Three years in med school and here’s something I have come to realize. Medicine is a vast field. The human body, its different facets, the minute on goings that keep a human up and about is colossal. Different practitioners of medicine have tried different approaches to try and understand the same.
I do not know how, but the thought of an alternative approach to medicine other than allopathic, in my head brings with it complete disregard. I am but a third year med student, yet arrogant enough to believe my practice of medicine is the best.
Over a cup of tea, on a Tuesday morning, I sat down with my version of Morrie, my maternal uncle and he gave me some insight on this. This post is not to prove the effectiveness of a certain branch but rather on how to treat a patient.
This is what he told me.
“What makes doctors assume such lofty opinion about their approach towards health science so much so that they think theirs is the only “scientific” approach and rest of the methods and perspectives are all hoaxes and superstitious. Is it that the theories, the propositions and views held by other approaches are not provable as per the axioms of allopathy ? But that cannot be because converse is as true. Allopathic principles cannot be explained or understood or proved in any language other than its own. This in fact holds true for all science.”
The principles of chemistry cannot be proved in a physics laboratory. Does that mean chemistry is invalid?
So what is to be done? A good scientist, when asked about the origin of life and the existence of God says “I do not know.” That is a decent answer. Tomorrow when a patient walks into my OPD and asks me if I think ayurveda will work for him, my answer should be that I do not know which is in fact true. I cannot tell him what I do not have any knowledge about. Instead of dismissing it because of preconceived notions I may have, I will indeed be doing him a favor by accepting that the question is beyond my field of expertise.
I am required to be knowledgeable about my field and that is a work in progress. While I do that I am learning to keep an open mind. The human body is a magical thing and it can work wonders. All I need to do is have a little faith. I was watching a video the other day and the guy in it said something that stuck with me “An open mind is far more intelligent and wiser than an ignorant one.”
In all honesty sometimes I doubt whether the legitimacy of homeopathy is actually proven and from a scientific viewpoint, it doesn’t work because the medicine is diluted to such an extent that it is impossible to isolate even a molecule of the active ingredient. However it is said that said that homeopathy works though the placebo effect. So from a believers view point, it works!
But does the evidence of it having a scientific basis really matter? The essence of true medicine lies in alleviating the patient’s pain and curing them and if this can be achieved, then as future doctors ourselves we approve.