Healing hands, Caring heart!

Dr. Rana Choudhary
(MBBS, DNB, DGO, DFP, DCR, FCPS, FICMCH, FICOG, MNAMS)

Masters in Reproductive Medicine & IVF (UK)

Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Reproductive Medicine (Fertility) Specialist

Certified Personal Counsellor

 “Each of us has a unique part to play in the healing of the world.”

How simple, yet powerful, are the above words by Marianne Williamson in her book ‘The Law of divine’. It correctly explains us the truth; that each of us have to play a part in healing one another, as well as the world, by having a caring and loving heart.

We gynecologist and obstetrician, have been blessed by the Almighty. We have been given the ability to help bring a life into this world. What an amazing and satisfying feeling it is … to see a newborn come to life! As a doctor and clinician, we are able to help the needy, in relieving their pain and suffering. With recent advances in technology, we are now able to help couples struggling with infertility. Fifty years back, who would have imagined that we would develop a technology to create an embryo outside the woman’s womb. With the help of assisted reproductive techniques like IVF and ICSI, we are infact creating lives! We are now able to make babies in laboratories and the whole generation on ice (frozen embryos) is ready to begin its life in our world. What more power can be bestowed upon a human being? We are truly the privileged ones!

Progress in the field of science and technology has enabled and equipped us to perform many of the surgeries using Robots. These machines are more accurate and intricate in their functioning. They will probably do a more precise and skillful surgery, as they are pre-programmed. They don’t suffer from fatigue and human error. Hence the possibility of having a complication is much lesser. We may not be far from the era when doctors could be completely replaced by mechanical robots.

However, in all this developments many of us have forgotten that human touch cannot be replaced by machines. Machines may be able to do a precise job or surgery, but is it truly the machines that we need to bring a patient back to health? Can a machine or a robot examine a patient like we do? The truth remains that technology possesses so less knowledge as compared to a doctor, who in addition to treating his patients is also involved with them in their suffering and journey towards health. The knowledge and exposure that we acquire during our residency and later on in life further enhances our skills. We are often told to have a “healing hand and caring heart” in our approach towards our patients.

Nowadays with stressful lifestyle and competition in the society, we have become mechanical in our dealings and inter-personal relations. We are not talking to the patients as fellow human beings, but are just trying to diagnose and treat them before the other doctor takes away our patient. In this competitive environment we have lost interest and have stopped communicating with our patients. This leads to discontent on both sides, the patient as well as doctors.

When a patient talks rudely with us, we get upset. We believe that we have diagnosed the patient correctly, have given the best medicines and did the surgery perfectly, then why is it that the patient is so ungrateful? Why did this happen? We become bitter by such experiences. Is this happening due to some fault from our side too? Every coin has two sides and both the sides have to be well understood.

Why have we become so emotionless? Or is it that we don’t want to get attached to our patients because we have been betrayed by their nature previously. There are many recent instances of violence on doctors and residents. People burning down the hospitals, nursing homes and hitting the doctors. Where is humanity taking us?

Of course somewhere the patients are also at fault. They have suddenly become rude, arrogant and demanding. Most of the patients come with pre googled diagnosis and question the ability of the doctor in his methods of practice. When was the last time when a patient hasn’t come to you and said: Doctor I have this disease, I looked it upon google. So we also play safe by depending not on proper history taking and examination but more on laboratory investigations for the support of our diagnosis.

We all must have experienced that irritating phenomena when a patient who starts leisurely bargaining after a consult and takes away much of the pleasure of medicine. Patients that blackmail the doctor’s sympathy and compassion: some come in and say they don’t have money (obvious lies, one can make out), some bring recommendations from MLAs and MPs, some walk in with politicos and goons, some say they will get the money from ATM after the consult and then disappear.  Yes, this is one of the reasons that many doctors and hospitals have now started charging before consultation / taking advance fees. However this does not solve the problem!

The truth is that neither the doctor nor the patient is ready to take that extra effort, to take that first step. We are definitely trained enough but maybe we are only trained in treating them as a DISEASE and not as someone who is more than just flesh and bones. Our patients also have feelings. We need to understand that patients are also in tremendous stress. We forgotten the simple things in life. Our patient may be healthy and recover from illness, but for the holistic healing they also need our caring nature. A small gesture of touch, a hug smiles are the little miracles and can make a world of difference between a healthy and a happy patient. That is why I strongly feel that HEALING HANDS AND CARING HEART makes all the difference.

We all need to ask a question to ourselves: what defines a good person? One can definitely be a master in his subject, the best surgeon in his field, but deep inside what matters at the end of the day, when you are alone in your bed, lying silently looking at the roof and pondering about how deeply have you touched people’s life today? How many people will speak well about you, not on your face, but also behind your back? When we stepped into this system and led ourselves come to the fact that we are going to become doctors, we gave our first priority to humanity and selflessness. How can we bring harmony?

It is said, any problem created by the left hand of a man, can also be solved by the right hand. I firmly believe that:

He, who creates darkness, can also be awakened to produce illumination.

He, who spread fear, can also be shaken to spread comfort.

He, who creates a poison, also has a cure.

He, who creates a virus, also has an antidote.

He, who creates chaos, also has the ability to create peace.

He, who speaks hate, also has the ability to transform it to love.

He, who creates misery, also has the ability to destroy it with kindness.

It is for us to understand that it is this COMPASSION that differentiates us from machines and robots. Healing is a holistic phenomenon, which is not only physical but also has a mental and spiritual dimension to it. We can touch people’s life in manners we don’t even realize by just spending a few more minutes with them. We can only uplift ourselves by uplifting others.

Offering care means being a companion, not a superior. It doesn’t matter whether the person we are caring for is experiencing cancer, the flu, dementia or grief. If you are a doctor or surgeon, your expertise and knowledge comes from a superior position. But when our role is to be providers of care, we should be there as equals.

It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know

His own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth

Until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of

Another loving and caring human being.

Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. It is for us to give him adequate empathy along with our technical skills and help them in the healing process. It is rightly said that:

There is no pain killer as effective as love,

No anti-depressant as soothing as cheer,

No defibrillator as powerful as wisdom.

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