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Updated: August 27, 2011 12:40 IST

When doctors practised medicine & more

Dr. Susikaran Thangasami
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Illustration: Keshav
The Hindu
Illustration: Keshav

The emphasis was on prevention, patience and simplicity that were in tune with our poor and overpopulated country. Admittedly, things have changed now.

The Madurai Medical College was started in 1954, and 50 of us were admitted in the first batch. Small in number, we were looked after and instructed with care and intimacy. The examinations were strict. At the end of 18 months in I MBBS, about 50 per cent were detained; for, prima facie knowledge was insisted upon.

When we entered the clinical years we were taught the art of taking history, making observations and drawing inferences therefrom. Laboratory investigations were only supportive. At every stage, filtering students in examinations was rigorous.

Our teachers led simple lives and lived in rented houses and bought, if at all, second-hand cars. Our pharmacology professor came on bicycle. Truth and integrity were instilled in our minds. In fact, our professor of medicine, Dr. M. D. Ananthachari, used to say that if we used medical profession for becoming rich we violated our mandate.

The British had just left our country and the characteristic British conservative modest style was practised in life and profession. We used mostly British medical books which taught us both medicine and English.

The expectations from medicine and from the various procedures were modest. The emphasis was on prevention, patience and simplicity that were in tune with our poor and overpopulated country. The profession cured sometimes, but always gave patients comfort and support and they did understand us.

Admittedly, things have changed now. Globalisation has brought in new knowledge. We receive machines and methods from all over the world especially from affluent countries like the U.S. It may be good for a growing country, but the application of such medical practices must be embarked upon circumspectly. A large proportion of our population cannot simply afford all the expensive investigations and treatment modalities. Such indiscriminate offers can be tantalising but also distressing. Selling cows and huts in order to live, often in agony, for a couple of years more does not appear kind and ethical to my mind.

The twin reasons

In our country, people fall sick due to two opposite reasons. The neo-rich due to affluence and the poor due to dearth. Both require to be helped, the first with advice and the second by providing the means of health like cleanliness, safe drinking water and elementary nutritional needs. Sans these basic fundamentals, the bombastic rhetoric about healthcare is absurd.

Time was when patients were really patient. In the 1940s when typhoid struck, students had to lose one academic year, but now the demand is for immediate relief and cure. People's capacity to withstand even minor discomfort is absent, hence the overuse of hospitals and medicines. Further, panic about diseases is spread by the media. What is not realised is that our body itself is a self-repairing machine. Above the many self-contrived measures, our body's innate immunological mechanism saves us from many illnesses. Discipline in seeking health is as vital as in other fields. It is said that by a disciplined way of living, i.e., cleanliness, sensible eating, adequate exercise and rest, one can extend one's lifespan by 14 years.

Seeking medical remedies for all kinds of self-created illnesses is counter-productive. Only the country's economy is kept booming. Trivial self-limiting diseases get elaborately treated. Sometimes, one wonders whether medicines come first and diseases are discovered later!

Earlier, we were selected and educated by the government at public expense and the notion that we were beholden to the public ruled our hearts and minds. Now medical education has been privatised. By hook or by crook admission is obtained and medical degrees are earned. The ethos has changed. The motive to earn back the money spent directs the manoeuvres. The powers that be and the public at large have to be vigilant in the present scenario.

And, finally, a word from Benjamin Franklin: “Nothing is more fatal to health than an over care of it.”

