The primary question is what the thinking of our Government Authority/Health Ministry about Physiotherapists can be considered as experts and whether a physiotherapist could testify as an expert to offer evidences in the eyes of law?
Prefix ‘Dr’ is a professional status symbol, which is used to denote one who treats a patient or illness. Physiotherapists treats disease and Illness. In our Country circumstance People know that if anybody want to treat illness He/She Have to be Doctor(Dr) must. That’s mean if the Physiotherapist want to survive or Practice in Local area he/she need to introduce him as a Doctor(Dr) to the people. Because The villagers or people who living in the outside of city area they Does not have that level of knowledge that Physiotherapist is a Professional, they just know illness is treated by Doctor. Logically here the importance of Using Prefix “Dr” in the name of Physiotherapist become compulsory. Here the patient may be a human or an animal. The mention of name is followed by announcement of the area of operation i.e., veterinary, dental, medical or special classifications like specialists or physical therapist or not.More so mere word if we complain ’Dr’ could not be status symbol but it is a profession, one’s dedication and outcome of results and finally the patient satisfaction which is the status symbol.
On the other hand Academic attainments of higher order i.e., PhD, D.Lit, or D.Sc. has the sanction to use the prefix ‘Dr.’If we go through the history, Use of prefix ‘Dr’ besides high academics started only after Hippocrates. Hippocrates was recognized as physician of high repute, he was known & called as physician and there is no mention in records to address him as Dr. Hippocrates. Subsequently the subject of medicine, dentistry and surgery grew in dirth and stature. The professionals formed their associations and ultimately they resolved to use ‘Dr.’ as a prefix with their names and since then it is being followed as precedence
Here the suffix (Physiotherapist) or (PT) can devote their profession so as not to cause confusion with entity of physician, surgeon or dentist.
Only those who had done PhD and Doctorate in medicine or Surgery and or any other subject (need not be Medicine) are allowed address them as “Dr”. It is by resolution and practice prefix of “Dr” has become symbol of practice status and not by any law. We need to clearly understand the difference between “Doctor” and “Doctorate”. As per oxford dictionary and other standard International Dictionaries the title “Dr” is addressed for “Doctorate” only. It further states that Doctor is “one who treats patient”. As professional who has studied 5 years on Graduate program Physiotherapists are skilled and trained to treat patients.
All stated facts are derived from tested norms hence the study is purely based on scientific established facts. The implementation of the facts in practice is purely a state of the art. Therefore it is a science of art. The law recognizes only the facts. The review of their curriculum will explain that physiotherapy is not based on conjectures and hypothesis.
This issue of prefixing “Dr” and introduce as Doctor came during the period when Dentist where pre fixing “Dr”, similar objection/resistance shown by Medical Professionals. Now we all know Dentists are not objected by medical Practitioners for prefixing “Dr”.
It will be surprising to note that traditional practitioners and rural practitioner with not even studied class 8 or 10 are prefixing “Dr” and Medical practitioners do not object this. Village herbal practitioners do prefix “Dr” which not objected by Medical Practitioners, Where as Physiotherapists study 5 Years Course and they are objected for prefixing “Dr”. We also would like to quote that Alternate Medicine trained person with a course period of one year or more from unknown setup prefixing ‘DR’ and this not objected by Medical professionals.
No a days a huge number of Community Health Care Provider (CHCP) who r just S.S.C Pass using prefix “Dr” , it is also horrible if everyone know that CHCP are only one month Trained on Medicine but they are Giving 25 or More types of drug including Antibiotic. But Physiotherapists who do 5 years Academic program as specialist of this field is objected pre fix ‘DR’ which is a clear injustice.
Beyond this one most interesting part is, Principal post teaching posts in Government College of Physiotherapy (like Professors, Asst Professors, Lecturer) is filled by Medical Practitioners called “Physiatrist” (Physical Medicine Specialists). When they (“Physiatrist”) consider them equal to Physiotherapists in Government institute of Physiotherapy and occupy the post of Physiotherapists which is not objected by State Medical Authorities, Universities and Medical Association, what is wrong in Physiotherapists prefix as “Dr”. Why this dual stand by medical practitioners and Medical Association.
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