‘Doctors hardly ever listen to their patients’ - The New Indian Express

‘Doctors hardly ever listen to their patients’

Published: 16th June 2014 07:24 AM

Last Updated: 16th June 2014 07:24 AM

CHENNAI: Science and technology are dominating the field of medicine in today’s day and age, however, the ‘art’ of care giving has disappeared, said Dr V Shanta, Chairperson, Cancer Institute on Saturday.

The doctor was addressing a gathering of students and young doctors at Prove 2014, Cancer Institute’s diamond jubilee academic programme. Stressing on the importance of communicating well with the patients, she said, “Communication skill is lacking among doctors these days and the art of listening to patients has reduced to such an extent that they rarely pay attention to the concerns of the patients.” Talking about how science and technology had actually hit patient care, the doctor added, “Doctors these days are mainly dependent on investigations. Communication, which is extremely vital for knowing more about the patients, is absent. The way you respect and talk to the patient is important. Careful listening to the patients’ history is also vital,” she advised. Emphasising on ethical practices, she also highlighted the phenomenal technological advances in diagnosis and improvisations in treatment, that have immensely contributed to improving cancer care and increasing the life span of the patient.

“We have moved from an era of incurability and fatality to an era of not just curability but prevention. Six decades ago, when the institute was founded, the management of cancer was anybody’s business: village quacks, general practitioners and general surgeons. There were no statistics on cancer incidence, mortality data or follow up. There was no concept of oncology,” she said.

She further said that the dawn of chemotherapy in oncologic management revolutionized concepts in oncologic therapeutic care.

There were also talks by doctors at the Institute on various topics including epidemiology, pediatric oncology, diagnostic approach in oncology and the practice of surgical oncology.

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