(The writer is a consultant physician, Chennai)

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Wonderful! We have been discussing these things with people around us day in and day out but are hardly able to do anything, except that we try small home medicines for simple ailments like common cold, diarrhea, head ache, acidity and so on. But the fear of the big diseases like cancer is haunting everybody too much these days, because we are seeing cancer from close quarters more often and also because of media. Sometimes we hear of cases where the doctors have commented, 'we could have done something had you come at the beginning', though we do see people who have rushed to the doctors/hospitals and labs on the very first day suffer more pain during the prolonged examination and treatment period, lose lakhs of rupees and finally meet the same end, maybe a bit late! All this has left commoners quite confused. Recently I heard about this woman who just had to adjust her cracked voice often without any other discomfort but later diagnosed with throat cancer!

from:  Sudha Narasimhachar
Posted on: Jul 4, 2011 at 23:23 IST

In the earlier days doctors practised to serve the people. But now without money no medical treatment is possible. I missed a medical seat by 0.2 marks and failed to become a doctor. But capitation seat is not scarce. And money is huge. A medical seat is not available for those who truly want to serve the people and country. Many become doctors with money. And they also make more money. The need for immediate treatment makes a man helpless to arrange for the money required. Will a sense of selflessness and service be tagged back in this profession? this question still needs to be answered.

from:  Priyankka Om Prakash
Posted on: Mar 19, 2011 at 16:20 IST

Kudos to The Hindu for publishing this article. It's an eye opener, in an era when almost everything is for sale, in an environment saturated by capitalistic and selfish mindsets. I read a comment above by a doctor saying what's wrong in a doctor expecting money for time well spent. Well precisely, that's the point the author is trying to highlight - Satisfaction of today's doctors in no longer derived by service, but by money and money alone. Alas, we don't have values imparted in our medical colleges today.

from:  Sagar
Posted on: Mar 9, 2011 at 11:55 IST

I take personal pride in congratulating the respected Senior on his valuable comments. I am an alumini of say things straight Madurai Medical College-'72 batch,sister of Dr.Manimekalai Madhavan ne Nadarajan of the 1956 batch of the same college. The Pvt. Medical College concept is an undigestable concept. Here the people bidding for it are providing scope through demand supply.Undoubtedly there is a strong need of doctors to match the population growth. But the govt.should increase the number of Medical colleges. Worse still is the race for P.G. seats. Full-fledged graduates, staying back at home doing preps for P.G. It should be mandatory to do 2 years job -1 yr. compulsorily in rural to be Conferred the degree itself - to match the present scenario. 'Selling cows and huts' is a pathos heartbreaking and agreed.At the same time I would humbly like to share something ,working with a Corporate hospital.Many a times we receive 20 to 50 age grp. middle class/upper earning/salaried patients. with MI,Stroke,RTAs in whom all the latest technology has saved Lives and therby sustaining the family and economy.Those families would go to doldrums without this bread winner. Insurance for major events will help or better still the Powers ruling the Govt.work up a co-payee system based on indiv.socio economic criteria -balancing between the UK's free system and US insurance for all walk-in emergencies insurance burden. A constitutional amendment is needed to make Health the Right of every individual. Making it a statutary obligation to Provide Safe Drinking water and Sanitation/sewerage etc. As in our country pathetically corruption is the order of the day. Educating the public on its usage and to avoid misusage so that a win-win pattern emerges in our Motherland. Once again I Thank my wonderful senior for the eyeopener and chance to share my dreams for a Healthy India.

from:  Dr.Meenakshi.A.Nadarajan
Posted on: Feb 9, 2011 at 12:09 IST

Anyone here has read 'Doctors' by Eric Segal? I would like to quote a small passage: " ..most of the doctors haven't had a decent night's sleep in a long time and have ruined marriages and lost the opportunity to see their children grow up.. and have completely lost the years between their 20s and 30s, trying to hone skills for the benefit of their fellow men...So if they demand some compensation in the form of money or social status...their demands are not completely without a cause..." Being a doctor in contemporary times, i feel,there is no harm in it if a doctor like any other professional wants to have an economically easy life. I would agree that we have some major lessons to learn from the writer here, especially the anti-pillpopping stance....and need to remind ourselves about the social responsibility we shoulder along with the medical one. But meanwhile an SUV doesnt hurt too much..does it?

