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Table of Contents
LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 666-667

Author's reply to Tuljapurkar et al.


Department of Medical Oncology, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Date of Submission12-Jul-2020
Date of Decision19-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance06-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication19-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Mounika Boppana
102, Sirisha Apartments, Engineers Colony, Yellareddyguda, Hyderabad - 500 073, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/CRST.CRST_241_20

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How to cite this article:
Boppana M. Author's reply to Tuljapurkar et al.. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:666-7

How to cite this URL:
Boppana M. Author's reply to Tuljapurkar et al.. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 22];3:666-7. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2020/3/3/666/295496



Pregnancy can be a memorable experience for a woman who is surrounded by people who understand her unique problems during this crucial time. However, it can become very stressful if the people around are insensitive to the vulnerabilities of pregnant women and expect them to work like others. Every woman has the right to plan childbearing at the appropriate time, before it is too late for her biological clock. The long duration of medical education makes it difficult for many women to plan a child during their postgraduation or specialty training.

I cannot agree more with the authors[1] that several of our female colleagues from the surgical specialties face unique challenges such as several hours of standing when operating, which can be physically very strenuous during pregnancy. After struggling to work like any other member of the team, facing an unsympathetic professor constantly nitpicking at one's work is a challenge in itself. Like a few others,[2],[3] I consider myself fortunate, for the support I received from my colleagues, superiors, and family members during my pregnancy, when I was undergoing training in medical oncology.[4] Not everyone is fortunate to experience such a conducive environment. I have seen some of my close friends at other institutes suffer the apathy of their superiors during pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman is emotionally labile and experiences fear pertaining to the pain during labor, possible perinatal complications, financial implications, logistics of taking care of a neonate, and sometimes fears that she cannot even define. All of this is in addition to the physical discomfort of being pregnant. Against all odds, she commits herself to fulfill her duties with a will of steel. Therefore, any pregnant woman who belongs to a team, whether in the health-care sector or elsewhere, should not be considered a weakness. Mentors need to change their attitude toward pregnant women and should try to be more sympathetic and supportive. The roles and responsibilities of residents during their pregnancy should be temporarily modified by limiting the number of hours of physically demanding duties such as operating and avoiding night shifts or 24-hour emergency room duties. As rightly pointed out by the authors,[1] a provision for breastfeeding and childcare facilities at every institute is also very important to allow for a smooth postnatal transition back to normal work. This ensures that a woman is not forced to stop nursing her child prematurely in order to get back to work.

I remember the nurses at our hospital getting a 6-month long paid maternity leave. They would work until a few days before their expected date of delivery, as they had flexible work timings. The residents do not have these privileges as they are not considered permanent employees of the hospital. This is unfair because pregnancy and maternity are the same for every woman, regardless of their profession. Therefore, the existing policies on maternal benefits should be made more uniform and be extended to medical students in their residency and other such floating populations that do not belong anywhere. I hope for this to happen in the near future with the intervention from the government.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Tuljapurkar V, Nair D. The pregnant physician – An elephant in the room. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:665-6.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
2.
Majumdar S. Pregnancy and motherhood during residency. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:273-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
3.
Jiwnani S. On being a surgeon and a mother. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2019;2:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
4.
Boppana M. Motherhood during medical oncology training: A tough, beautiful, and memorable journey. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:270-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
  [Full text]  




 

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