Saturday, June 20, 2009

How doctors keep abreast

Recently, I met a senior urologist in the corridors of a hospital. He had performed a surgery on me a few years back. We wished each other. He asked me how I was doing and how my dialysis was going. I said I was dialyzing at home in the night, six nights a week.

He was shocked! He asked me why I 'needed' so much dialysis. I was at a loss for a few seconds. This, from a senior urologist!

I explained that the kidneys worked 24 X 7. Dialysis was trying to replace kidney function. So, obviously, more the better.

Hmmmm. I could see the look on his face. Amused. He asked me if I felt better. I said yes.

It was obvious this doctor had not heard about daily dialysis, about nocturnal dialysis, much less about buttonholes or antegrade cannulation. Though he was a urologist, he was also playing the role of a nephrologist for many patients. Many people did not see any other doctor for their kidney disease.

The advances in medicine totally elude these kind of doctors. They have no clue about what is happening in the world outside their hospitals. They are dedicated to their profession, no doubt. But they are too 'old-world' to keep in touch with the latest by getting onto the internet.

The field of medicine is constantly changing. The internet is possibly the only way doctors can keep abreast. Journals are not a substitute.

4 comments:

Anand said...

Isn't it scary you let him be your surgeon in retrospect?

I often wonder what makes people resist the inevitable clarity that the pursuit of knowledge offers.

On another note, I also wonder why we spend so much time researching trivial things like phones and TVs, yet we do not give the credentials of our doctors equal or more scrutiny -- we simply trust them or our emotional judgment.

I am amazed by the skewed perception of risk in humans.

Rajat said...

I have learnt something in my life..."senior" is NOT equal to "wiser". Just because he is senior does not make him the best. Honestly though, I would not put him down for not knowing about dialysis...urologists have hardly anything to do with renal functioning. They are mainly dealing with the "plumbing" .

You have raised a good point about keeping uptodate. There should be a system of appraisal and revalidation in india ..hopefully it will come one day .

Dr.Hariharan Ramamurthy said...

agree "."senior" is NOT equal to "wiser"."
when i was working as a surgeon in hyderabad in AP govt health I had quite a few "seniors" like this .
at the same time the public is also to blame they want an experienced
and senior docotr and every one wants to flock to them rather than try a new but competent youngster
there were times when i would go to assist one of my seniors and do 90% of the surgery and get paid 10 % of the fee.
also very few peoplw are interested in learning anything beyond their speciality when they cant keep up with what is happening in their own speciality

Kamal Shah said...

Agree entirely Dr. Ramamurthy!