from:  Dr.Parul Manhas
Posted on: Feb 7, 2011 at 21:37 IST

The article is worth reading.Being a Marketing Manager in a pharmaceutical company, i am keen in observing the veteran doctors who are fastidious,disciplined, practicing with unflinching commitment and benevolent nature.It is delectable to watch their attire, approach and ambiance in the hospital with certain niceties of dangling frames of Hippocratic oath and eminent scientists. Secondly, palliative treatment rather holistic approach in today's treatment is appalling due to various reasons including lack of enduring the illness with stoicism, coercing the doctors to prescribe superior antibiotics, pain killers, supplementary drug etc. Awareness among the people to invigorate immune system by the medical fraternity & support from the people is imperative to mitigate various illness.

from:  M.S.Mallik Reddy
Posted on: Feb 4, 2011 at 19:16 IST

Excellent article on the field of medicine . Hope to see the present generation doctors would read this, not all but some of them will change for the betterment of mankind.

from:  Ravi Nanduri
Posted on: Feb 4, 2011 at 01:15 IST

I think inside the front cover of an older edition of Hutchison & Hunter's "Clinical methods in Medicine",which I followed during my initial days in medical school, there was a prayer, somewhat like "God save us from a cure that is more painful than the disease" . Earlier people used to call ours,the noblest profession.Now I feel ashamed to hear this word since I feel it has fallen to the standard of the oldest profession. A couple of years back I saw a lady in my village,who had terminal cancer of liver and on the advice of a doctor she was going to his centre for chemotherapy about 100 km away and was spending thousands.

from:  Dr.M.J.Iqbal
Posted on: Feb 3, 2011 at 22:15 IST

While I was in UK I got infected with Chicken Pox, when I consulted doctor he said just take rest and have nice dose of Vitamin-c food and in a week I was cured. I was thinking then, had it been in India what all medicines would I be eating. Similar was the case with a relative of mine when he got infected with Jaundice... I think it is a psychological factor that we all want some medicine to be prescribled to feel all right. A friend of mine who runs medical camps feels that the health problems are mainly caused by Vitamin deficiency, he used to prescribe Vit and Iron suppliment tablets invariably for all.

from:  Aravind
Posted on: Feb 3, 2011 at 10:27 IST

This is the cry of the hour. I think each of us needs to read and react!! Especially the ones who have stepped into this noble profession

from:  Kiruba
Posted on: Feb 3, 2011 at 08:47 IST

A gem of an article from Dr Thangasami. I truly believe that when Doctors read this and reflect on their practice, some but not all might consider / contemplate a change in theirs. Finishing off with Benjamin Franklin's quote was perfect!

from:  Rajasekar Dhanushkodi
Posted on: Feb 3, 2011 at 03:36 IST

I am one of the doctors in UK. I trained in Chennai and it was so refreshing and pleasant to see such an article that captures all that was great about medicine in the bygone years. The author has to be commended for such an article and the paper for publishing it. I initially did not want to comment but felt compelled to do so in the face of one of the recent comments talking about the failure of the authors generation. I do agree with the fact that public need to be educated on illnesses and the ways of prevention, but to squarely blame it on the generation from those years is not entirely right (by the way I graduated only 8 years ago and so not from that generation). The article should serve as a reminder as to how times were and how they are now, lessons to be learnt and not point fingers constantly. We should take it upon ourselves to start educating public. Definitely the doctors nowadays must learn to be more accountable to the public and it works to the benefit of both, in that it keeps the doctors on their toes and the paying public get their due. The sad state of affairs in how money makes doctors and in return they make money has got to change. I guess finding a suitable system to medical school admissions in the first place is a good start rather than indiscriminately increasing the number of seats without the proper facilities and education that students need.

from:  Dr.Pratap Neelakantan
Posted on: Feb 2, 2011 at 22:08 IST

Very well written article. Its important to spend time with the patient and explain to them the disease in simple terms.Patients in turn need to be more patient and try and understand that our body has a self healing mechanism which takes time to act. Physicians need to keep themselves updated about the available forms of treatment and be willing to master them.Technology needs to be used for the right indication at the right time.

