Throwback Thursday

Interview by: Utkarsh Agrawal, Manan Chawda

Design by: Bhavya Jain, Saanya Chhabra

1. What was your view of doctors as a child, as an MBBS student and now as a Hand Surgeon? 

As a child, my only exposure to doctors was at the hospital and in the movies to the character of a doctor. It was very stereotypical and not awe-inspiring. The television did change that perspective later in my life when the service-oriented characters influenced me to dream of becoming one.

As an MBBS student, most doctors who were our teachers at my alma mater, Bangalore medical college, were larger-than-life personas in each department. Many were legendary teachers and accomplished physicians/surgeons. Attending their classes itself was a remarkable experience each time. Even the postgraduate students who taught us there were inspiring, as the best of the merit students in the state were admitted to this college. 
As a hand surgeon and at this point of my life where I have personally experienced a paradigm shift in the perception of doctors, and the generational shift in the last two decades of medical students, I am at crossroads in my thoughts as to how the next generation of the medical profession will provide services to the society. There is a strong hope that they will excel with a new outlook or go haywire with technology, corporate culture and tough competition taking its toll on the next gen of medical graduates. 

2 . What is your advice for an MBBS student scared of the future regarding competition and endless degrees?

Since we chose this medical profession, we need to do justice to it. Our patience and our threshold measure success in life 
a. Hard work pays, but smartness also matters
b. Be consistent in your work at all stages of your life. Do the ordinary things extraordinarily to set an example to future generations in this competitive world.
c. Ethics in practice never goes out of style 
d. Finally, be honest with yourself and your patients. The rest will be taken care of, including fame, money, degrees, or competition.

3. What was a moment in your career when you felt all your hard work was rewarded?

There are many such moments. 
a. When I passed my 9th Sem exam: this was always the toughest exam to pass compared to even PG entrance /exit exams. 
b, When my patients bless me in OPD with folded hands
c. When I received the Excellence in teaching award at KMC, Manipal
d. When my textbook was released: Students provided positive feedback and some of them attributed their gold medals to the book.

4. How do you battle everyday stress today, and how did you do it in your UG days?

Ideally, there is little stress when you enjoy your work. However, we do not live in an ideal world. The day-to-day stress is overcome by talking it out and discussing possible solutions with my team at the hospital or with my family at times. Most resolve in this manner. Maybe some stress is required to push yourself further in a positive direction.
During my UG days, the only stress was from exams or assignments. However, that stress was never substantial to lose sleep. Being a day scholar and at home and my bunch of friends to support, the stress element was not so much of a trouble. The lack of mobile phones was a boon in retrospection. 

5. What is your view on The UG Curriculum being or not being at par with the current technological advancement and modern-day practices? 

The new CBME curriculum is old wine in a new bottle. The approach of a student and teacher to the core subject has stayed the same. However, the curriculum can never keep up with the technology and modern-day practices, as the core knowledge to be taught itself is so vast. 

A smart student attending the clinical postings will be able to pick up those practices not provided by textbooks or even teachers if they get involved in the actual workflow at the hospital. The internship is one period where a student should use the opportunity to learn and grasp the present-day practice before they step into the real world of medical practice.  

6. Along with being a highly accomplished surgeon and an educator, how do you take time for yourself and follow your interests outside of medicine?

If you are passionate about something, you will make time for it. I am passionate about cooking, travelling, keeping myself healthy and reading. I am very much into the art and science of cooking, including food photography. The process of cooking is a stress buster for me after a hectic OT day or OPD. I express my love for family /friends through my cooking. 

Travel also helps me accomplish the above habit by sourcing and learning about local ingredients and cuisines, giving me time to read during my journeys and meet interesting new people.

7. One innovation, advancement or technology that will very soon change a large part of Orthopaedics as we see it today

Artificial intelligence and robotics will soon be a part of our profession, including Orthopaedics. How we diagnose/detect/ plan, or operate may change if AI /robotics can be used appropriately.

 However, what will remain the same is how humans can surpass these technologies in providing empathy, compassion and healing touch to our patients. The future generation should remember this and incorporate them in the right proportions along with the technology to give the best of services to the patients. Success in career and personal life will largely hinge on this combination.

For more amazing content like this, head over to our Instagram page by following the link below!