Friday, May 17, 2013

Touching Lives

X ray was discovered by William Roentgen in 1875 but the first recorded medical use was by John Hall Edwards in 1896 when he recorded a needle stuck in the hand of one his associates.  
The first X ray
(Picture courtesy: Wikipedia)
21 years it took for the scientists to realize the actual potential of the x ray. X ray can be said to be the first modern medical technology where the field of medicine broke the traditional concepts of surgery and medicines. X ray offered an unhindered vision into the human body which was not even dreamed of before.  Ever since then modern healthcare acquired a whole new meaning. The use of machines gave a definite diagnosis where only guesswork and assumptions were available previously.
In the present state, modern healthcare makes treatments easily available for the masses. Many instances can be given on how the lives of people have been touched by the new healthcare system.
‘Prevention is better than cure’
We all have said and heard this a thousand times at least. Vaccinations are probably the perfect examples for this. Vaccines may not be considered ‘modern’ but the advent of vaccines is one of the major reasons for the reduced infant mortality rates all over the world. The disease small pox was eliminated from the face of the earth only by vaccination. Dreadful disease polio is also on its way of extinction. Our country is already said to have eliminated polio. This was also done by the systematic vaccination schemes.
Awareness is an important aspect of the modern healthcare. With rising number of hospitals and clinics people have become aware of the diseases and various treatments. Earlier camps and all have to be conducted for the people. It was like going to the people with the medicine but now the population knows when to go to a doctor. I know this personally because I am a practising dentist. Earlier people come to a dentist when they have an unbearable toothache and they just want to extract the tooth but now they visit a dentist as soon as they suspect caries. Awareness of this level among the population has vastly helped to control many diseases. They have succeeded in assuring the constant rise of life expectancy of people in the country.
More and more people now come to a hospital and make use of the modern healthcare facilities because of the faith in the system. Many years back the majority of the people were sceptical of going to a hospital. They did not trust the medicines that were put into the veins. Now they embrace it. Modern facilities have the faith of the people which itself is a great deal while treating a disease.
This faith is mainly because they know there are only a few other fields where so much research takes place. Researches on all aspects of the medical field are taking place all over the world at an astonishing pace. With absolute surety I can tell you the researches taking place in the medical field touch the lives of each and every single person. Years back a block in the heart was a death sentence, now it is just another disease which can be treated surgically. Diabetes was a life shattering disease, now it is a life style changing condition.  Recently a hormone called betatrophin was discovered which could generate beta cells and the daily insulin shots can be stopped.  Dialysis was a rare and risky procedure done on terminal patients, these days many people get it down twice or thrice a week and lead a good life. Cancer was indeed the Emperor of Maladies. With wide spread availability of radiation, chemotherapy and surgical procedures cancer to some extent can be controlled. The results of such meticulous research are that diseases which were considered incurable in the yesteryears are being cured now. AIDS which was deemed as incurable is getting cures from different researches. It was only two months back that an infant was cured of AIDS. The actual drug might take some time to reach the market but it is a start.
 More than the actual procedures it is the latest in diagnostic techniques which can lead to an early detection and hence early treatment.  The different diagnostic techniques are being popularized nowadays for an early detection of the diseases. Oral cancer can be detected from the scrapings from the cheek. The advancements in the chemistry and physics have contributed a lot to the development of various diagnostic techniques.  Diagnostic scans based on nuclear medicine like bone scan and PET scan give a whole new perspective to diagnosis and treatment as they point out problems pertaining to specific locations of our body. These techniques show diseases and conditions of our body like never before. More and more people are opting for a routine health check-up twice a year because they know earlier you start treating better are the results.  
An aspect of modern healthcare which is said to be a downfall is the cost. Some may find the hospital costs exorbitant but in the same page something has to be added. It is that the cost is for the services offered; no other facilities have as much recurring expenses or overheads as healthcare field. The big machines used for diagnosis comes with a price. If a person takes a normal health insurance he or she will find the hospitals very much affordable, with more competitions in the insurance field patient is benefiting  Hospitals only are giving out special schemes for the needy, they just have to utilized.
Modern healthcare as many have perceived is not just the new medicines and big machines.  It is a holistic approach aiming to alleviate the sufferings of the patient and ensure a good standard of living. Modern healthcare uses the best of all proven modalities to treat a patient. It may include music therapy, yoga, meditation etc..  Meditation and yoga has been proven to reduce mental stress and fatigue thereby easing many of the physical problems.  Modern healthcare deviates from the strictly traditional setting and seek new methods to help the patient.  A healthy mind is the key to a healthy body.
Finally the most important of all is that modern healthcare gives hope. It gives hope to the patient and to their loved ones.  It gives hope to the most terminal of all patients that the modern healthcare system is advanced enough to cure them, that there will be some sort of experimental treatment somewhere in the world to cure them. It is all about the faith people have in the healthcare system. So how does modern healthcare touch lives? By giving them hope.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying
Woody Allen 

This post is written as an entry to the Indiblogger contest 'How does modern healthcare touch lives?' in association with Apolo Hospitals .