from:  Dr.Vivek Abraham Chaly
Posted on: Feb 2, 2011 at 21:26 IST

A great article. Globalisation improved medicine but destroyed health.

from:  Dr.Suresh.S
Posted on: Feb 2, 2011 at 20:39 IST

The Indian healthcare system has become sick. Doctors are illness experts and not healthcare experts. Healthcare needs to learn from the revolution which has occurred in microfinancing. When given money and the freedom to use it as they see fit, even very poor people have come up with remarkably innovative ideas which could never have been planned, designed or anticipated by the traditional experts - bankers! Information Therapy - the right information at the right time for the right person - can be powerful medicine ! Ideally, every clinic , hospital, pharmacy and diagnostic center should have a patient education resource center, where people can find information on their health problem.> HELP - Health Education Library for People Excelsior Business Center, National Insurance Building,Ground Floor, Near Excelsior Cinema, 206, Dr.D.N Road, Mumbai 400001. Tel. No.:65952393/65952394 www.helpforhealth.org

from:  Aniruddha Malpani, Medical Director, HELP - Health Education Library for People
Posted on: Feb 2, 2011 at 10:51 IST

Very nice article. We are still following the sanitation measures started by the British,right after British left we went back to our old ways. Our health care system and political system is a reflection of our own calousness and insensitivity. At one hand we have govt institutions that are antiquated (they just rinse dental forceps in hot water in this Hiv age in gvt dental colleges,)we have private colleges as asset building oppurtunities for every politician.

from:  Sujatha
Posted on: Feb 2, 2011 at 08:42 IST

Present medical situation in India is mainly due to failure of the author's generation; they were the pioneers who could have set a good standard. Two main reasons for failure: 1.they have done very poorly in educating public. 2.they never trained or transferred their experience to their students. They were more interested in their own pride than being approachable for students. Let's just take today's article in The Hindu about manual scavenging ,just for a minute imagine how dangerous it is to be in direct contact with human discharge(hepatitis A,B.typhoid etc etc). You think any of the doctors who read this article think deep about it? My friend a ENT surgeon from Guntur says everytime he sends blood work to lab ,15 %of the time turns out to be Hiv positive. There are 100 thousand deaths in United States every year from medical errors. Can we imagine the number in India where the patient's medical history is his last prescription from previous doctor? Just see our selection process for Doctors,we only take the highest scoring nerds who regurgitate books, who have poor communication skills and make them memorise more books in 5 years. Teaching how to communicate with a patient is not a priority,how often has your doctor talked to you for more than 2 mins? They make you wait in the reception rooms forever(there is a high chance of getting a new disease just waiting)and takes them a minute to scrible the prescription pad. There is no need to be nostalgic about old days /old ways. We have big challenges ahead.I wish the patients expect accountability from their health care profesionals,and strive for higher standards.

from:  Dr.Sreemali Vasantha
Posted on: Feb 2, 2011 at 08:23 IST

Time has come for mankind to return to where he belonged - nature!!! It's time and nature which will heal any wound better than any man-made medicines. It's high time for us to understand that our body has its own power to recover from minor ailments and not to seek medicines for everything and nothing. Shoo away all the commercials on TV. Very well written article.

from:  Surjit Kaladharan
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 17:35 IST

Very nice article... I find it more relevant especially in high mortality rate states of country like M.P.

from:  Arun Sadh
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 15:16 IST

Excellant article.it is unreasonable to accuse doctors alone.It is a social malady.Every section of the society gone thro this moral degenaration. when a cyclone hits a forest it destroys every thing.it does not differentiate between fruit yielding tree or barren tree.
we need leaders like Mahatma Gandhi to lift us out of this rut.

from:  ganesan
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 14:52 IST

How many doctors after their graduation wish to serve in rural areas? I promise, this would be the lowest possible number one can believe. This reflects the way they look at their profession. I am not pin pointing the doctors nor the government, of course, everyone strives for the pursuit of happiness.
I believe, it is the medical institutions which have to work this thing out.They have to tailor their students in such a way that, they embed the art of the profession in them.

from:  Venkat Hariharan
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 14:40 IST

A good article and very good comments from readers.

