A touch that mattersJuly 17, 2018
Dr Devi Prasad Shetty
Cardiac surgeon, Chairman and Founder, Narayana Health
It is the human touch that makes the big difference in the service of healthcare. If that comes from a doctor, it may even save a life at times when drugs and technologies fail, and surely bring much better outcome of treatment. Love and compassion for the patient is the best degree that a doctor can possess to lead a successful career, and only that can make him/her different from others in the profession.
As a doctor, one should realize that he/she can’t have the kind of hesitation that others have in starting a conversation with a stranger, the patient.
Remember that we in the profession have agreed to take care of somebody in pain irrespective of what background they belong to and how rich or poor they are.
It is very important to love people. If you have the empathy, half the battle is won. The patients look into your eyes as they are in pain. So, one touch or a word to assure them that you are with them makes a big difference.
I have no problem touching or hugging my patients who look up to me in their moments of pain. There is no hesitation to talk or listen to them either.
I am sure there are many in this profession who believe in giving that human touch, which is becoming as important as drugs and therapy these days.
This is because, as science and technology progress, the element of compassion towards the suffering is becoming scarce with service interfaces becoming largely machine-driven.
Even scientifically, it is proven that a personal touch or a passionate approach in your practice not only benefits the patient’s psychological state, but also his or her overall response to the treatment as well.
As a doctor-entrepreneur, I am all the more gratified as I can touch more minds. As a cardiac surgeon, my reach is, at best, limited to a few thousand patients in my lifetime. But as an entrepreneur, it gets extended to millions across a country where access to better health care is still scarce.
Hence, please love your patients and let the human touch drive your practice, even as the advancing knowledge and technologies enhance your skills.
(As told to C H Unnikrishnan)