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

God 2.0 : the Facebook avatar!

 I confess I was a facebook addict. I used to keep going to Facebook every 5 minutes. Update my status, likes, comments, birthday wishes and all that jazz. Then people/organizations start using facebook to spread their propaganda.
If it is on facebook then the youth are supporting it ideology has been there for some time now.  X puts something in facebook.  In a few hours there'll be 11234 likes and X is the hero of Facebook and the new face of the youth of the nation.
For illustrative purpose only. The number of likes is not edited.  
Indeed facebook was an instrument in many movements across the globe but you got to agree something is not so right when so many people something like this.
One day I realized there are more ads than funny updates, more share it if you agree philosophy crap than actual funny stuff, utter stupidities supposedly from Nobel prize winning scientists, requests for i-don't-know-what and-all  and finally the posts from God.  (No I did not mean the pony tailed, blue suit wearing smiling guru; Also not Sachin Tendulkar)

What I was talking about is the supreme, the most humorous, the one and only God himself. Well you gotta admit he is funny.  He let Ajay Devgan make Himmatwala, nobody bombed RGV even though his movies bombed and after proclaiming the autonomy of CBI for such a long time the CBI director only told it was not autonomous. You see what I am getting at right?
Ok I have gone way too much from the topic at hand. The topic is the umpteen number of posts/images/miracles shared over facebook.
They are indeed made by God in his leisure time and posted into the thousands of groups he owns under various fake profiles he created. (Think twice before adding that girl from Sweden who asked you about your sins)
So once he posts his followers (true followers) are meant to share/like and comment it is awesome. God keeps a tab on all those who see the post and not share/like. They will suffer for eternity in hell with a laptop and high speed internet with only facebook and no porn sites. (Please, I am not talking about future India; Devils court of law is much faster than the Honorable Supreme Court)
And so the numerous religious posts appear in my timeline.  I consider all the religious fanatics same because usually they are the ones who knows the least about their religion.
These posts usually start with a miracle that happened last week or last century, followed by its implication in the present age, the humble request to share it your friends and family to spread the word and finally the ignore it if you are heartless, ignore this if you don't care for the baby or don't share and you'll be watching Korean serials for eternity without the subtitles warnings.

Then there are these directions to live posts. They usually contain 3 to 3000 points on how to live according to the holy books of the concerned. They usually contain numerous references to the ghastly modern way of life like wearing jeans, watching tv, reading books, driving cars, drinking coffee, wishing others on their festivals etc. Some of these posts rather blatantly put across that not following those rules (some of them so archaic that deleting would require permission from the archaeology dept.) will ensure you in the eternal fire of hell for eternity.  These people (or God?) making those posts or images are really creative, they put realistic images to go with the matter. What surprises me more is the sheer number of people who share such posts.   If one through their timeline I am sure at place or the other one specific community is being targeted and tortured. There will be accompanying photos to prove their point and the innocent facebookers who see this will share it because they/we speak up against injustice and violence (in facebook, obviously).  High chances are those photos are photoshoped or would be of something totally different. Nobody might not even care what the photo shows, but still we share and like. Probably because deep down we are afraid if God is gonna see the posts we shared and liked on judgment day.  Fear is indeed a strong motivator. The way these propaganda people are posting stuff it is like God has asked them specifically to do a PR stunt on facebook to get to the new generation.
If God wanted us to blindly obey some self appointed preachers or godmen or to literally follow the holy texts he simply wouldn't have given us the free will, consciousness and the important ability to think for ourselves. He would have probably made some drones whose sole purpose of their existence is to worship the creator. It is like making a robot solely to promote the creator; doesn't really make any sense.
We shouldn't let anyone else bully us into feeling guilty for not doing something someone told hundreds or thousands of years back. Scriptures of every religion (except for Scientology perhaps) have been written in another era and it should never be literally interpreted in the present time.
Guilt is what we feel when we know we did something wrong and we all have a well developed mind to know the right from wrong, at least most of us. Use your own consciousness to know right from wrong rather than depending on what someone else told somewhere else sometime back.
It is rather an oxymoron that I'll be promoting this post  on Facebook only and request you my reader to share this or a komado dragon is going to snatch away your your lunch!

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