To look into one’s eyes, to lend a listening ear, to be able to talk sweetly, lovingly and reassuringly from the heart, to be able to feel the pain of a person, not just pain, but the conglomerate of feelings packed with emotions of not just your patient but also his loved ones. All these are attributes of a true doctor.
“￼If I go to him, he will cure me!” “The very gaze of that doctor heals me.” “He has a healing touch.”
I’m sure we have come across such statements quite a few times from friends, relatives or well-wishers. Pondering over this, I feel these statements are not just the results of the prescription or the drug. What we struggle and strive with, for 5.5 years or more, is definitely not the sole source that elicits a response like this. Profound mastery of our subjects may empower us to handle the physical frame and even cure it, but to make its master realise the same is in no way less than a Herculean task.
“A good physician treats the disease; a great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”
Apropos to the above statement, I’m in consummate accord with it.
Unfortunately, we spend all our time in medical school in mastering the art of curing the disease. Then what does healing the patient actually mean? A graceful smile, calling him by name, a healing touch, a reassuring pat, few kind words and most importantly “The Connect” with the patient.
The Connect? How does one establish that? Why is it a sudden point of concern?
The likes for a picture posted on Instagram, the comments on a display picture on Facebook, the reactions to the latest WhatsApp story, and even if nothing is there, the urge to check it often. Off late, a plethora of such factors have taken the centre stage in our minds. Meeting people, voicing our heart out to them, patiently listening to someone’s grief, to be able to feel the rush of emotions.
Love, care and compassion are far from being experienced or expressed in realities as we have fallen an easy prey to the social media, smartphones and its mirage which is presumed to be true. All these are holding us at ransom as we blink towards a terrifying tomorrow.
Though the message that is conveyed here is about the professional tomorrow, we are failing miserably on the personal front today. From losing the connect with our parents, to making grave mistakes in understanding people around, we are totally lost.
To look into one’s eyes, to lend a listening ear, to be able to talk sweetly, lovingly and reassuringly from the heart, to be able to feel the pain of a person, not just pain, but the conglomerate of feelings packed with emotions of not just your patient but also his loved ones.
All these are attributes of a true doctor.
I’m sure many stalwarts of the field would be having this basic qualification, which we may have failed to observe.
All these were inherently present so far as people were used to spending time with people and not with the ‘virtual people’.
Beyond doubts, we are being far from pragmatic in trying to derive happiness from gadgets than from people, from chatting than from talking, in trying to be a rapid typist than in trying to be an avid listener.
Too much of anything is good for nothing. It’s high time we realise the harsh reality before it’s too late. It’s more relevant a piece of information to us (medicos) than to anyone else as we are going to spend most of our time with human beings and not with machines or gadgets.
The author, Sai Kameshwar Rao, is final year MBBS student of Stanley Medical College, Chennai.