The Ebola Fighters – TIME Person of the Year 2014 Dec18

The Ebola Fighters – TIME Person of the Year 2014...

The Ebola Fighters- TIME magazine Person of the Year 2014 As we approach the year end, we look back to recognise and honour the people who have made significant contributions in the past year. TIME magazine has honoured the people at the frontline fighting Ebola across West Africa and other parts of the world where the disease threatens to spread its tentacles. This once again highlights how the disease suddenly overwhelmed the fledgling Healthcare apparatus in the third world and the humanitarian response, both local and worldwide rose to the occasion. The doctors, nurses and support staff who responded have done so at considerable personal risk as noted by the morbidity encountered. The earliest movers at the call of distress included Medecins Sans Frontieres and Samaritan’s Purse whose response helped streamline and augment the local efforts. Nurses and doctors in different countries who dealt with international travellers from West Africa also deserve special mention. Do read TIME magazine’s dedication coverage http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-ebola-fighters/ From India, which has already been grappling with other Public Health disasters recently, a group of Medical Missionaries formed a team to Western Africa. From the order of St Camillus (an order which works exclusively with the marginalised in Healthcare), this group includes a nurse and healthcare workers. No less important is the effort of the scientists working towards isolating the nature of the organism and possible vaccination and therapy. Closer to home, let us also celebrate the numerous doctors, nurses and health workers who rushed to northern India in the wake of the floods. Many of these have repeatedly put their hands up to bring care in distant disaster torn parts of our country and beyond. Recognition of this nature, while encouraging the health workers, is also a wakeup call for all of us- a call to...

What They don’t Teach You in Medical School

There are many, many things they don’t teach you in medical school which are essential to life after medical college. Things like the travails of the stock market; when, where and how much to invest; when to make career moves like shifting to another country. Imagine during internship, there was a two week posting wherein interns could get to know how to work in different countries- the licensing exams, the expected salary structure, the problems and so on. That would be fun. But unfortunately, this article is not about any of that. Its about another matter which is not taught in medical school- communication. Not the communication of findings between doctors but between doctors and their patients. Let me start with a small quiz. Imagine you are in the ICU and as you are leaving for the day, the attenders of patient approach you with the question: How is he? He’s not likely to make it. So your answer is: 1. You can talk to the doctor on duty 2. Please check with the nurse in charge 3. We can’t say anything till the next 24 hours 4. ————— (left blank to signify silence during which you look away and walk past) 5. ————– (left blank to fill in your answers, because I have run out of options) I wonder how many of us can be truthful and say- Its bad; he will die. Is there another way of saying that? Apparently, as one of my friends working in the UK told me, the concerned attender or patient can complain to the NHS about that. So what do we do? I don’t think there is any right answer. Because we are not trained for it. We are trained for recognising signs and symptoms, diagnosing and treating. But not for the talking to patients. Its so much easier to diagnose a cancer as incurable, stage the disease and estimate the five year survival than to tell all this to the concerned patient. As we progress further into the field of medicine, the danger of losing the point of origin becomes all the more real. That point of origin was to help others and to ease their pain. Unfortunately, all of us learn that the hard way. When we grope for words to tell someone he or she has less than five years to live. Communication with patients is not always easy. Patients usually assume that we as doctors can recognise one of them at short notice when we see them outside the hospital. I would like to illustrate this with a small parable. I had gone to deposit money in a bank, close to the hospital I was working in Kerala. Next to the counter, stood a man clad in white lungi and white khadi shirt. He leered at me. I did the best thing- ignored him. He declared’ “Can’t have anything cold.” It sounded like one of those matrimonial ads- Must Love Cats and such stuff. But the chap was definitely talking to me. I did the next best thing- answered him. “Nothing?” “Nothing!” he replied with complete confidence. I had some vague recollection that he had come to the hospital. Fishing for details, I asked’ “What happens?” “Same problem!” “Same?” “Same!” “What about lime juice?” I asked, having absolutely no idea about anything. “Same problem.” I cast a sly look at the cashier. This was probably the most interesting thing he had encountered since they had put him in his cage and told him to count money. He had abandoned all attempts at counting my cash. He had ordered some tea, rolled up his newspaper and was watching the day’s entertainment right in front of him. “What about mango juice?” I ploughed on, determined to go through every single fruit in the plant kingdom and some in the animal kingdom as well until one of us collapsed of...

