Musings for a responsible society

Amidst the dark and grey shades increasingly engulfing, invading and piercing deeper and deeper, let me try to enjoy the little smiles, genuine greens, and the gentle breeze. Oh! Creator! If you don't exist, my vain!
All contents in this blog are subjected to copy right and no part of any of the articles may be reproduced in any media without prior written permission

Search This Blog


Hey Doctor! Why are you in a hurry? (Part-II)

I was having a ‘dull’ headache for the past few weeks. People suggested me to reduce my use of laptop and I did that. The head ache coupled with the ‘writer’s block’ is the reason for not writing any blog posts in the month of June. I met a physician and a series of specialists to find out the cause of the headache. The headache is reduced considerably now. But the ordeal with doctors made me think about why and how some of them are frantic to reap as much within their ‘allotted time’. I wrote about this couple of years back also. (Given at the end of this article)

I used to ask my doctor-wife why she spent so much time with each patient. She said, ‘Half of the pains and agonies of patients and the consequent physical disorders can be solved if the doctor patiently listened to them and talked to them’. I found it right as many of her patients showered praises for the time she spent with them in understanding their problem and the way she gave them advice.

Let me mention about one of the specialists I met at Delhi. Because there is no system of ‘attendant’ (as part of the cost-cutting measure) in the internationally rated super-specialty hospital, the specialist himself comes out to call each patient to his chamber. Before I sat on the chair, the doctor asked me the problem. Before I completed two sentences, he asked me to open my mouth. While I opened the mouth, he was checking the sms in his cell phone. He asked me to move my eyes to left, right, up and down. While I was sincerely doing that, he was busy writing my name in the prescription sheet. I thought he will ask me questions like which time of the day or night I get the headache, since when I am having this problem, which part of the head throws up the pain, what is my health history, what is my routine etc. He never asked anything. He didn’t check my BP or pulse.  He said there is no serious problem, but suggested an MRI. He suddenly got up and opened the door for me to get out so that I won’t waste his time asking any questions.

There was a long line of persons for the MRI. Most have booked many days in advance to get a slot. After spending a huge sum, I got the report along with the film and the CD. When I went to show that to the specialist, he didn’t look at the film or CD and concluded that everything is fine by just seeing the brief report.


Doctors’ time is very valuable. At the same time, is it unreasonable for patients to expect the doctor to spend a reasonable time with them in understanding the ailment as perceived by the patient and explain the medical reasons and remedies? After all, he has paid huge consultation fee and also spent money and time for travel to reach the hospital and waited couple of hours to meet the doctor.

Fixing a minimum time for consultation may not be practical. But doctors should not forget the professional ethics and underestimate the service expected from them in this divine profession.

Article posted by me earlier in Cyber Diary is given below.

Hey Doctor! Why are you in a hurry?