The benefits of modern medicine can be understood if the financial angle is eliminated for the purpose of argument. People as a whole do require statistically validated evidence based diagnostic tests and treatment protocols. But a patient as an individual needs all the benefits of modern technology in aid of treatment of illnesses, limited only by the availability of financial and healthcare resources.

To match the above needs what we need in more numbers, is the deliverance of healthcare by trained personnel, financed by public (Govt.) and not-for-profit hospitals. I hope the policy makers will patronise, support and subsidise these entities rather than the current situation of depending on corporate hospitals and private nursing homes.

We need
*to promote GP (Gen. Physician) centric healthcare rather specialist
oriented.
*eliminate the concept of IC (Interpretation Charges) and referral money.
*create a regulatory authority on the lines of TRAI as in the telecom sector.

from:  Dr GB Rajan
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 14:06 IST

In Todays scenario for everything people go for a second opinion as the trust is lost.Medical Field instead of being a Service Field has turned out to be any other Money Making Profession.People are scared to go to Doctors.

from:  Gayathri Rangarajan
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 13:41 IST

A wonderful and truthful article.... I find that doctors today are quite commercial in their approach- always looking at how to make money- the manner in which medical reps go out and out in selling their drug- the freebies and free samples they give doctors to persuade them into trying out the drug- the trial is obviously on an unassuming 'real' patient is sickening. I personally am not too fond of pill popping, but when I do I always doubt the notion behind taking a particular drug from a particular store only- makes me wonder how much commission a certain doctor is getting from a certain manufacturer!! I remember how I joked about a free eye test camp in my college- telling my friend how if the voltage is high the machine may just jack up my power a few notches!!! That's what happens when reliance is more on a machine than one own's self of examination and analysis! Enjoyed the article every bit!

from:  Susmita Sripada
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 12:15 IST

Good article by Dr. Thangasami illustrating the differences from that of 1950s and now in the field of Medicine. It clearly says our bodies are self-curable (who have good self-discipline) and rarely needs medical attention. It's very unfortunate that we have imported the corporate culture in this field, which has become one more form of business, which is not a sustainable model for a country like India.

from:  Sravan Kumar
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 11:07 IST

Corporatization of hospitals, with the aim of making profits, is one reason for increased costs to customers. There is also a suspicion in the minds of patients that Doctors serving in big hospitals are asked to send patients for unnecessary tests so that the expensive machines installed in the hospital create returns. Furthermore, due to overcrowding, doctors do not allocate sufficient time to listen to patients. Generally, patients appreciate doctors who who give a patient hearing.

from:  D. Chandramouli
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 08:53 IST

It is so true how times are changing, the perspectives of doctors are also changing and more so of patients. As rightly stated here, in a world where patients don't have patience, even the good hearted medical practitioner finds it hard to cope with the 'instant care' they expect to be delivered. In a money-driven society where almost every household has a person with a 'Dr.' degree certificate, Medical Ethics should have a bit more elaboration in the curriculum to inculcate what is truly expected from the health service providers of the nation.

from:  Dr. Varun Babu
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 08:48 IST

Excellent article!! Truly putting the real Indian doctor's perspective at this acquired pseudo-modern money-motifed medical system.

from:  Dr Kiran Manchikanti
Posted on: Feb 1, 2011 at 03:38 IST

Oppposing the starting of Medical Coleges on Capitation fee basis,Dr.A.Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar had foreseen the transformation of the Practice of Medicine from the noble profession of Healing to a way to make money at the cost of patients! Dr.Thangaswami's article confirms that the great Vice Chancellor of Madras University was right. Health Scare, Real Estate and Financial Services have lost the lustre of Nobility and are today market driven money grabbing operations and not Professions!

from:  Balakrishna Shenoy
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 23:59 IST

