Budding docs discuss humanity

For the first time, UCMS hosts an undergraduate national conference to propagate research among students

The moment we broached the topic of medical humanities with Dr Navjeevan Singh who teaches at UCMS, Delhi’s premier medical college in Dilshad Garden, he took out a small slip from his shirt’s pocket which lists Mahatma Gandhi’s Seven Dangers to Human Virtue.

“The fifth danger is -- science without humanity,” he informs. To discuss the meeting point of humanities and medical science, the University College of Medical Sciences hosted a national conference -- Medicon -- recently which was based on the theme of ‘Medical Education and Ethics’ in a bid to promote research at the undergraduate level.

Spanning over four days, the conference which took place for the first time in a Delhi college was organised primarily for the MBBS students countrywide. Even the organising committee comprised of the students who were led by two faculty members who called themselves mere ‘figureheads’, albeit on a humourous note.

The conference which invited more than 300 young participants from more than 50 medical colleges deliberated over various issues including ethical dilemmas in healthcare, shortage of medical practitioners and professionalism in medicine, among other areas.

  There was a highly discussed and appreciated workshop -- Theatre of Oppressed -- presented by Radha Ramaswamy -- through which the budding doctors were explained how a bad news should be broken before patients.

“These are the things which a doctor faces regularly but he is never told these things in the entire span of medical education,” says Dr Rajat Thawani, an intern at the GTB Hospital who is soon to finish his MBBS from UCMS.

While speaking on medical ethics, Thawani said one tends to follow the custom. “We do what we see our seniors practising in the hospital wards. Formally, nobody tells us in the medical college what is the ideal way to deal with patients,” opines Dr Thawani.

By all standards, UCMS was a perfect ground for an unconventional event of this level, as this is the only medical college which runs a full-fledged non-academic group called medical humanities so that the future healers can experience some ‘life’ instead of being trapped in the world of medical science.

The idea of promoting research at the undergraduate level may look daunting because conventionally, it is cataclysmic to the post graduate or PhD scholars but Dr Navjeevan points out that it should be encouraged right at the school level so that an entire generation can be oriented towards research.

“We don’t expect them to come up with ground breaking research but at least they should know the right tools of research. This was attempted through this national conference here,” he said.

And the idea seems to have a trickle-down effect. After having hosted the conference, the students seem to have developed a new outlook for research.

A third professional year student Ahmed Jibran Javed at UCMS now wants to work towards standardising the medical diagnoses so that doctors’ prescriptions become comprehensible to everyone.

Another medico-student Sonal Pruthi wants to develop a mechanism through which the process of conducting medical tests can become simpler. “I want to save my patients from the trouble of being pricked 15 needles in 15 days,” says Pruthi.
Whether these innovations are ground-breaking or not as per Dr  Navjeevan’s standards is a different story, but they are likely to make the lives of fellow patients easier for sure.

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