Monday, October 10, 2011

Abraham Verghese: A doctor's touch | Video on TED.com




An inspiring speech about modern medicine. It profoundly addressed the dehumanisation of modern medicine as technology advances. Have you ever wondered what happened to the cold doctor-patient interaction nowadays? Have you ever been in a situation whereby you have waited for 2 hours in a clinic, yet when it is finally your turn, your doctor just look at your wound/injury for a minute while listening to your complains, scribble some notes onto a paper and the consultation ends? It is true that technology advancement had made major contributions to the medical field, and is continuing to do so. This has made many incurable diseases being cured in much shorter, painless and efficient ways. However, this too might have contributed to the "check-box doctors with a heart of stone" syndrome nowadays. Treatments should be patient-centered, catering not only to their physical needs but also their emotional demands.

Doctors are, unarguably, the highly-respected group in the society since the beginning of Medicine until today. However, with so many other new "careers" emerging, it seems that a doctor's role can be easily replaced by others. Doctors "fix" human body with the assistance of computers and high-end machines like CAT scan and MRI. So do an engineer or mechanic, designs and fixes systems in plants with the assistance of computers and machines.  Doctors are involve in on-going researches and studies. They discuss and debate about controversial ethical issues. Doctors also discover cures for some infectious diseases and win awards. However, a bio-medical researcher also deals with human body by constantly working in the lab, repeating the same experiment for thousands of times, collecting and analysing data, and more often than not, discover a cure for a deadly, epidemic infectious diseases, subsequently win the Nobel Prize. Doctors, not so special anymore? With the number of medical schools increasing at such alarming rate (I personally do not think that increment is good), almost any one can be a doctor now, just like any one of other occupations can switch to be a doctor, after training of course. Yet, can every one be a good doctor? No, the key point that differentiate good doctors from all other careers is: Doctors heal needy SOULS, not objects.

"I will always, always, always be there. I will see you through this. I will never abandon you. I will be with you through the end."
-Abraham Verghese

p/s: I can't help being impressed by Bell's teacher and the Sherlock Holmes part. O.O

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