The healing touch

When medical practitioners took the original Hippocratic oath, (which may have been modified or completely omitted in the modern day) they swore on certain Gods that they’d strive to keep their ability and judgment intact, keep patients away from harm and injustice and do their work keeping ethics in mind, among other things. Problems and illnesses being unavoidable, visit to the doctors becomes inevitable even if the case be a minor cold or an insect sting. With immaculate white coats and stethoscopes, they are a reality.

The following joke does rounds in my circles — A girl who is feeling a little blue visits a doctor who after having a brief talk with her says she suffers from anxiety neurosis, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and is also at the risk of manic-depressive psychosis. He quotes such sky-high fees for her cure that she starts feeling alright immediately!

Cracks apart, one comes across various types in the field — service-minded, careless, ethical, and mercenary; ones who play God and those for whom there is differentiating line between life and calling. Given such a situation, our family doctor in Mysore would have been Hippocrates’ ideal.

With a powerful healing aura around him, a natural jovial manner and a refreshing sense of humour, he ensured that the patient was 50 per cent cured and already feeling better before being examined. With skillful competent diagnosis, correct advice and the right prescription of medicine, the other 50 per cent of the ailment was taken care of.

The children loved him (I admit to deliberately prancing in the rain so that I’d run a temperature and would be taken to see him!) and the adults had unwavering faith. Crowds thronged his clinic, even though there wasn’t a dearth of general practitioners in the layout. He was adequately righteous and strict when the need arose — those who tried to barge in out of turn were chided and would return to their seats sheepishly. 

Even without a receptionist he’d keep an alert eye on the order in which the patients arrived. As should be the case, people irrespective of economic strata were meted egalitarian treatment. His fee? — A nominal Rs 5.

He made house calls in case the patient was elderly or extremely ill. “His soothing bed-side manner is his greatest USP”, was the unanimously chorused conclusion. A part of the Hippocratic Oath says: “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug”. I do wish all doctors stay true to this like our messiah of healing did.

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