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"QUALITY OF LIFE" SHOULD BE A MOTTO WHILE TREATING PATIENTS

OP KAPOOR
Ex. Hon. Physician, Jaslok Hospital and Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, Ex. Hon. Prof. of Medicine, Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, Mumbai 400 008.

I have always been teaching that the research workers have spent more time trying to "prevent" patients from dying. Our Indian patients have a terrific fear of dying - a fear which should be removed from their minds by talking to them. What I have said in the past has now come true after 11th September this year. Nobody can expect "not to die" any day in these modern days of terrorism. More the reason that the doctor should wake up and make each day of life worth living - which means to concentrate on the quality of life, e.g.

1.asthmatic patients should be kept completely free of symptoms day and night with the help of modern inhalers.

2.patients of IHD should remain free of any symptoms of heart pain or heart failure with the help of modern drugs and interventional treatment.

3.all patients should be evaluated and whenever necessary receive a mild dose of anti-depressant or tranquilliser so that they can live happily (mental health) and get good sleep.

4.patients who do not believe in God, should be coaxed to pray regularly so that they do not become dependent on tobacco and alcohol for peace of mind.

5.all patients should be taught to maintain normal weight by spending 1/2 to 1 hour daily (instead of cheating themselves by saying that they have no time) for walking or any other exercise which will keep them physically and mentally fit so that they can enjoy their daily life.

6.as the patients grow older they should be taught to keep a few "spare" parts in the house, viz.

a. Cervical collar to use whenever they get neck pain due to cervical spondylosis.

b. Lumbo sacral belt whenever they get severe backache (after bending suddenly).

c. Thermopad to give some heat therapy to the back, knees, shoulder or elsewhere where they can easily develop a soft tissue ache due to ageing (like in an old model car).

I do not concentrate on preventing death and making the patient miserable by putting too many restrictions and doís and doníts and medication (in view of physical or mental side effects) just to prolong life by a few weeks or a few months!! Remember that you will be doing no good to the patient by doing this, specially in these modern days of uncertainty.


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