Modern Healthcare

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Brahman is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva is the destructor is an old version. The newer version is much more interesting and at the same time confusing too. Initiated by forces that are relatives of those responsible for the big bang, life blossoms in the womb. Aided by complicated surgeries, the doctor takes on the role of the creator. The innumerable tiny microscopic yet fatal creatures compete with one another to take on the role of the destructor. But the preservers - antibiotics, pills and intensive care units do their job well. The world becomes a spectator to several years of unending war between the destructors and the preservers. Though the version has changed, the basic principles haven’t. All that takes life has to see an end, and so, either the preserver loses to the destructor or like a valiant solider who refuses to accept defeat in the hands of the opponent, ends the life of the mortal it was preserving till then. Modern healthcare is what we are talking about.


Going by the story of Adam and Eve, we have evolved from the stage where even basic clothing wasn’t considered as a necessity to protect the body. Infact, the blowing winds, the insects hovering around and the touch of potentially poisonous plants was considered healing. If that wasn’t true, God would not have crafted life that way. But alas, a fruit played the spoilsport. Modern scientists would argue that the fruit contained an advanced virus programmed to be capable to altering the way the human mind thinks.  Whatever be that fruit - a trap by God or a master plan by the trouble creators, modern healthcare wouldn’t have found its place in the dictionary, but for that fruit. 

Death created uncertainty in the minds of men and women. A common cold could prove fatal. A plague might consume the soul. And an endemic might wipe out the earth. Clever minds took advantage of the situation. They claimed things to be in their control. The evil spirits that none could see were blamed for all the mishaps. Since none except those knowing black magic could see those ghosts and spirits, the question of their very existence wasn’t determine to the continuation of life. From minor ailments to major diseases, a visit to then then doctor was a must. Lemons, green chillies and neem leaves tried their best to ward off the evil. If they succeed, the doctor is showered with praises and appreciation. If not, the deceased is blamed for his unacceptable deeds in the previous life.

From there, the world moved on. Disasters swept away entire civilisations. Man’s quest for development formed new ones. Epidemics defeated mankind again. But men with even more determination built even better civilisations.

And today, we are in a position where modern healthcare extends life even when it is trembling at the edge. It’s no more the work of black magic and evil wanderers. Nor it is the work of men who tie poor souls with strong ropes and cut open hearts and kidneys with sharp knives; the scream of the destituted souls serving as the perfect background score. It is the work of modern healthcare professionals, dressed in perfect white clothes and a stethoscope who ensure that their patients do not feel even the slightest pain till the last breath. Modern healthcare has indeed become a quintessential part of our lives. How it affected us is the question for discussion now. But before delving into those thoughts, we shall look at some breakthroughs in medical science that changed the way civilisation progressed. We leave out the era of Adam and Eve to start a more serious reflection.

The use of Anesthetics
Imagine yourself being tied to the bed tight enough to prevent even the slightest movement of your hands and legs, metal objects approaching you and making their way into your body to cure you. Sounds terrific, doesn’t it? That was the reality of the past. Doctors of those times knew what to do to cure the disease but not how to get that work done without inflicting pain on the poor patient. With screams and shouts filling the four sided rooms, the picture was nothing less than the historic assault of Caesar by his dear friend Brutus and the conspirators. But things changed with the discovery of anaesthetics. Lives could be saved without inviting the high frequency and high intensity shrieks of disapproval of the procedure. The time that lapses during the intervention of them metal objects passes off as a dream. And a few days later, we move on with our daily routine.

The Stethoscope
There was a story I read in my English textbook as a child. I’m not sure if it is real or just a fictious one to entertain young people. Nor I am in a mood to verify its accuracy for it might disappoint me by removing itself from the breakthroughs of medicine and healthcare

It was the story of a doctor, the usual one who finds himself working all day and taking care of his patients. One fine day, he had to pass a test by God and take a stand of being either a good doctor or a good man who respects the sentiments and feelings of a woman.  A lady came to the doctor and he had to check her heartbeat. It was said in that story that back in those days, there were no stethoscopes and doctors listened to the hart beat of patients by placing their ears close to their chests. I wonder if that patient was the first woman to visit him or the author sacrificed logic. Regardless, moving on with the story, the doctor rolled a piece of cylinder, placed one end of it over the chest and listened to the rhythm of the heart at the other end. If that story was indeed true, the older version of the stethoscope can rightfully be assumed as a major breakthrough as far as human feelings are considered.

Human Genome Project
The word genome sounds great, whether or not one understands what it means. Infact, I myself have only a fair idea of what that means, thanks to the Biology classes at school. The human body is said to be controlled by those sequences of adenine, guanine, thymine and cytosine popularly known as DNA. The task was to identify all such DNA sequences. This information is expected to help diagnose diseases in a much better way. The project started in around 1984 and was declared complete in April 2003. Around two years is what it took to identify the complete ‘us’ from a biological stand point. Hopefully, the information  would revolutionize medicine and human health the way it thought to do so.

