Learning through experience
Chukka Ramaiah: Learning Through Experience, Every experience, be it of joy, sorrow, pleasure or pain, teaches us something new and makes us richer by what we have gained in the form of knowledge.
Every experience, be it of joy, sorrow, pleasure or pain, teaches us something new and makes us richer by what we have gained in the form of knowledge. It is with this philosophy that I see even my recent visits to a few hospitals in Hyderabad seeking relief for my joint pains which were incapacitating me. As the teacher’s ingrained habit of seeking relevance between anything around and possibilities of improving our education system dominates my thoughts even today, I find some points to be shared from my interaction with the doctors and their students or trainees.
Around March this year, when my knees would not let me move, I went to the Andhra Mahila Sabha Durgabai Deshmukh Hospital in Vidya Nagar to undergo some physiotherapy. There were two reasons for going to this hospital, the first being that I am still on their Board of directors and the second reason being that the hospital is quite close to my residence. I have very high regard for the philanthropic couple of the Deshmukhs who donated their wealth as well as time for the nation’s welfare and for women’s education. At a time people think of the self above the nation, remembering the selfless lives of the Deshmukhs and more so about Durgabai, the renowned freedom fighter, a true Gandhian, a woman with a vision for women’s-welfare, fills my heart with humility and gratitude. However, after fifteen days of treatment, the doctors advised me to go for an MRI and that led me to NIMS.
My recent interaction with the doctors in NIMS drives me to express my concerns here. The genesis of NIMS dates back to the year 1961. I have seen it grow from a specialty hospital for orthopedic patients by the Nizam's Charitable Trust to its current status as a full-fledged super specialty hospital for patient care, research and training, under the name of Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, now extending its services through 28 Departments of which 16 are Super and Broad Specialties and others are Supporting Departments.
From NIMS, I knew Prof Ranga Reddy 40 years ago, was well acquainted with many of its past directors and I now know its current director Dr Narendranath too. They are all exemplary in their service- mindedness, diagnostic skills and their vision to provide the best possible medical care to all. Unfortunately, their commitment to work is not being met by the government’s commitment to provide the essential infrastructural facilities. When the institution is offering quality services to the needy for relatively minimal charges, I believe that it becomes the responsibility of the government to provide better infrastructure facilities to the resident doctors , better facilities for in-patients etc. as paucity of funds is hampering their objective to serve the community. It also struck me as a step-motherly attitude, the way permission is granted for the establishment of corporate hospitals in many central locations or in the heart of the city while the NIMS new building is roughly 40 kilometers away. I talk here on behalf of the commoner who has to make a tough choice between spending through his ears by getting treatment from a corporate hospital and undertaking the tedious trips to NIMS which is far away.
NIMS is a teaching hospital with its residential doctors. I happened to see how learning takes place here while the professor and his group of students take their rounds in the wards, study each patient and analyse the case. I was a willing patient, happy to be able to help the future doctors understand what ails me so that they can delve deep into the problem, and hopefully find better remedies through their research! As a teacher, I know the value of learners’ involvement and exposure to real life situations, here… its true case studies and so I felt that the post graduate students are being provided opportunities for learning in the right way. However, I have a suggestion here for consideration and implementation.
Measures to respect the patients’ sensitivities must not be ignored. Transparency in diagnosis, clinical procedures, drug prescription etc. is not as common in India as it is abroad. A video of a medical case, which is taken with the patients’ consent, is used for studies and reviews by experts, not in the presence of the patient but in a special chamber. I wish that prestigious hospitals with colleges attached would adapt this procedure.