My blog is going to be a pean of praise for an extinct species called the GP.
Our generation had the advantage of having a family doctor who knew all about you from your babyhood, through childhood infections, your marriage, kids and their problems. The GP could diagnose from a point of strength as s/he knew what problems existed in the whole family, very often the clan. So asthma, allergies, diabetes or BP problems could be something you developed or had been handed down from previous generations.
What was most important about a GP was that they made house visits. The medical bag was an iconic image and a well dressed physician came calling to diagnose and prescribe medicines. Very often they carried the medicines or asked a family member to pop into the dispensary and collect dispensed medicines.
The Compounder in a doctor’s dispensary was an important personality who knew equally well in terms of illnesses and recurring ailments. In some cases, the Compounder was also the secretary who maintained a card in which your medical history was recorded. Some well to do doctors also had secretaries who maintained your medical history. A doctor would spend time in a day recording or dictating a patient’s current problems and that would go into the record as well.
The GP was a familiar personality in my life till recent years. We are part of a government service that is available to retired government personnel. We visit a dispensary and the doctor gives us our regular medicines. The services for a senior citizen are made easy to access and avail. however, no home visits are made.
In our Senior Citizen’s facility we have a in-house nurse who is familiar with our problems. Till lockdown started, we had a doctor coming to our premises and would consult for a fixed fee. Now, our consultations are online with strange doctors who keep changing every consult.
Doctors would check your pulse, put a stethoscope to your chest and back, make you cough, breathe deeply, look at your eyes and nails. Today doctors look at your reports, ask you for symptoms and write up more tests. They barely listen to what you have to say about your aches and pains.
You go to a specialist for advice based on your symptoms. Already even in a particular speciality, say like orthopaedics, there are further distinctions as docs specialiose in knee replacement, hip replacement, spinal problems and reconstruction/trauma specialists and so on and on. In fact, you dont have GP’s anymore…you have Internists!
The much told joke is with so much focus on parts of a body soon you will have doctors specialising on the left leg and right leg, left eye/nostril/ear and the right side as well. even in dentistry there are so many different specialists I have difficulty in recognising the doctor with my mouth wide open and different doctors drilling in and out!!
The internet maybe has taken the place of the Materia Medica or your friendly neighbourhood GP.
To wind up, in today’s hyper Covid Corona world, this is a meme doing the rounds. So where are the doctors?
To see what many others have to say about this matter that affects all of us, do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say.