Doctors need to be empathetic

To get fulfilment in life, one has to enrich it with a lot of experiences, engagements and sufferings, and it is important for a doctor to know suffering, said noted cardiologist from Macedonia Sasko Kedev, delivering the inaugural address at the annual conference of the National Interventional Council (NIC) of the Cardiological Society of India (CSI).

Speaking on the philosophical aspects of life, Dr. Kedev, who is a former presidential candidate of his country and also a mountaineer who has climbed Mount Everest, said that while it is important to have wild dreams that will motivate us, there should be a clear governance of thoughts, ideas and fears to succeed in life. Dream and dedication are a powerful combination that would help in success, he said.

However, it is important to remember that the human species is a tiny part of Nature and it is the unbelievable driving force in humans that has put us ahead of all species, he said. “Nothing in nature happens of its own accord. Everything that happens is interconnected”, he added.

The inaugural session was presided over by Dr. Sundeep Mishra, chairman, NIC. Dr. Ashok Seth, president, CSI; Dr. P.K. Deb, president-elect CSI; and Dr. Santanu Guha, general secretary, CSI, spoke on the occasion.

Discussion and live procedures in new trends in interventional cardiology are part of the conference that would conclude on Sunday.

Empathetic doctors have higher cure rate

If you ever get so ill that your life is in the hands of a doctor, make sure you get a doctor who gives the impression of being committed. According to health researchers at the University of Wisconsin, committed doctors are better healers than the highly-strung white-jacketed variety with their eye on the clock the whole time.

In 2009 the researchers published in Family Medicine the results of a study in which they followed 348 patients who were all suffering from a cold. The patients had visited a doctor, and afterwards the researchers measured the patients’ experience of how involved or empathetic their doctor was. The researchers asked the patients whether the doctor had reassured them, let them talk, listened to them, shown empathy, explained well – and of course what the doctor had done to treat the patient’s illness.

Eighty-four patients gave their doctor the maximum score [Perfect score/Perfect CARE]. The remaining 264 doctors didn’t make the grade [Non-perfect score/Sub-perfect CARE].

The doctors with the maximum score turned out to be better healers: their patients had recovered after seven days on average. The patients of the less committed doctors took a day longer to get better. In addition, it seemed that patients of committed doctors were less affected by the symptoms of their viral infection.

The researchers suspect that the immune system plays a key role in the healing capacities of sympathetic doctors. They found more interleukine-8 in the nose of patients with a empathetic doctor than in the nose of patients with a low-score doctor. Interleukine-8 is an inflammatory protein that plays a role in the body’s natural resistance system. It stimulates immune cells to make their way to a location in the body where pathogens are trying to enter.

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