Those were the days my friend

[idea]Have you wondered why people these days get themselves admitted into hospital for some of the simplest of ailments. And have you observed, the frequency with which they get themselves admitted for one reason, and then “discoveries” are made and they get treated for all sorts of reasons. That’s not how it was 60 years ago, when I was a kid. You had this Doctor and he would often come to your home. At his clinic, he had a dispensary and he actually formulated his own medicines. One of them was a “mixture”. No, not the stuff that you get at Grand Sweets. This mixture was also a liquid cocktail of various drugs and medicines that would cure you and whatever you needed to know including dosage and frequency was pasted on the rear of the bottle that boldly read “The Mixture. Shake the bottle”. That shake was to ensure that all the sedimentation got back into the main mixture. Dr Roy (I lived my first 15 years in Calcutta) was a lovable character except when he brandished a needle. But where are these general practitioners today? How come they have vanished?[/idea]

Listen carefully Kojak, when I talk…

In the year 1900, the average age expectancy in India was a mere 32 years. 100 years later and in the year 2000, it had doubled to 63 years. During most of the 1900s, the world was trying to get rid of “infectious” diseases. Malaria, typhoid and the likes. And as life expectancy improved alongside incomes and lifestyle changes, “chronic” diseases (heart, stroke, obesity, Diabetes) have come to fore. The Doctors of yore, used to refer the rare and occasional conditions that might relate to the heart or stroke to specialists. And these specialists were mostly attached to hospitals, although they might have had a private practice too. Over the decades, this lack of understanding of “chronic” diseases and the stealth with which they chronic disease entered the medical curriculum resulted in a large cross-section of practicing Doctors who were generalists but knew very little beyond infectious diseases. As mankind conquered infectious diseases , the General Practioner (GP, as we call them) slowly got marginalised. The specialists, who were rare and far in between became common place. More and more hospitals cropped up. Patients lost touch with their “family doctor” and frequented the hospital or clinic. Even as we speak, one more vocation (as in family doctor)is biting the dust. And several new ones (specialist Doctors) are springing up in its place. I wonder what Kojak would have to say about that analysis….

Talk to me.