New kid on the block

What do you do when your tummy’s upset, or fever looks imminent, or cough and cold have just started? I know you are a doctor. Who isn’t nowadays! Have you not been assaulted with the 60 page printout your patient has agonized over before coming to you? OK, back to the point – what do you do… Ignore it and hope things will change No feasting – only fasting till…. Try Granny’s remedy – soft foods, no spices, plenty of water, rest…. Pop whatever pill is on hand – like one of those ‘cins’ for fever … Blame it on the fruit salad you had last night and consult the others who indulged in it ….for vicarious pleasure and remedies of course Consume Aunty’s  Kashayam (decoction)/ORS, since you hate/love the taste… Experiment with the complementary digestive enzyme sampled with the weekly magazine Go on a google search and take it to be gospel truth… So on and so forth. It is known that professional help is sought only after four or more such options are exhausted. Professional help includes all systems of Medicine in practice, including what is also referred to as ‘English medicine’ (by the common man or “aam aadmi”) and depends on availability, accessibility, affordability, acceptance and appropriateness. That’s a breathless list of A’s, with the Modern system scoring lower on some counts compared to ‘alternatives’. The earlier incomplete list before getting professional help is a pointer to the peripheral nature of matters relating to Health/Disease/Medicine in normal human life. As the Buddha exhorted, all human suffering is the result of ignorance. No cause for worry, considering the rush to rectify this ignorance by countless kind souls advertizing and peddling remedies for ailments created for that purpose – a virtual haven for...

Dr Atul Gawande Jul10

Dr Atul Gawande

  5 Most Awesome International Doctors Of Indian Origin,  Tune in every 5 days to see who’s made the Hi-Five list for this month, and who we’ve put to the test. Armed with a resume worthy of a US Presidential candidate (Two Masters from Harvard and a Rhodes Scholarship!), this Indian-American surgeon is the face of change in the medical fraternity. A regular contributor for New Yorker magazine, his essay titled “The Cost Conundrum” made a deep impact on our previously utopian opinion of the American healthcare system. (As it did on President Obama, who handed it to a group of senators and established that “This is what we need to fix”) One can go out on the street and ask people at random to comment on the healthcare system of the USA and easily expect a positive response from 90% of the people, and even some expressions of admiration and awe. America, the birthplace of a great deal of the medical knowledge we possess today (Or as comedian Sacha Baron Cohen commented in his 2012 movie The Dictator – “the birthplace of AIDS”), was brought to its knees by the recent economic crisis. Gawande brings out an example of this in the town of McAllen, Texas (Second highest per-capita healthcare expenditure) and concludes the thought provoking article with an encompassing thought – “Dramatic improvements and savings will take at least a decade. But a choice must be made. Whom do we want in charge of managing the full complexity of medical care?” He is also well known for his books (Complications, Better, and The Checklist Manifesto) which provide an essential insight into developing the soft skills of being a doctor. (Plus frankly, they’re a lot more fun to read than Harrison’s, and have bigger font.) His...

TO BEING DOCTORS-TO-BE Jul06

TO BEING DOCTORS-TO-BE...

“This week we have a young final year Medical Student’s thoughts on life in Medicine – some of you may have read it on his blog. For the rest, here is Mrigank Warrier with…..”   We who were always overachievers. Who missed the dusk of our adolescence solving multiple-choice questions. We who began our adult lives spending alternate days with corpses. Who carry bones in our bags and books that break our backs. Who spend the prime of our youth in the grime of wards. Who have already witnessed a lifetime’s share of deaths. Who learn about depression but fail to recognise it in ourselves. We who have no definite college hours. Who don white coats even in the heat of May. Who are accustomed to the deadweight of stethoscopes around our necks. Who will pursue likely teachers for a lesson even into the night. We who also study law, sociology, psychology, entomology, nutrition, sanitation and statistics. Who are always between exams. Who neglect the pursuit of our other passions. Who sometimes cancel our own vacations. Who covet amphetamines. We who touch people slathered with stools, slime and psoriasis. Who have been sprayed by every infective fluid. Who are protected from a life with HIV by the flimsy rubber of gloves. Who tempt its prolonged death every time we draw blood. Who laugh off our chances of contracting tuberculosis. Who know batchmates who have. We who study for four-and-a-half years but intern as peons. Who graduate after our peers have finished postgraduation. Who are the last to earn first salaries. Whose parents must support us well into our twenties. Whose futures are thwarted by the government every step of the way. We who sacrifice weekends to classes that propel us towards specialisation. Who must...

Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran Jul05

Dr. Vilayanur Ramachandran...

  5 Most Awesome International Doctors Of Indian Origin,  Tune in every 5 days to see who’s made the Hi-Five list for this month, and who we’ve put to the test. He’s the author of some of the most thought-provoking books in the medical world, as well as one of the defining global leaders in cognitive neurology (Along with Oliver Sacks and Narinder Kapur, both of whom have penned fascinating books on the subject.) The thing that separates Ramachandran from the rest is that his books do not merely present answers to a variety of questions, but infect your brain with the questions so that you can discover the answers. He even makes you question your ability to question (Thanks, “Inception” for making it a cliché.) as shown here – “How can a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm imagine angels, contemplate the meaning of infinity, and even question its own place in the cosmos?”   To put it frankly, with the combination of addictiveness and unbounded stimulation, Ramachandran’s ideas are like LSD for the intellectually gifted and medically passionate. (Note: Definitely check out his chapter on synesthesia, your concept of a head-trip will change for good.)  Over the past few decades, his accolades include the Padma Bhushan, Ramon y Cajal prize in Neuroscience, and being named as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world (along with the likes of Noam Chomsky, Al Gore, and Amartya Sen).   His work on the so-called “mirror neurons” as described in his most recent book “The Telltale Brain” is one of the few concepts of modern science that taps into the connection between scientific phenomena and the philosophy of existence. (Watch his TED talk on mirror neurons, and also TED talks by...

On Doctor’s Day- A salute to your inner steel...

  The last two decades, the medical profession has been tested like never before; ever increasing competition in the market place, unrelenting scrutiny by the media and heightened demands of the public. Through it all, the expectations from us have remained the same-uphold the altruistic ideals of the hallowed profession. We are called to be as good as we can be, nay we are called to be more, but are we equal to the challenge? As we look inwards and look to adapt and reinvent, we can’t do better than remember that lion of our profession, in whose memory we celebrate today-the Doctor’s Day. A renaissance man if ever there was one, Dr B.C. Roy was an icon who epitomised all that is good in our profession. Beyond that call, he was a nationalist who went on to excel in public life. This magazine is a salute to your spirit-the spirit of the indomitable doctor; clinician, surgeon, teacher, scientist, missionary- wearing one or more of these hats. Ours is an effort to acknowledge the best among us, cast a curious eye on the versatility around us, explore the domains which enlighten us and creative pursuits which enrich us. While we’re at it, let’s not forget to have fun. Cheers!!  Happy Doctors Day and enjoy the...