According to Dr. Panda, information technology will penetrate medical sciences and play a major role in the area of robot-assisted surgery. "In the US, 50 per cent of the general and about 10 per cent of cardiac surgeries are performed with the assistance of robot arms."

Hard work is the only mantra for success in medical profession, said the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Asian Heart Institute ‘Padma Bhushan' Ramakanta Panda.

In an exclusive chat with The Hindu the renowned cardiac surgeon said, “I have worked more than 16 hours a day during my student days and I am still doing it for 365 days a year.”

He pointed out that taking medicine as a study or profession should always be out of choice and not by chance. “Do not join the medical study due to peer or parents pressure. Take it up only if you have the love and passion to serve mankind,” he said.

The profession can never be viewed as a means of money alone, and one should not feel frustrated after seeing their friends who are in other professions making money at a younger age. “Keep the financial returns aside and look at the other returns such as saving somebody's life or restoring someone's eye sight. The satisfaction is more important than monetary gains,” he said.

Adding a word of caution to the budding medicos, Dr. Panda said, “Do not get tempted by the glamour of successful doctors.

They would have put in at least 25 years of hard work and would be still continuing to do so.”

Talking of medical education in the country, the he said that unlike in the western countries, the focus is more on theory than practice. “The more the practical exposure, the better doctor you would be,” he said.

Rural healthcare

The cardiac surgeon is in favour of the enhanced internship of trainees in rural areas and the proposed three-and-a-half year Bachelor of Rural Health Care course. “We need to move to the rural areas where most of the treatment is being done by quacks, and it is the challenge that every budding medical student should look forward to,” he said.

According to Dr. Panda, information technology will penetrate medical sciences and play a major role in the area of robot-assisted surgery. “In the US, 50 per cent of the general and about 10 per cent of cardiac surgeries are performed with the assistance of robot arms.”

According to Founder and Chairman of L.V. Prasad Eye Institute ‘Padma Shri' G.N. Rao, the medical education needs a complete overhaul. The noted ophthalmologist said, “There is no doubt that the best of the minds join the medical profession, but what we churn out is average professionals.” He cited three reasons: Lack of quality and experienced faculty, lack of good infrastructure and faulty education system.

On faulty education system, Dr. Rao said, “We still follow the 50-year-old system of focusing more on theory. Practical exposure is neglected and that is the main reason of frustration among the medical students. Good training and exposure can compensate other complaints such as stipends and financial gains. It is sad that the Medical Council of India is not paying much attention in this regard.”

He pointed out that the country is heading towards a decisive area, where it has to strike a balance between the world class cutting edge technologies on the one hand and reaching the poorest of the poor on the other.

Talking of exceptional and average doctors, Dr. Rao said, “If you have good hands (skills) - you are an average doctor; if you combine your skills with knowledge- you are a good doctor; a combination of skill, knowledge and a kind heart- makes you a excellent doctor; and finally a combination of skill, knowledge, heart and ethics- makes you an exceptional doctor.”Both the eminent doctors were here on an invitation from the CEO of Symbiosys Technologies O. Naresh Kumar, President of Visakhapatnam District Cricket Association P. Vishnu Kumar Raju and Business Manager of Abbott Healthcare Rajesh Kumar Patro to give away certificates of appreciation to the toppers in medical colleges.

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