. I guess drivers do not get free aggression/road rage counselling.
    I know my rights (AND my duties) and I did complain to the police. The psychiatrist got a lecture from the police about hiring aggressive drivers. And for a good measure I did suggest the doctor and the driver undergo some defensive driving training at AASI.

  2. puli

     /  August 23, 2011

    Agree with anon. This can be posted on the Chennai Traffic Police FB page:

  3. Anonymous

     /  August 23, 2011

    Post the pic. At his position he is likely shielded from any vigilantism, though some shame might just get to him

  4. Doctor smoking!? I don’t need to hear anything more. That puppy’s a goner. Probably faked his diploma.

  5. Rahul Siddharthan

     /  August 24, 2011

    All – thanks for the suggestions. I have posted it on the CCTP facebook page. I may post the photo here — still thinking about it. but will wait today to see if I get a response from CCTP.

  6. anonymous

     /  August 25, 2011

    Thanks for posting the photo. I understand and share your misgivings but do think it justified. I wish the law enforcement machinery was more efficient so that such measures were unnecessary. Incidentally, my father, nearing 80, suffered similarly. While waiting to cross a road in Chennai, he was hit by a two-wheeler coming in the opposite direction. (The road was one-way.) My father fell down but thankfully did not suffer any serious injury. When my father remonstrated, the driver replied “Why don’t you watch when crossing the road?” No expression of sympathy, nothing. The driver did not even help my father get up.

    I suffer from epilepsy and on a few occasions have fallen down unconscious on the road. Abroad, which is where I am based, people immediately call for help. On a visit home, I fell down unconscious in Chennai while walking alone. I must have been lying on the road — an extremely busy road at that — for quite some time but no one did anything. It’s just that after the attack passed and I recovered consciousness, I got up and went home.

    It is only when something happens to you personally that you start questioning your own attitudes and the attitudes of people in general. I can’t say I have come to any satisfactory explanation for the callous and cruel attitudes of many (but obviously not all) people in our society.

    I prefer to remain anonymous.

  7. Too many doctors being made in colleges today. Too many. A sample of doctors, today, wouldn’t be unlike a sample of any other category of persons. You’ll find all sorts.

  8. Jai_C

     /  September 17, 2011

    Thanks. I liked the exercise, in this incident, of sifting through the rights and wrongs.

    Leaving out the “Dr.” and the Dr-specific aspects of this rant, leaving out the reference to his smoking habit, leaving out any possible implicit conclusions about wealth (with the Verna and driver) and focusing on and criticizing just his behavior took effort, but was worth it.

    btw I drive every day not too far from the place you mentioned and havent seen anything like this happening anywhere close to “twice a week”. I’ve only seen a couple of fender-bender types in 2 years. I’ve generally found traffic here to be better behaved and less road-ragey than bangalore.


  1. Doctors and drivers « Entertaining Research

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