The word ‘Doctor’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Docere’, which means ‘To Teach’. If you are a doctor, you’ll know what I mean. Within minutes of consulting a new patient, you know what caused the problem they have, and you know that you have to tell them. Doctors being unable to do that, being forced to avoid and skip around the cause, distracting patients into undergoing therapies that aren’t going to help – that is what has forced the public perception of the medical system today down onto its knees.
Today’s blog is an excerpt from the movie Patch Adams.
My inspiration to learn the core values of medicine – to learn what health care really is – is inspired in large part by Dr. Patch Adams, who founded the Gesundheit! Institute. The movie based on him, Patch Adams, touched a chord deep within my heart at a young age, and is one the things that have guided me on this path. Robin Williams did an amazing job of acting the character, and here’s what he has to say, when he was pulled up in a disciplinary hearing where the college tries to suspend his license for practicing medicine without a license:
“Every person who comes to the ranch is a patient. Every person who comes to the ranch is also a doctor.
“Every person who comes to the ranch is in need of some form of physical or mental help – they are patients. But, also, every person who comes to the ranch is in charge of taking care of someone else, whether it’s cooking for them, cleaning them, or even a simple task as listening. That makes them doctors.
“I use that term broadly, but is not a doctor someone who helps someone else? When did the term ‘doctor get treated with such reverence, as ‘Oh, right this way, Dr. Smith’, or ‘Excuse me, Dr. Shoals, what wonderful footpads!’, or ‘Pardon me, Dr. Perdison, but your flatulence has no odour!’?
“At what point in history did a doctor become more than a trusted and learned friend who visited and treated the ill? Now, you ask me if I have been practicing medicine. Well, if this means opening your door to those in need, those in pain, caring for them, listening to them, applying a cold cloth until a fever breaks, if this is practicing medicine, if this is treating a patient, then I am guilty as charged, sir.”
“Board member: “Did you consider the ramifications of your actions? What if one of your patients had died?”
Patch: “What’s wrong with death, sir? What are we so mortally afraid of? Why can’t we treat death with a certain amount of humanity and dignity and decency, and god forbid, maybe even humour? Death is not the enemy, gentlemen. If we are going to fight a disease, let us fight one of the most terrible diseases of all – indifference.
“Now, I’ve sat in your schools and heard people lecture on transference and professional distance. Transference is inevitable, sir. Every human being has an impact on another. Why don’t we want that in a patient-doctor relationship? That’s why I’ve listened to your teachings, and I believe they’re wrong.
“A doctor’s mission should be not just to prevent death, but also to improve the quality of life.
That’s why, you treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you win. No matter what.”
This is exactly what Naturopathy is based on. Treat the person, not the disease.
Being a friend, showing care and love, helping a person live the right life and heal himself – that is health care. And, after years of watching people recover, I’ve learnt that this really is the truth.
Dr. Achyuthan Eswar
Naturopathy, Yoga and Acupuncture Physician