I have read with interest the original article and the responses. I refer in particular to the response from Dr.Dr Kamaraj Radhakrishnan about 'commercialisation of medicine is the curse of our country. Keeping the doctor well paid like in UK and having a nationalised health scheme by taking a bit out the politicians cut backs...' The NHS is not funded by these means at all although it is true doctors are reasonably well paid. Funding for the NHS is by general taxation which come in different slabs according to income as well as National Insurance which works out to about 9% of one's income. Medical care is totally free at the point of delivery,its not always efficient but it is not a business venture as it seems to be with a lot of unscrupulous doctors(who hopefully are in a minority) in India.These doctors have no empathy or compassion and somehow think are gods. I saw this personally when I went to India to arrange for my relative's treatment for cancer. By the way I am a product of Madurai Medical College (1974) and have worked in the NHS for 35 years and am still working.

from:  Krish Kumar, UK
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 22:10 IST

Too much of awareness with half baked information on health and treatment is driving people to be curious.This helps the insurance companies and the hospitals to encash.I see many people who aren't doctors but very familiar with the medicines.One of the main reasons is the worry a patient carries and that worries him. Doctors must be a counsellor too for patients.
Kannan M

from:  Kannan M
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 19:16 IST

Those days there were lesser environmental degradation.People were healthy and did the work at home.Agricultural revolution with chemical fertilizers and pesticides have changed the sceanerio and increased the risk factor and health hazard besides bringing in awareness amongst masses on diseases.The main culprit is unbridled Population explosion and still the vicious cycle goes on. Using organic fertilizers need emphasis though it is becoming popular in certain areas near Pune utilising the earthworms and organic leaves and cow dung being populirised by a professor from New College Dr Ismail

from:  A.Padmanabhan
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 06:22 IST

Advances in medicine are always welcome, but commercialisation of medicine is the curse of our country. Keeping the doctor well paid like in UK and having a nationalised health scheme by taking a bit out the politicians cut backs will really help India to attain the type of care that Dr Susikumar Thangasami is talking about.

from:  Dr Kamaraj Radhakrishnan
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 03:35 IST

Every word in this article is true. Present situation in the US is a reflection of things to come in India.
The emphasis on cure as opposed to prevention is prevalent here in the US. Lot of revenue is generated this way. But how beneficial it is to patients and society in general is a big question mark. Only the shareholders and CEOs of big insurance and medical companies benefit from this kind of a model.
Add to that the interference of politicians in India and the bane of reservations.
All in all, the medical profession, as the author pointed out, is becoming a cash cow rather than a noble profession.

from:  Shubh
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 01:53 IST

After reading the article by Dr. Thangasamy I am more convinced that only India can lead the world out of the present mindset of capitalistic, consumeristic lifestly forced on it by Tatas and Birlas of the world. This may be a voice of a chirping bird but it will certainly have its effect on the sound and fury of Capitalistic media one day soon. Thank you Dr. Thangasamy, Thank you Hindu. Keep writing such good articles to keep the conscience of the world alive.
Basheer A. Khan

from:  Dr. Basheer A Khan
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 00:09 IST

very true. Nicely written. This is exactly what people should know about.what is happening to their lives and where are they heading towards. "people" means one and all including homoeopaths and allopaths and all other health related professionals.

from:  Dr.M.Annapurna
Posted on: Jan 31, 2011 at 00:03 IST

It is difficult to deny people the advances in medicine. What is important is for doctors to spell out as clearly as possible the pros and cons of different forms of treatment including the option of no treatment. The decision can and should be left with the well informed patient.

from:  nagak
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 23:16 IST

Dr. Susikaran Thangasamy's comments about emphasis on prevention of ailments and ethical approach to medicine without the sole motive of enriching the practitioner are valid. It is unfortunate that life style in India has changed considerably to mimic the West and the diseases inherent to inactivity and stress have grown along with the change. Therefore, the technology that can detect and treat curable illnesses to prolong longevity should be employed so that our fellow Indians who can afford the treatment modality should benefit. No one can argue against the advice that a balanced approach should prevail in medical practice so that it continues to be cost effective. This lesson must start at the medical school and we need inspirational mentors as medical faculty who practise the principle.

