Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights : the role of medical students.

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Anushree Burade, a fourth year medical student from MSAI India, studying at ESIC Medical College, Bangalore, India. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

I remember being rotated at the Emergency medicine department during my 3rd year of Medical school and came across a female patient in her mid-40s who was admitted to the hospital ward for the chief complaint of having severe pain in her chest. Residents were doing physical examination and were administering a few drugs to her. When they had asked her if she had any previous history of trauma to chest – she hurriedly denied and didn’t speak anything for quite a long time after that.

That long silence and the look of apprehension on her face got me a bit suspicious. I don’t really know why and how did I get that feeling but I immediately had this urge to ask her the question about trauma again. So, I waited for the resident physicians to leave and I return to her for asking about her general health and that question. She admitted that she indeed had a history of trauma to her chest and the mechanism of the injury took me by the horror. She confessed of getting battered by her drunken husband earlier in the day over a petty fight they’ve had. She had multiple bruises on her abdomen, chest, and arms.

Although, the patient had admitted about the domestic violence her husband did to her to the resident doctors later on. But the sheer denial of being a victim of such a horrendous crime, when asked the first time, made me realize how important is it to be vocal against such crimes. Made me realize how us, as a Medical student can play a role in bridging this gap of accelerating women’s rights. 

As a medical student, we become a part of the fraternity of doctors and healthcare personnels. Patients trust us enough to reveal not just their body parts but even the deepest, darkest secrets of their lives hoping that we will be able to fix them in some way. Psychiatrists and Family Medicine physicians often deal with such situations in their life.

But as a medical student, we have this opportunity to be closer to patients and advocate them not just about good approaches to physical and mental health but also to their rights as well. Women, since ages, have been the victim of domestic violence, suppression, all over the world. Myths and taboos related to menstruation and abortion still exist in many parts of the world.

Doctors and physicians certainly work towards the improvement of their patient’s health condition but us, as a medical student can adopt this holistic approach towards health by advocating female patients and their family members as well about their rights. The more we work upon spreading awareness about sensitive issues such right to abortion, the right to access to safe menstrual health, their rights to live a life with dignity and equal opportunities in the personal and professional world, is how we bridge the gap between doctors and patients and society. 

About the author

Anushree Burade is a fourth year medical student from MSAI India, studying at ESIC Medical College, Bangalore, India. She is the current NEO GA for this term of 2020-21. She is passionate about making this world a better place to live – free of racism, discrimination, and inequality by voicing herself in the form of her writings and poems.

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