  One profession where every millisecond matters is the medical profession. Doctors run against time, saving millions of lives. They can afford only very little sleep, little socializing and leisure. Commitment to work and the pressure from the organization force them to be in their coats for almost 18 hours a day. Society should thank not only them, but also their spouses and children for letting them away from home. But what worries us is that many of these doctors are too much in a hurry, creating anxious and depressing moments for patients and their relatives.
Recently, I read about a bereaved wife who went through an ordeal in a hospital. She was beside her ailing husband for several days. They were a well-educated couple with a fair social standing. Husband was hospitalized with a chest pain. The doctor visited their room just for a minute and never found time to interact with the patient’s wife. Enquiries and doubts from the wife and children got monosyllabic answers. The elderly husband, not fit enough for a surgery, was made to undergo a heart bypass. He suffered a heart attack and died even as the surgery was being performed. The woman believes that her husband would have lived on for many more years, if not for the negligence of a busy doctor.
When at least a smile can give a healing touch, some doctors portray themselves as busy and restless, as if that symbolizes the genius of their rare breed. It is not a very pleasant experience to be in a hospital, either as a patient or as a visitor, even if the hospital is endowed with the most-modern ‘five star’ facilities. All patients and their relatives go through depressing moments because of the pain their loved ones going through, anxiety, financial strain, loneliness and helplessness. They obviously look for empathy, transparency, concern and gentleness from the hospital management, staff and doctors. But, in general, hospitals are perceived as establishments with the sole motive of making money through a concerted effort of various stakeholders – the management, doctors, and pharma, medical, diagnostic and insurance companies. Of course, hospitals do need money to provide quality service. But what upsets patients and their relatives is a sheer lack of transparency and absence of communication on pros and cons of different options.
Doctors don’t have the time to explain. Managements are keen to collect advances before even the patient is admitted. Other staff members are too ill-informed to guide patients or give suggestions. Social workers, counselors or relation experts are either non-existent or perform their roles superficially and mechanically. All these definitely affect the healing process.
It is imperative to train the doctors on professional ethics, emotional intelligence and communication intelligence. It is also necessary to inculcate a change in their mindset and apprise them of the need for empathy in a hospital setting. Doctors should understand that patients and their relatives put their trust only on them and not on the management, staff, diagnostic service providers or counselors. They need to spend more time with patients and their relatives and give that much-needed human touch that is lacking in many hospitals.
 Medical Council of India (the self-regulating body)- Are you hearing? Or, are you waiting for another  statutory regulatory authority to be established?

Views are personal. Share this on Facebook by copying the link in address bar. You can also use the buttons at the end of this post to share it with others. Send your views at sibi5555{gmail} or post your comments below.

                                             © Sibichen K Mathew
Read related articles in Cyber Diary. Click below.

The Great Indian Gall bladder stones Scam
The whimpers from the ventilator
Save your heart: Interview with a Doctor
Another fatal infection in your backyard
Ageing with grace and dignity


A mother who learnt from her teenage daughter

The abuse of a six year old child in a Bangalore School by the gym instructor sent shock waves across the country. Not only the gym instructor, but the security guard and many others were involved in similar incidents in the private school run by a leading group in the business of education.

"He touched my body. But destroyed my soul" Hilal in 'Aleph' said several years later about the abuse she faced as a child. In my review of the above book (read it here)  by Paulo Coelho, I reproduced an extract of a letter received by me from a lady who was abused when she was less than 7 years old! After reading the review my inbox flooded with responses from many who shared their horrendous experiences in their childhood. Paulo Coelho posted my review in his blog and it received similar responses from hundreds of hapless women across the world who live with the trauma. I remembered it again when I heard about how a 6 year old kid was abused by the school gym instructor in Bangalore the other day. Read the letter in the link. 

There is so much written and talked about the abuse of children by individuals. But very less has been discussed about the institutional child abuses. It is worthwhile to mention about two types of abuses on innocent children by institutions: first, about the direct exploitation of children by the institutions and second, about how institutions nurture conditions and circumstances that are favourable for abusers.Please read my article on the Institutional child abuse here

A mother who learnt from her teenage daughter

The other day, I got another comment via email from a mother of a 16 year old daughter after reading my article, 'Stop this harassment: A cry for deschooling India'. I thought it is better to share the contents with all the readers of Cyber Diary (with due permission from the sender). Please read it below and share with me what you think about it by posting a comment or through mail ( sibi5555  (gmail))