from:  V. Viswanathan
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 22:47 IST

Dr.Susikaran Thangasami reminds some of the good Samaritans in the medical field like Dr.B.Ramamurthy - veteran neurosurgeon to the readers. Gone are those times when doctors used to be thought of as living Gods. Today they are behaving like any other looter by joining with pharma-companies, medical shops, labs and insurance agents to swindle money from all classes of people irrespective of whether rich or poor. One thing which the author forgot to stress is - Not only medical education was public concern, but also there were very limited private hospitals during those times. Any new equipment in medical field was introduced first in Government Hospitals and any new surgical/clinical procedure was done only at GH.Today GH is not a preferred place for such people. There were so many articles on political corruption and looting which were published by our front line media but corruption in private medical institutions and private hospitals seldom get space in media.
Kudos to Dr.Susikaran Thangasami for his munching thoughts comparing old and new medical professionals, for showing a correct path for neo doctors.

from:  Karunakaran
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 21:31 IST

Excellent read. These ideas should be propagated to the new generation also.

from:  Githin Alapatt
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 20:55 IST

Dear Sir,
Very good insight into a medical world. Well every doctor should have a right to choose his way of practicing his profession. Very well understood also is the fact that this profession is incomparable to other ones. My father is like one of you. As a kid I was looking into their hopeful eyes every time they used to come to my house. Today I wish I was into Medicine.
But, on the other hand I see my age Doctors. Pity they have to pile up loads of money to earn a degree. And of course what comes out is not people like you, but money hungry monsters whom I am so scared to go to unlike those who used to come to my house.
What would happen to Education - specially Medical Education with Ministries "Private/Public" or "Minister's money making College/Public" model. I doubt.
Finally a great article. Please if you write next time try to come up with some statistics of Private Colleges and throw some light on Donations.

from:  Gunjan
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 20:49 IST

One of the wonderful articles I have read in the recent past and very valuable. We did read this article admist the presence of family and we felt enlightened and some of the family members realised some of their mistakes too :-)

from:  Balasubramaniyan Krithivasan
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 20:40 IST

You have written an important article. The way we are "advancing" in healthcare we will go like the USA ...into debt! While the USA and China are trying to reform healthcare we are trying to emulate their flawed system.

The best part of the healthcare "industry" is that it is a win-win situation for the health establishment. This results in daylight robbery done in style! For example I know of a patient who had a heart attack. Angioplasty at the cost of Rupees 2 lakhs was done. However the patient died. The relatives thanked the hospital and doctors because "everything was done"! They never realised that it was the procedure that killed him! Even doctors fall into the trap. Recently a doctor died during an unnecessary bypass surgery! Modern medicine also kills people in style! Giving false hopes in terminal cases is another modus operandi. In healthcare "a sucker is born every second"!

Modern medicine is just 100 years old and high technology healthcare just 50 years old. Mankind has survived all these years without these types of health care. The life expectancy has not gone up substantially with these high cost health care. The best improvements in life expectancy has come due to improved sanitation and nutrition.

The ultimate delivery point of health care - the doctors - are either dumb or pretend not to understand the conspiracy due to financial benefits.

from:  Madhu
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 19:34 IST

Very nice article reflecting the truth of the day. When I was a child, a visit to the doctor was comforting and instilled confidence that you would be cured. After traveling to various parts of the world and seeing multiple doctors, I find that, universally, a majority of the doctors do not anymore have the patience to put the patient at ease and listen to them carefully - which is 50% of the cure!

from:  Senthil Ramaswamy
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 18:34 IST

This is because of the collusion of the Pharma Industry and the so called "Laboratories",who fleece the poor and the middle class.