Robotic Surgery
Anyone who had watched Robo or Enthiran would definitely be surprised at the way Chitti (the robot ) had saved the life of a mother and her child. While the very thought of the existence of such an intelligent creature, whose heart is nothing more than metal pieces, transistors, connecting wires and bits sounds silly enough, they film did throw light on the way science is progressing. Surgeries are the most complicated things that doctors deal with. The life of a patient is in their hands. Robotic arms help them in making precise incisions. They move all around, even more flexibly than the human hand and also into the smallest spaces available. The robots under the guidance of human doctors save lives. The first robotic surgery dates back to 1985 where a robot PUMA 5560 was used to place a needle for biopsy. The future would see robots playing a dominant role instructed by the doctor; spreading smiles.

Artificial Heart
It was assumed for several centuries that one creation of God which humans cannot imitate was the human body. But that is not so true. We have artificial organs ranging from limbs to hearts. Philosophically, the heart is a collection of emotions and feelings. But from the medical fraternity, it is nothing more than valves, muscles and bio molecules. Replicate them and you get an artificial heart. Though not as capable as the gift from God, the artificial heart can support one for a period of up to 18 months, sufficient to call it an extension of God gifted life. The first human heart transplant was performed in 1967 by Br Christiaan Barnard. In the future, it is likely to become more popular when people wish to spend a few more days with their loved ones.

Now, we move on to the question - ‘How has modern healthcare affected our lives?’. It would be an exaggeration if we claim that Modern Healthcare is pure blessing with no harmful effects. Even Lord Sri Rama whose life we consider as being led near to perfectness has been tainted when he suspected Sita going by the words of some ordinary man. But as with the God, the good exceeds the bad in the case of Modern Healthcare too. We now proceed to the discussion.

Economics and Thoughts
Few people blame modern healthcare saying that it burns a big hole in the pocket. While it is true, the fact that all things come at a price is also equally true. Doctors just like every other common man require a continuous inflow of money for their survival. But the quantum of money involved is very large, so large as to prevent the common man from accessing those services. The poor man has no role to play in the economics of modern healthcare. Money flows from one section of the rich - the ones who spend - to the other - the medical fraternity. But modern healthcare cannot be claimed to be the cause of all inequalities. It just adds on to it. The inequalities give birth to campaigns and social movements. The entropy helps civilisation progress. Had there been no chaos, there would have been no development. So rather than blaming things, let us accept that modern healthcare is playing its role in igniting the minds of young people to think of the society and helping in the progress of the civilisation.

The Rise of Innovation
As life becomes more and more comfortable, we demand even more of that comfort. Modern healthcare has provided immense benefits but people wanted all of those things at the comfort of their homes and with the click of a button. Hence, miniature devices that can report blood pressure, sugar levels and a range of other things have been created. They form a perfect gift for loved ones to show how much we care for them. Long travels and waiting lines are no more an integral part of our lives. With the advent of smartphones, clever innovators developed apps that would take care of the health of the owner of the phone smart enough. They are a perfect companion for a morning walk. They report all that they can without requiring much work from our end. Within years of the advent of Internet, health care related information became available in abundance on the net. With the passage of time, some of the information became out-dated and new information emerged as a substitute. Enthusiastic plagiarists sourced all the information that they could - new, old and out-dated and gave the information a place to stay in their own sites, creating confusion in the minds of people. This fosters even more innovation. Days are not far away when people would be able to connect with expert doctors for a live chat at the click of a button at a premium cost.

Human Relations
Human relations and emotions are the most complicated of all the creations and play of God. Modern Healthcare either directly or indirectly reinforces them and helps them stay longer. Women need not any longer cry in anguish over the dead foetus that could not open its eyes and see the world of colours. Caesarean operations can in most of the cases save the lives of both the mother and the child, bringing a smile on the proud father’s face. The number of deaths during early childhood days due to various infections by which new-borns can be easily affected can also be prevented, thanks to dedicated facilities for children. Family doctors have become popular and they offer expert advice for even the smallest cut on the finger lest the microbes find their way in. Diseases which in the past could invite Lord Yama to take away life within seconds have been put under control. And finally, today’s children have become lucky enough to play with even their great grandparents.

As I write all this, I wonder at what age I would be departing for my heavenly adobe and if would I be leaving with God gifted heart or an artificial one!

This is an entry for 'How does Modern Healthcare touch lives?' contest on IndiBlogger sponsored by Apollo Hospitals. Learn more about Apollo Hospitals here.

5 comments:

mysay.in

wonderful read !! loved the concept of pills and antibiotics being the preserver :) and how humourously you have ended it ... an artificial heart, may be ! :)
Best of Luck for the contest !

Sayantini Bhattacharya

Love your take on this. You're am awesome writer Ranjith. Best of luck for the contest :)

palak

ol d vei best :) gr8 work indeed :)

Debopam Banerjee

A great post... All the best for the contest....

Hair Transplant Clinic UK

Awesome blog post :-) all the best for the contest :-)

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