"Your article on institutional child abuse has been very thought provoking. At every stage in the child’s schooling there has been an influence of abuse at different levels. Yes like every parent I have also sown the seeds of a good education in my daughter’s mind. But I keep reiterating to her the sociological importance of family. The family is an institution by itself.  We learn how to adjust with elders and children and balance trying situations at home. I would like to share with you certain interesting conversations / arguments / debates we have at home that ultimately culminate to being good humans than being a double graduate from Harvard or Oxford.
Me  to my daughter: “Dear, you are constantly glued to your smart phone all the time.....when will u study?...I cannot tolerate anything below 80%....get it”  
Daughter:  “Enough Amma let me breathe pleazeeeee you wanted me to get a 90% in class X, I procured 92% to make you feel proud of me.....but at what cost Amma? the cost of my growing years... my school screwed up my freedom, my creativity all through only to make a mark on the school’s chart of ‘hall of fame’. 
I patiently listened to her.“At the kindergarten level when I could barely hold my pencil I was forced to write cursive alphabets..then reeling under the pressure of tongue twisting languages...1st 2nd and 3rd confusing. Then comes pre high school on the threshold of high schooling. Then tuitions for maths and science.. all come with conditions.”When she sees my brother’s son who is just 4 years old bending all over the book just to write “CAT” “MAT” “BUT” “CUT” who then cries out load to say,  ‘my fingers pain akka’ daughter feels so bad. While my daughter was a single kid throughout her growing years with no one to play with and with working parents, she took to her books mostly. But today when she sees her little brother writing cursive alphabets and words of which he doesn’t even know the meanings properly, she feels why so much pressure on a four year old. 
When she sees his school diary, it reads “homework in English 3 letter words, homework in Maths – counting, to be completed by Monday”.   Sad but helpless again. Every person right from parents to grandparents pressed into action to cooperate and woo the child into writing and completing his homework with special perks if he does so....To our surprise we saw that the child was brilliant in building blocks, identifying illustrations of different kinds, naming different naval ships and war planes with ease and extremely demonstrative in his behaviour, very articulate – but all of it at home.  Because we have a so called institution which turns a blind eye and a deaf ear towards a child’s creative mind. 
As you rightly said it, my daughter says half the education is wasted if you are not educated mentally.  We need to be educated in our behaviour in our acts not just academically.  She  was very clear that she studied Science in school only to get good marks to get into a good college but she wanted to pursue commerce because it offered less stress compared to those drilling CET and COMED-K exams and vying for medical/engineering seat.She tells me, “Amma let me grow as a person....given a chance I want to do theatre, I want to learn the guitar and parallelly  Iwill study to be a graduate. Let me first understand as to what I want from life and pursue what I like to do. I would like to progress gradually and steadily and persistently in life.’I ponder over what my daughter said. All along the school at all levels focussed only on studies, marks, and percentage. While I agree that an institution is needed to certify these qualifications for a child, the actual qualification is when you have achieved what you desired.Institutions have become very commercial these days. Unlike those days where schooling was equal to life’s grooming for a child in all spheres. We are what we are because of our schooling and upbringing not because of education and a degree alone.  Unfortunately today’s children have lost out on good things in life, lost out on creativity in life, lost out on the actual innocence of a child.She tells me “Amma I don’t want to be on the top of a Company’s chart of successful people. I want to be on the top of the world of individual leaders, want to be an entrepreneur seeking and sowing the seeds of individuality, creativity and harmony”. 
I think as parents we must slowly tune into our child’s likes and accept the way the child is, give her the freedom to think, to speak, to act, to behave with a touch of respect too. Be aware of her surroundings, be alert, be foresighted and support their moves in the right manner.Institutions, schools or colleges and universities may or may not change their way of functioning but as parents we can change and mould our way of thinking and the way we up bring our children.Already due to pressure from all sides, our children are saddled with burdens of all least we must be protective and support them and allow them to breathe so that they grow with pride and add flavour in their lives. 
Deschooling may not be possible in our country, but we must try to work towards good schooling at home for our children by understanding them and allowing them to think independently under our guidance."        Latha                              

I read the above mail and it gave me fresh insights on parenting. Though we would not like to totally surrender the thoughts and conceptions deeply ingrained within us, we need to break the cultural barriers that prevent us from being flexible to accept the views and aspirations of our children. Please share your views on this.

 Views are personal. Share this on Facebook by copying the link in address bar. You can also use the buttons at the end of this post to share it with others. 
                                                  Sibichen K Mathew

Read the following articles on the above topic, in case you missed.

My son! Don't watch the news



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...