Doctors Not-So-Happy: ‘Happiness Therapy’ In Delhi Hospital Slammed By Most, Welcomed By Some

The Logical Indian Crew India

January 29th, 2019 / 1:39 PM

Happiness Therapy GTB

Image Credit: India Today

Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain thought that his government’s ‘happiness therapy’ would help patients heal better, recover quickly and also bond more easily with hospital staff. So, on January 17, nurses, doctors and Jain at Guru Tegh Bahadur (GTB) Hospital danced to a Falguni Pathak number to lift the otherwise gloomy environment among patients.

Therapy helps patients cope with stress

The therapy, which is soon to be introduced in all government hospitals in Delhi, will not be available in Emergency wards and ICU, reported The Hindu. Under proper supervision, the therapy will include songs, music, dance, meditation, yoga and laughter.

A release issued by the government said that patients’ mental health is directly affected by various types of diseases like cancer, infections, injuries, developmental disorders, hypertension, diabetes and more. In order to free patients of the mental stress they deal with, several forms of wellness therapies like yoga, inspirational talks, dance and music can be used. This idea is apparently pre-tested and is followed in other countries like Brazil and the US.

The Health Department of GTB Hospital said that they are taking all care possible to ensure that the patients remain safe and participate only if they are willing and able to. They are also developing guidelines to ensure that recuperating patients are not harmed. The initiative has been appreciated by the patients and their attendants.

Doctors in the hospital too have welcomed the move and said that anything that is done for the welfare of patients is a welcome move. “The State Health Department should also look at the welfare of its medical staff too,” they said.

“Unrealistic way to comfort patients”

All doctors, however, did not welcome the move as they think what is more important to be catered to are the problems of infrastructure, manpower, supplies and security that are causing major issues in the city’s healthcare system. They believe that the real way to bring happiness on the campuses was to address those issues that are gradually crippling the system. They further said that that there are shortages of medicines and equipment, and they are also overworked, reported India Today.  

This opposition to the concept is very strong even at GTB hospital, which daily sees the footfall of about 9,000 patients. “It’s is a very unrealistic way to comfort patients and doctors. Doctors are already overburdened. Dancing in wards doesn’t sound good at all. The government should focus more on MRI scanners, ventilators, beds, water coolers, cleanliness and security,” said Dr Anand Kumar Chopra, president of the resident doctors’ association at GTB.

Similar views were shared by Dr Rizul Saini at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital, Dr Manav at DDU Hospital and Dr Sakait Jena at Lok Nayak Hospital.

Dr Sumedh Sandanshiv, president, Federation of resident doctors’ association (FORDA) claimed that the health minister would be asked by doctors to withdraw this initiative in case they have decided to introduce in other hospitals as well. He further said that while light music can help, dancing and playing music cannot possibly help a patient in pain.

Dr Udit Pawar, president of resident doctors’ association at Ambedkar Hospital shared similar views, saying that the initiative in unjustifiable because they may be dancing and singing for a patient who is not in pain, but what about those who are?

He further said what all doctors have to say, that it must ensure that hospitals get more medical equipment. “We do not have any ultrasound facility after 4 pm. It is a basic medical investigation for a treatment to be started. So imagine a patient in pain visiting us after 4 pm. First, he has to get his ultrasound test done from outside, then he has to come back again for treatment. Other advanced facilities like MRI scanners are also not available,” he said.

The Logical Indian take

While music and dance might lift the mood of some patients, what doctors are saying cannot be ignored. In several hospitals, patients lie ill for days because of lack of proper medical facilities. There are cases of medical negligence and of untrained nurses performing botched deliveries. In several hospitals, there is no proper infrastructure. No matter how effective the therapy is, it cannot possibly be more important than taking care of lack of facilities which are adversely affecting the patients and the entire healthcare system as a whole.

Undoubtedly, it is important to ensure that patients suffering from severe diseases are mentally well. The mental health of patients is one of the most important issues to look after, and if this therapy is really helpful, there is no harm in executing it. Also, the fact that patients only participate in the therapy out of willingness, and that it is ensured that they are not harmed in any way, is worth being appreciated. But in the end, if there are no proper facilities to support the hospital and its patients, how much good will the Happiness Therapy be able to do?

It is important that if the therapy is executed, what the doctors are asking for is taken care of too.

Also Read: Rajasthan: Baby’s Head Left Inside Womb During Botched Delivery, Nurses Suspended


Written by : Sumanti Sen

Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi

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