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Driffi's Blog

How i look at life

Month

August 2010

The patient; an item on the conveyer belt or a human with emotions?

There is a small story described in the 7th edition of oxford handbook of clinical medicine of a man who cut his hand and went round to his neighbor for help. This neighbor happened to be a doctor but it was not the doctor but his 3 year old daughter who opened the door. Seeing that he was hurt and bleeding, she took him in, pressed her handkerchief over his wound, and reinclined him, feet up in the nearest chair. She stroked his head and patted his hand and told him about her marigolds and then about her frogs and, after sometime was starting to tell him about her father when her father eventually appeared. He quickly turned the neighbor into a patient, and then into a bleeding biohazard and then dispatched him to casualty for suturing. (The neighbor had no idea what this was) he waited 3 hours in casualty, had 2 desultory stitches, and 1 interview with a medical student who suggested a tetanus vaccination. He returned to his doctor next door a few days later praising his young carer (the doctor’s daughter) but not the doctor (who had turned him into a patient), nor the hospital (who had turned him into an item on a conveyer belt) nor the student who turned him into a question mark.

The question is why is this story being shared here ? Well, My life as a medical student initially and then as a doctor now has always been so contradicting. During our studies our textbooks teach us to talk to patients, to relate with their tragedies and console them, to make them laugh and to feel the pain with which they are dealing with. Sometimes there are patients who are undergoing chemotherapy for some very severe forms of cancer and both the patient and his family need counseling and some sort of emotional support which ideally has to be provided by the medical practitioner.  But in the real run or in the real life we really don’t get the right time for it. There are times when we really want to talk to a specific patient but there’s one patient just admitted in the ward and another one just on a stretcher waiting to get a bed, then there’s a call from the Intensive Care Unit or the Emergency Department where a patient is undergoing resuscitation and then there are deadlines to meet and presentations to be carried out, and amidst all of this hassle the talking session with the patient somehow just goes in the background!

I still remember my clinical rotation in the psychiatry ward and I remember talking to the patients. These were people who did not need medicines. They just needed a shoulder to cry on, a person to listen to them. Some had lost their families in some terrible accident, some had suffered other disasters in their lives and all they were looking for was some company, someone to listen to them!

I remember how our senior doctors or consultants used to urge us to talk to them but somehow when we actually entered the hospitals for our housejob and when we were actually hands on the patients we realized that out of all of the seniors and the consultants who taught us to talk to patients were never seen talking to the patients themselves for more than ten fifteen minutes, listening to their laments was a question very farther!.Many chapters of the medical ethics are long forgotten before we hardly step out of the residency programmes.

 Maybe a doctor is supposed to be brave and have less feelings; one may think at one point of their live but then again there are haunting feelings when I look up to a patient suffering immensely from an emotional loss and I cannot stop imagining how my own life would have been if God Forbid I were to be in his or her boots and how much I would have wanted to talk to someone. Somehow in medicine emotions diminish somewhere across the corner and one stops realizing that emotional losses can be sometimes even more worse than physical ones though we still keep on living the usual life in the usual emotionless practical form; a form more socially acceptable probably.

The child who dies everyday in the war of terrorism

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It was a picture of great pain, melancholy and disaster as the little child lay there aimlessly and motionlessly on the grass, waiting for something but … for what?

The twinkle in his eyes was slowly fading, the winds rushed harshly and cruelly blowing the hair over his face, but his hand didn’t have the energy to tuck them back in place. The skies above him were graying into an unusual figure as if opening out their arms to embrace the soul of the youth. Yes, he was waiting for the rays of death to come and preach his soul. The pain and agony was very hard to bear and feel. A large area around him was covered with red fluid flowing out of his body, showing us the fate of this boy but what had he done? What was he punished for?

Maybe his only fault was that he was born in a state where war was the destiny of every one. Maybe his fault was that in spite of all the pressures, he had set off to go to school in the morning, not knowing that he would be hit by a rocket bomber. He was a little boy; hardly eight or nine years of age, filled with joy and laughter, filled with ambitions and desires in his life! I had seen him once and had asked him about his dreams and ambitions and he had said ” i will become a pilot and then i will teach a lesson to these fighter planes” . Now his wishes would never be fulfilled! Being a child he probably couldn’t understand the fact that he was living in a place where the allies considered this retched war sacred. Was this sacred? Was the death of this little child sacred?!

Children are the angels of God, didn’t the bomber for once think about that. There were so many other people around who were killed too with this bomb. What was their fault? Just that they belonged to a different religion? Just that they loved their land and despite all the war around them they didn’t want to leave their beloved land? Don’t the people who throw rocket bombers have children of their own? Can’t they just for once feel the pain and agony in the eyes of the parents of these innocent children who die every day?

 

The child’s breath was getting slower and slower, his lips trembling, either of fear or of hatred I do not know, maybe of both!. No one was there to rescue him or console him. Near him laid on the ground a few burnt books from his bag absorbing blood from his body, books, which read out the Kalma, and books which said that all Muslims were brothers and that it was a big sin to hurt any other human being either by words or by actions. I tried to see through the expression in his eyes just to make out what he must be thinking at that moment. His soul must have been wondering that maybe the books were wrong or that he had done a mistake for which he was punished? He would never get the answer!

His family was crying quietly in their broken house, as they knew what would happen to him within a few minutes. What will happen of his mother, his young and innocent brother and sister now? Who will protect them now from the sharp clutches of the evils who are responsible for the sorrowful condition of the youth. They had killed his father too the same way. Will his brother have to bear the same pain? Will he go through the same agony? Will he have to do the same struggle his father and brother had to do? Would he ever be able to go to school? Will these people ever succeed in getting some happiness in their lives?. People who give long speeches on terrorism where are they now. How come this doesn’t seem terrorism to them. How could they be so self centered!

Then suddenly the winds increased in their intensity, the skies absorbed the redness of his blood in their color and the angel of death with all his darkness proceeded towards the earth where the young youth lay motionless waiting for him to come and protrude out his last breaths from his body. The angel approached him, gently pulled out his soul and started his journey back to the sky, but this time not alone, instead the youth’s soul accompanied him quietly!

Everything was over now. The skies turned to normal again. The blood of the youth had been dried out in the grassy grounds and his books. His eyes had lost all the last gleams in them. His lips had stopped trembling now and were turning pale and blue.

His face was completely blank. One couldn’t distinguish his frown from his smile. Was he at peace now or was he still going through another pain?  Another agony? Did he reach his destination now or was he still in a never ending journey?

   

Will his body be granted a grave or will it have to rot here like all the other bodies, until his bones protrude out and the flesh is completely gone?, leaving behind only the skull and bones which will too vanish into the residue as time passes onwards. His father and his ancestors were killed in the same way. Their bodies too were deprived of a grave; they too were inclined to rot where they lay.

Will the family of this little child and all the other people around them suffer like this forever? Will these people ever succeed in living a normal life…the kind of life we all are living? Will they ever be able to get some education or some peace while living on their own land? How much more will people suffer in places like Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kashmir? How many more people will die because of the suicide bombers? how many more catastrophes like the 9/11 will take place and is there an end to all of this misery?

It is so easy to just come on the television; make long speeches about terrorism but is someone actually trying to do something about it? How many more groups like Alqaeda will take over the mask of a peaceful religion like Islam; defame it and all the other muslims by killing innocent people? Islam has not taught this. It is something they have come up with themselves. How many more people will become victims of the war of terrorism going on? I do not know if there is actually an answer to any of these questions, maybe no one knows!

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