CuraTED – Inspirational TED Talks For Doctors Nov16

CuraTED – Inspirational TED Talks For Doctors...

There are few things as rewarding to the mind and the soul as a dose of TED talks. Here is our brief list of assorted TED talks on Healthcare from the last few years; by physicians, social activists, strategists and patients. In this set, the first in a series, let us look at the talks that explore the essential humanity in healthcare in different ways. For best results take one HS over the next five days. 1. Be inspired…be very inspired 2. Physician-heal thyself.. 3. Physician thinker and Healthcare strategist, Stefan Larsson on getting out of silos and collaborating more.. 4. Taking control of your health- a way forward in the age of ‘super’ specialised medicine. 5. Reclaiming the sacred relationship- touching...

20 Tips to come out of liquidity crisis...

When you have purchased a new house and settling down with the EMI or say spent a lot of money recently in your marriage, you may face a severe liquidity crisis, unless planned well. This means expenses shooting far higher than your income. Once you start using expensive credit card, home top-up or personal loans, you start getting stuck in a debt trap. So if you are in such a crunch, consider below suggestions. Obtain Low or No Cost Loans 1. Request an interest free loan from your or your spouse’s employer. 2. Take loan against your Gold 3. Use the home loan porting facility & reduce the EMI. You will have to pay a one-time charge of around 0.5% of the outstanding loan to the new bank. Your existing bank may as well allow you to switch to a cheaper rate loan with a similar one-time charge. 4. Withdraw or take a loan from your insurance policies 5. Get a loan from your parents or your spouse’s parents. 6. Borrow money from a close relative or a good old friend at say 10% p.a. This is far cheaper if you are using the credit card to fund your deficit. Reduce the Outflow 1. Extend the home loan from say 20 years to 25 years. 2. Target say 10% cut in your household spend. Announce this in your house. Lead by example. 3. Look at your Top 5 spends. If the discounts are not possible, ask them to give more quantity and or value at the same price. If not, hunt for bargains. Use internet. 4. Defer expenses to next week, next month, next quarter or next year. In a liquidity war, say no to every rupee that wants to go out of your...

That tube around your neck...

The stethoscope has evolved over the years and the origin of the stethoscope and its history is as fascinating as the history of medicine itself. The origin of the stethoscope is credited to Laennec in 1816, who initially devised a cone made of thick paper and used it to hear sounds!! The stethoscope or “steth” as it is popularly referred to has come a long way. The tubing has changed in length and consistency and keeps evolving. The bell and the diaphragm keep changing to improve acoustics. The ViScope can, in addition to hearing sounds can also see the heart beating under vision. For a medical student, the acquisition of the steth marks the transition from theoretical to practical medicine. A doctor is synonymous with a stethoscope and the point of a time when a medical student starts using it is quite a milestone in his medical career. Though, many may not really use a stethoscope for the rest of their careers! Teachers and professors would continue to stress the fact that more important than the stethoscope on the ears is what is undoubtedly between the ears- that is the brain and its ability to make sense of what one hears! The steth is a bit of a status symbol for someone in clinical medicine. It could set you behind by an amount ranging from Rs . 200 to Rs. 20000 and beyond. It really depends whether you are going in for a Nano or a BMW! The way you carry a steth is also a very individual style statement. Most sling it casually around ones’ neck. There are some who bunch it into a very ungainly mass in one’s trouser pocket. I have seen doctors affixing it on to their trouser belt loop...