from:  sadasivan
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 16:50 IST

Excellent Article. How true that our modern physicians depend more on instruments for diagnosing a simple fever! Medical expenses are growing day by day. Doctors alone cannot be blamed for this development. Unethical, whether in life or in medical practice,has become common now.

from:  S. RAVICHANDRAN
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 16:47 IST

WOW- How true is this article. Hats Off to this Doctor. I still remember my childhood days wherein we had a professor of Anatomy in Stanley College practicing at his residence. He used to charge just Re.1 to treat any patients and would start will the most simple medications for any disease. He was contactable anytime during the night in case of emergencies and he has come several times also-once to treat me in the middle of the night-all for the same fee. What a humble man he was. Though he is no more we cannot find such doctors now who are good humans first.

from:  Visweshwaran
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 13:00 IST

Thanks Dr. Thangasami for your words of wisdom. It makes 100% sense to me.

from:  Hari Ravikumar
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 10:51 IST

Very true Dr. All your comments on the present is absolutely right. Previously, my Dr., used to listen patiently and judge the illness. Clinical acumen was there as against now-a-days, as aptly put by you, with advanced equipments, the acumen is now shifting to laboratory tests. The root cause, 'Earlier, we were selected and educated by the government at public expense and the notion that we were beholden to the public ruled our hearts and minds. Now medical education has been privatised. By hook or by crook admission is obtained and medical degrees are earned. The ethos has changed.'

from:  Rajan
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 10:41 IST

Excellent article and very timely to remove the misgivings of the current outlook towards health and medicine in India. Such authors could also help in directing the public to certain basic dos and don'ts to remove the anxiety levels (upon any suggestion or incidence resembling a disease) raised by medical insurance companies, corporate hospital sector and the mute media.

from:  S L Narasimhan
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 10:22 IST

Dr. Sasikaran has very rightly described the nature of the medical services and the attitude of the medical practitioners, which were present 5 to 6 decades ago. On the issue of the 'People's capacity to withstand even minor discomfort is absent, hence the overuse of hospitals and medicines.', people are becoming the slaves of the machines. Nobody wants to bear even a bit of pain. This has led to the overuse of medical services. But even then most of our brothers and sisters are not able to afford the same. Furthermore earning more and more money has become the real motive of the people. Basic amenities and lifestyle considerations are not taken care of. So the things are bound to happen. But the things are changing also, e.g. Revival of Yoga is doing things. Now people are more concerned about improving their immunity rather than having medicines. But this is only for a small section of people, who really practice the same. There is a great hope from the govt. of India to educate the masses for a healthier and prosperous India.

from:  Aashish
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 08:17 IST

An Excellent article indeed. I'm currently doing my PhD in France and here people lament often how they lost their traditional way of cure to industrialisation and how they are suffering because of the medicines. Like the Doctor had said, the body is a self-healing machine and the only one that can effectively counter viral infections, yet people rush to the doctors and pharmacies for common cold. Due to competition or for whatever reason, people are hardly seen practicing any physical activities like sports, instead prefer to sit in front of their TVs for all their free time. This in addition to spoiling their children is also spoiling their health. But, if they don't sit, I believe many of the TV channels and consequently some politicians' would be forced to part their properties, which is not in their interest.

from:  Sivasathivel Kandasamy
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 06:10 IST

A pleasant article from a modest doctor. Well informed about the current situation in Indian medical practice. I am currently in UK and find that state takes cares of every health expenditure. India does have reasonable govt hospitals and some of the prominent doctors. However the service offered is not welcomed by people from different walks of life. We cannot blame only the doctors and they are not the only stakeholders. contribution from paramedics, medical workers, general public,civil servants, patients, politicians, pharmaceutical corporates and NGOs is essential. On a positive note India's development in every aspect is not going to go backwards we will march forward with the guidance of Heroes like Dr. Susikaran Thangasami

from:  Bala
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 02:12 IST

Very well put.

from:  Dr. Prabhjot Singh
Posted on: Jan 30, 2011 at 01:38 IST
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