Scientific Evaluation of Various Methods of Medical Practice
Indigenous resources are unexplored. India, possessing the heritage of one of the oldest civilisations, has many old systems of treatment of its own. Indigenous medicines, Ayurveda, Unani, Naturopathy, Yoga and also Homoeopathy, Acupuncture, etc, are yet to undergo extensive research. Many of these resources have been lost and many are on the way out . Here we cannot but refer to the practice in modern China, “Let the ancient serve the present.” Here lies no question of biasness, no question of dogmatic approach, but the question of science on the anvil of which these age-old practices should be evaluated to identify the natural laws in operation in this field. The scientific fruits obtained from the researches should be utilised to alleviate the ailments of mankind. Different indigenous systems of medicine are subject to extensive research and scientific debate worldwide to bring out the essence in them. We firmly believe that a final rational viewpoint will evolve out of this process in future. Instead of fulfilling this urgent task, the government is up to making a patchwork, mechanically pushing the Ayurveda course for instance into Modern Medicine.
Again, it must not mean that this effort is to produce simply low-cost indigenous treatment for the poor strata of people while the upper strata enjoy benefit of modern medicines, as has been expressed in the National Drug Policy 1989.
Crisis of Medical Ethics
Since the inception of human civilisation mankind has staked everything to facilitate the development of medical science not only for freeing humanity from the hands of the hostile forces of nature but also for saving him from the suffering of diseases, pain and epidemics. Can we forget the aspiration of Hippocrates, Charak, Sushruta, Hahnemann, Vessaleus, Pasteur, Jenner, Alexander Fleming, Ronald Ross, Madam Curie, Banting, Robert Koch, Florence Nightingale and all other great personalities? Did the pioneers ever imagine that their inheritors would simply earn money by capitalising upon everything they had acquired through arduous struggle? Many lives had been laid down, many drops of tear shed to build the huge edifice of medical science, which we witness today. Many a death, unsuccessful effort to achieve cure, have been the pillars of the success we witness today We cannot forget for a single moment that it is the disease emaciated, famine stricken starving millions who supply the financial support for those who have had the rare good fortune of getting admitted to the medical colleges.
There seems to be an attempt to curb free thought, to impose instead regimentation of thought and generate blind allegiance to the concept that whatever is being taught and done is right and will achieve people’s health. Questions regarding the curriculum and the health policy of the Government is not only discouraged but often suppressed too. A fascist dispensation is reigning over the entire education sector and in the area of thought and culture. The process of dehumanising the human is in full swing. Do you not hear an echo of the Nazi period: of the attack on Prof. Nikolai, of capitulation by the intellectuals in Germany and the German Chamber of Physicians? Must we not wake up to the clarion call by the ‘White Rose’ led by the young medical students Hans and Sofia Scholl who were hanged by the Nazis in 1943:
“Strike where the crime is at its darkest!
Do not hide your cowardice behind false aristocracy…
The most important task now is fight against this dehumanising system
and each individual has a definite role in trying to destroy it…
Each one is trying to convince himself that he is not responsible but none can deny it.
It is mine, yours and everyone’s crime.”
We do remember that it was this first spark ignited by the ‘White Rose’ that grew into the fire of resistance to fascism from within.
In our battle against the imperialist attack of Globalisation, Liberalisation, Privatisation, we have to realise the pains of Madam Marie Curie when she refused to patent radium. We have to stand with Fredrick Grant Banting in his fight against diabetes when he handed over the patent of insulin to the Canadian Government. We have to walk out with Florence Nightingale against social norms to palpate the people’s sufferings that urged her to create the science and art of Modern Nursing, analysing the importance of sanitary system on people’s health even up to the distant foreign land of India. We have to raise our hands to join the struggle of Dr. Norman Bethune against TB in Canada, against fascism in Spain and imperialist attack in China where he also pioneered blood transfusion and operation theatre in battlefield. We have to dream with Servateus when he was burnt and frozen alive for daring to oppose the subjective Galenian System of Anatomy, which had ruled over seven centuries. Can we afford to overlook the blood and sweat in the spaces between the words and the lines we study? Can we wash our responsibility off just by paying money?
Doctors, nurses, students and all other health workers have to fulfill their due obligation to the society. When in his teens a student steps into the portals of a medical college, his mind subsumed with dreams of saving the ailing humanity. But with days passing the dreams are shattered as stoke up he comes to confront an atmosphere which in the name of ‘reality’ chokes up rather than his noble spirit.
True, medical science meticulously deals with minutest details of human body and curative parts of diseases. But what has led mankind to enter into such technicalities? Is it simply curiosity? Is it just a feat of scholasticism? No . Out of necessity to win against natural adversities and in step with the development of humanism, boundless love for his fellow brothers and sisters who have been nurturing and promoting his being, man has been seeking this direction. Unless all who have a hand in the health care delivery system at all its strata are not imbued with this lofty ideal that the medical profession is the noblest of all professions, pious wishes or recourse rhetorics will be of no avail. These won’t work.
This sense of obligation born of the motherly feeling to treat a patient being almost totally absent, the entire health system is reduced to a pasture ground of those to whom money only matters, and nothing else. To our pain and regret we see doctors engaged in treatment of even minor ailments in nursing homes and so-called research centres in a way as could fetch them money, while diseases of serious nature affecting the poor remain unattended to as the poor cannot pay.