Stories about doctors

Living with multiple sclerosis

I suffer from multiple sclerosis. I also suffer from a cocktail of other ailments that such abbreviations bring. However you never know what or which. You spend endless hours every week with new symptoms that could fit into other definitions. There is a concoction of medications and an assortment of supplements that promise good health, but is there ever hope? Never. Hope is about knowing that the disease will go away. Hope is for the foolish. Here, there is fighting; there is preparedness; and there is perseverance. I must live as the capacitor that can store every iota of strength for my ...

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My mother survived dengue

I remember dengue fever, which is now spreading like an epidemic, was completely unknown in our part of the world a couple of years ago.  For the past two months we kept hearing about the increasing number of dengue cases in the Punjab province but we never really paid heed to the warnings. I didn’t bother about specific preventive measures since I was never a really a Mospel person in any case. I will never ignore such warnings again in my life as my mother suffered from dengue this Ramazan. My mother had a fever that came and went, when we had ...

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Incompetent healers, uncaring doctors

Ok, I give up. I know I said that doctors care. And they do. At least most of them do. But then there are some who are either too incompetent or too ignorant or just too damn arrogant to admit that they don’t know what the heck is really going on with their patient. I saw a patient yesterday who had seen at least five different doctors in Bahawalpur and Multan in the last two months. After months of looking for answers for his poor health, all he had for a diagnosis was Anaemia (low Haemoglobin.) Someone performed an ...

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I am a doctor, but I don’t work miracles

Much is made these days about how callous doctors have become – how selfish, arrogant and disengaged they are from their patients. They charge exorbitant fees and pay only passing attention to their patients’ conditions. They get rich while the poor patients suffer. All of that is partially true; it describes many doctors I know. In fact, in a general sense, it describes a lot of people I know. So I have concluded two things: 1. I should get to know better people. 2. Doctors are human. And they are a part of the same society we all are. They have the ...

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Are babies worth much in Pakistan?

The news of Pakistan topping the world league of still births creates a sense of indignation. It is yet another sad testament of the country’s health sector. Here in the UK, stillbirths are the highest amongst most developed countries. Although one can apportion some of these causes to placental problems, infections or congenital abnormalities, but there is still a significant number which cannot be explained. Sadly, the UK and Pakistan will address this problem quite differently – perhaps somewhat predictably. In the UK, major investment in research will often follow to investigate the causes of such high mortality rates. This follows its ...

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The young doctors’ movement: What’s all the fuss about?

The criteria for a nation’s progress is often measured in terms of the health service provided by the state. Welfare states spend much of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in maintaining the health of the population. Sadly, in Pakistan the health sector has never been paid much attention. One of the reasons for this is that we were so obsessed with “security” that resources were often not available to invest in hospitals. This has resulted in much frustration in the doctor’s community, especially young doctors who have to toil hard to maintain a white collar standard of living. What happened in 2008 In ...

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Doctors have to eat too

As a medical student, I have witnessed the doctor verus government tussle from the get go. Firstly,  let me clarify that this is not a protest – this is a breaking point. Doctors have been protesting for years and the government paid little, if any, attention. The facts leading up to this month’s events are actually understandable to anybody who has been to a hospital ward. Serving humanity or bank accounts? The first question in a medical student’s life is where he will work after MBBS. This is no joke. An estimated 1,500 doctors leave Pakistan every year to work abroad. This year ...

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Are doctors there for patients, or money?

The recent uproar regarding the issue of increasing doctor’s salaries saw the Young Doctor’s Association (YDA) take to the streets and boycott hospital wards. The strike lasted over two weeks and finally came to an end on Monday, when YDA officers were called in for a meeting with Health Secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad and accepted the latter’s ‘word’ to speak to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on their behalf and raise salaries by July this year. It is no secret that doctors in Pakistan are woefully underpaid at every level. Many would grant the YDA’s appeal for an increase in salary as ...

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A moral argument for abortion

Abortion. An eight lettered word that can ruin any well-heeled kitty party or friends’ night out. I should know, since I have successfully brought conversations to a screeching halt (or the opposite) on both occasions. I often wonder what it is about that word which awakens the morality brigade. Those arguing against abortion often claim “It’s a living thing!” blithely ignoring my scathing looks of disbelief. Science and logic seem to take a back seat in this argument. How about some facts to back up emotion? The power is hers I’m pro-choice, in case there was any doubt. If there is anything in life ...

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Traditional remedies: Old is not always gold

Cainophobia is the irrational or exaggerated fear of newness. If our nation had a national disease, this would most likely be it because we seem to be carrying the maxim “old is gold” to unnatural heights. Most Pakistanis have an undue fondness for traditions and cultural practices – practices that are often detrimental to them. Our obsession with rasm-o-rivaaj keeps us from relinquishing old ideas and replacing them with new and better ones.Doctors banging their heads against a wall, attempting to convince their patients to let go of their cherished (and altogether fallacious) beliefs on healthcare. The thanda-garam myth There is a widespread ...

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