Medicine, millennials, TEDx and future

  • Post category:Social / Technology
  • Reading time:7 mins read

I have written earlier about doctors. It was a 5 part series about the rise and fall of doctors. Like almost anything else, one can write for life about doctors and related systems. Those issues can be found across the world, independent of which country you live in. It might be that less developed country may have less of those issues than some of the more advanced countries. I am not sure about any study that could point out to which factors lead to a having good doctors or not. Usually, the discussion make a turn and we starts talking about health system rather than doctors. System plays it role, but my main focus always stays on people and in this case it is doctors independent of the system they are running in.

Recently, I came across this usual 18min TED video. One can see that it has a very typical format of TED video and follow very typical sales pitch, e.g., disclosing a secret for the first time on stage, telling a personal story in an effort to make a connection and ending it with a quote. How stereotypical. Well, before I come to doctors, I just want to comment on my lack of understanding as to why this talk had to be linked to the idea of millennials? Other than making an opening pitch about being a millennial and trying to get some promotional point on how the negatively tagged generation can have good positive people, it does not seems to have any connection with the topic. Secondly, what is this about a white coat and a stethoscope? It seems that presenter thinks that if he does not wear it, no one may believe he is a doctor.

Let’s consider one more thing about millennials in the context of this talk. What does dreams and believes of changing the world and making an impact has to do with millennials? There have always been people who had such believes and some of them succeeded. But, difference is that in the modern generations, independent of millennials, gen-x, y or z, there is a high number of such individuals who have that believe but with a do nothing attitude. People want to change the world, today, now, this very second, but also want that it should be as easy as a touch of their iPhone. In my opinion, it does not matter which generation you belong to, there will always be people who are unique, different and will change the world. But, today we have more of those who live in the illusions that they are the new Einstein, Michael Jordan or Bill Gates or even a Julius Ceasar or Genghis Khan for that matter.

There is a statement where it is mentioned that about 45% of doctors won’t become a doctor again, if given a chance to re-live their life. It is shown as some kind of specially negative situation. But this simply shows that doctors are nothing special. You can take such kind of survey for any kind of job and you would be surprised to find similar kind of answer. How do you think the phrase “Grass is always greener on the other side” came to existence?

And why saving lives is such a noble or special profession? Isn’t it just another job or task for which you get paid? If this is so, then why not keep firefighters, baywatch, security guards at the same level of respect? I know, one can say, but doctors do something special. In that case ask a doctor to try to go into a building on fire and get paid the same as firefighter. And how many times do they also fail to save life because of negligence, greed or other reasons?

Also, 3% of elected officials are doctors and scientists. This is bad? What is the percentage of doctors against general population? Isn’t there a bias that doctor and scientists can make better decisions about general population? What if the doctor who went there did not want to be a doctor at first place?

Medical Negligence: 3rd Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

One thing was rightly mention that system may have a problem, but that is just a system made up by people. It can be changed and we need more people inside the system to make a change. Trouble starts at the next level. How do we get people/doctors to fight against and change that system? How do we get a doctor who is already busy with paperwork enough not to give attention to the patient to find sometime to fix the system? How do we get that doctor to stay focussed on the initial goal and not to get aligned with the system once in? There are some, there have always been and there always be. Question is which way the tide is changing?

We have doctors, supposed to intelligent, who completely ignores mathematics, statistics and the fact that technology can take their jobs easily. Doctors who till today considers themselves to be superior than the rest of the staff, find it hard to believe that technology will replace them first and faster while the nursing staff will continue to remain in demand and will be harder to replace. This behavior or attitude shows no difference than a common man. Everyone believes that technology will replace someone else’s job, but not their own.

In 20 years, why should someone would try to study to be a doctor for years, when machines would be learning the same stuff in matter of seconds. Machines would be way more autonomous than doing in various activities where doctors are involved today. E.g.

  • Diagnosis of the problem, most probably even before the patient comes to hospital
  • Deciding appropriate treatment and setting up a plan
  • Regular monitor and adaptation of the plan
  • Doing operations as needed
  • And most importantly, I think, helping people to make lifestyle changes to avoid health issues.

I don’t think we need doctors to manage hospitals or start reading legal documents. Legal systems, insurance systems and various other systems would be in control of the machines. Legal battles (atleast the regular ones) would be fought by machines. We would need doctors or let’s say the medical staff to fill that human gap that can help people to follow the procedures recommended by machines. Machines would tell us which pill to take or which exercise to do. But, we would need people to help patients to make those decisions.

Maybe after 20 years, machines may have much bigger role and humans would be much more dependent on machines than they are today. However, the way situation is today, I am afraid that humans would be much less capable of making connection with another human being. You can see it already today that we are connected to our devices more than our friends, colleagues of family members. We get upset, if our loved one takes away the phone from our hand so that we can talk to them. And we care to smile more in front of our devices than in front of other person. I really hope that mankind will change from that path where we feel more happy to see a wi-fi signal than our friend.

Keep Smiling



“That pain in your leg is caused by old age,” the doctor told Mulla Nasrudin. “That can’t be,” replied the Mulla. “THE OTHER LEG IS THE SAME AGE AND DOESN’T HURT A BIT.”

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