Ethics of Medicine

Ethics of Medicine

The recently held Annual Conference of the Indian Medical Association’s Thane chapter was the largest conference of its kind ever to be held in the city. The conference which started at 9:30 in the morning ended at 7:30 in the evening at the Gadkari Rangayatan, had a number of high spots for which it will be remembered.

The highlight of the day was the felicitation of the 72-year old Dr. O P Kapoor, a Senior Physician who has decades of rich experience as a medical practitioner as well as a professor. Crowned with multiple degrees like MD (Med), FRCP (Hon), FCCP among others, Dr. Kapoor was awarded the Life Achievement Award for his rather valuable contribution to the Indian Medical fraternity.

Dr. Kapoor has served at top Hospitals in Mumbai like Jaslok and Bombay Hospital and taught medicine at Grant Medical College. Although he has now retired from active practice, he imparts his knowledge by other means. Like, he is currently the editor of the Bombay Hospital Journal. Dr. Kapoor has the distinction of having taught more than 55,000 medical students and general practitioners in his lifetime, which is a record by itself. Dr. Kapoor has also been a family physician for the famous Kapoor family of Bollywood.

In his packed-with-wisdom address to an audience of more than 400 doctors, Dr. Kapoor offered some extremely thoughtful insights pertaining to the medical profession. Concerned about the increasing trend of relying on advanced gadgets, which is especially observed among the younger doctors, he urged practitioners to take the clinical approach. "Before sending the patient hurriedly for a CT scan or an MRI, the doctor should be absolutely certain that such an investigation is required", he said, adding "Like the tradition GPs, doctors must learn to apply their own minds before sending them to a specialist consultant." He asserted that it is the duty of the every doctor to keep his/her knowledge as current as possible by reading, participating in relevant seminars and keeping track of new discoveries and inventions in the field of medicine and health.

Another highlight of the conference was a panel debate on the extremely sensitive issue of ethics in the medical profession. The topic of the debate was, "Ethics should be made part of the syllabus in the medical degree course." The medical profession, once acknowledged as a noble profession, has become highly commercialised and topic of ethics is an extremely relevant matter, a subject of great concern indeed.

A panel of four prominent specialists (two for and two against) debated for over an hour. While Dr. R D Lele (nuclear medicine consultant with Leelavati Hospital and former dean of JJ Hospital, as well as ex-Director of Jaslok Hospital) and Dr. Amdekar (Honorary Professor of Paediatrics at JJ Hospital argued against including ethics in the course, Dr. Ravi Bapat (Ex Professor and HOD of surgery Seth GS Medical College) and Dr. Supe (Professor and HOD of surgery, Grant Medical College) insisted that teaching ethics is important. The debate was moderated by Dr. S R Munje (Ex. Superintendent of St. George Hospital). The general consensus among the audience seemed to be in favour of including the subject of ethics as they felt that it might help in developing a sense of conscience among the students.

Dr. Ram Murthy, a senior physician at Bombay hospital, discussed the effects of the current mania: SARS. He assured the doctors that as Indians, we need not panic as our immunity levels are really high. The quality of water we drink and the air we breathe has helped all of us build great resistance to such diseases. To us common people, Dr. Murthy’s words are such a relief.

The entire day was chock-a-block with information for practitioners. Various surgeons/specialists spoke about the latest advances in the field of medical science: technology, tools, discoveries and inventions. Among the various branches covered were pathology, ophthalmology, neurology, neurosurgery and cardiology.

The driving force behind the conference was Dr. Anil Tambe, organising Chairman and President of IMA Thane. A former HOD of Medicine at Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, he is currently Professor of Medicine at Terna Medical College and also a practicing Cardiologist in Thane. Others involved in the organising committee were Dr. Shekhar Suradkar, Dr. P A Kale and Dr. Mahavarkar.

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