To the common man God does not have three letters; it is two – D and R. Our parents are proud of it, relatives envious of it, friends talk about it, strangers respect it, and we love it. Or do we?
Hippocrates said, “It is more important to know what sort of a person has the disease, than to know what sort of disease a person has.” If this was written in a pathology paper, expect a call from the Dean’s office faster than you can say the whole quote! The 21st century is extremely competitive and you are either up with the times or left behind in the dust. When I mention a Gold Medal to a non-medico he thinks of the Olympics, Asian Games etc. You mention it to a medico, he or she thinks of: topping every internal assessment, writing a flawless theory paper, being the faculty favorite and a perfect practical exam; basically being first in class. Treating patients isn’t a competition like pole-vaulting at the Olympics. It doesn’t matter if you can finish a hemorrhoids surgery in 9.58 seconds. As long as you rid the man of his balloons of misery, it doesn’t matter if you spend a little more time at the table. A majority of medicos fail to put patient care, empathy, good rapport, morals, healing principals, et cetera at the highest echelon. Sadly they are the ones who get usually deemed as the best students. Everyone chases the gold medal/distinction instinctively. The true art of healing is lost due to our competition-driven assessment patterns. You may reason that knowledge and skill are far more important to a physician than pure emotions, since exams assess just these requirements. I completely agree but everything we perceive in the world is directly related to how it was shown to us. The eyes see what the mind knows and our minds were shown that gold medals and mugging up stuff earns you a platform higher than the rest. Hopefully this
article would change that perspective. Medicine and healing is something much
bigger than all of us; it is a calling with a purpose. Whether we are here, in our own interest or not, merit or management, it doesn’t matter. We are here now and it is time we see the bigger picture, beyond exams and ourselves. In the court of law, if you utter a lie under oath its perjury. Then almost every doctor should be charged with perjury of the Hippocratic Oath. It is self-explanatory! Understand the ideals for which it stands and fulfill your purpose. Read cover to cover, not because you have to but because you want to. Everything is an important question. Every human has equal rights to live and just because you didn’t read up about it, is not an excuse to let them die. In addition to this, empathy, good patient communication, relationship building, good morals must be in your inventory. Remember the real gold medal lies within your patients, earn it from them. And if you were wondering why this cheeky title, well, that’s to get you to read the article till the end!
-Aswin Michael Kumar