A Doctor's Duty in Today's World
Reader's Digest India|July 2020
A Doctor's Duty in Today's World
Compassion, courtesy and information sharing are some of the key attributes of a physician, even in a tech-intensive world
Dr Professor K. Srinath Reddy

‘To cure sometimes, to relieve often and comfort always’ is an aphorism of uncertain attribution by Hippocrates. It has been quoted widely, with variations, since the 15th century. This description of a physician’s mandate is valid even in this era of technology intensive medical care, where pictures of beeping screens, organ scans and ‘miracle’ pills have replaced the kindly doctor everywhere.

Technology supports but cannot substitute a competent and compassionate health-care provider.Good clinical assessment is essential for interpreting a diagnostic-test result or in choosing between treatment options. That is because context matters in analyzing and applying evidence from research to individual patients. Proven treatments may still need consideration for patients who have contraindications or are non-responders. Tests can yield false positive and false negative results. A well-proven mathematical model called Bayes’ Theorem explains that a post-test probability is the product of the test result and pre-test (prior) probability, and not of the test result alone. Clinical acumen comes into play while estimating prior probability


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July 2020