Published on: June 29, 2015

“I failed in my practical ‘case-taking’ examination in internal medicine because my heart did not allow me to do the ‘case-taking’ on an 18-year-old boy, who was very sick and whose mother was crying, lamenting the uncertainty and fate. I just sat and listened to them. My professor found my case-taking unsatisfactory and advised me to leave the profession. To this day, I have no regrets for doing so. Now that I have attended the classes on palliative care, I understand that what I did was the right thing, that doctors are supposed to be compassionate and that there are matters beyond physical findings.”

TIMS class“My mother has cancer; she is on remission, getting treatment from a well-known hospital. She has untreated pain. Till today, I had thought that palliative care is only for the elderly, dying people. Now I understand that my mother needs palliative care. Now I have the courage to recommend that for my mother.”

“Today was the first time that I was being taught by a non-medical person, a psychologist. That was a big lesson for me; not only the topic, but the fact that we have a lot to learn from other medical subjects.”

“This was an experience that I never experienced in my last four years of medical education. I hope this will be repeated every year.”

These were some of the responses that we got from the participants of a two-day undergraduate training program that we took up in Travancore Institute of Medical Sciences, near Kollam, on 26 and 27 June, 2015. 120 students, including both final year students and house surgeons participated in the training program.

We thank Dr Nadeem, Head of Community Medicine, and the authorities in the Medical College for making the training possible.

How we wish we had the opportunity and the ability to make this possible in every single one of the 300-odd medical colleges in India!

2 responses to ““Doctors are supposed to be compassionate””

  1. Gowri says:

    As someone from a non-medical background, I am surprised to realize that palliative care isn’t automatically a core part of the medical curriculum in India.

    What is stopping you from incorporating palliative care courses or at least workshops like these in medical colleges?