KARACHI, Nov 9: The field of medicine has taken great strides in the past few decades but the art of practising medicine is deteriorating by the day, said Prof Khawaja Sadiq Hussain on the 46th convocation of the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) held on Friday, also marking the institute’s golden jubilee.
Around 234 fellowships of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS), 54 members of college of physicians and surgeons (MCPS), three MCPS in health professions in education (HPE) and six diplomas of the college of physicians and surgeons (DCPS) were awarded at the convocation.
The Syed Muzaffar Hussan gold medal was awarded to Dr Manzar Bozdar of Pakistan Army, who completed his FCPS in haematology with flying colours.
Speaking as the chief guest, Prof Hussain, who is also the former CPSP president and one of its founders, spoke about the deteriorating doctor-patient relationship.
“With the doctors spending less time listening to their patients while ordering expensive tests right away, the poor people have been forced to turn to alternative medicine, hakeems and quacks,” he said.
“The new generation of doctors has an onerous responsibility on its shoulders to rectify the erosion of the doctor-patient relationship.”
Recalling the time when he graduated from medical college around six decades ago, Prof Hussain said, “When I was a fresh graduate in the 1940s, the doctors used to listen to patients. We could only pick up physical signs by observation and listening to patients.
Taking detailed history and meticulous clinical examination were extremely important.
There were no antibiotics, no steroids, no anxiolytics or antidepressants, no non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, no medicines for cancer or diabetes except insulin.”
“For treatment,” continued the professor, “We had half a dozen mixtures named after the patient's complaints, for example, fever mixture, cough mixture, carminative mixture, and so on.”
However, said Prof Hussain, in those days the patients used to have an unshakable faith in their doctors who were their source of inspiration and encouragement.
The bond between the doctor and the patient used to be special. “When a doctor entered a room there was pin-drop silence,” he said.
The ex-CPSP president said that though there had been an explosion of knowledge and technology in the past 50 years and today there was a vast array of drugs for almost all known diseases, it had cost the profession heavily since clinical judgement, the doctor-patient relationship and even ethics had been lost.
He likened the practice of medicine to a two-wheeled vehicle, saying that the first wheel was the science of medicine while the second wheel was ethics which includes the ways in which doctors communicate and interact with patients.
“It encompasses everything from taking history and clinical examination to tact, sympathy, courtesy, encouragement, morale boosting and hope. To put it simply, just being more humane is entirely patient-oriented. Both the wheels must be equally balanced for the two-wheeler to function. However, the imbalance between both wheels has been increasing over the years.”
Earlier during the convocation ceremony, the CPSP president Prof Zafarullah Chaudhry said that the college started its journey with only two trainees, one in medicine and gynaecology each, but today its greatest challenge was to accommodate the increasing number of trainees. He said that the CPSP planned to resolve this through an e-log system.
“The CPSP would soon constitute a system for on-line examination,” he said. The convocation was also attended by the presidents of the Royal Colleges of Canada, Britain and South Africa, and representative organisations of India, Bangladesh and other Saarc countries.
International delegates from more than 40 countries have also come to participate in different scientific sessions being organised at the CPSP headquarters as part of the three-day golden jubilee celebrations which would begin on Saturday.