By Shahfizal Musa
Pix PKK and UKM Press Photo Unit
BANGI, 21 Oct 2012 - Future medical practicioners must ensure that the art of medicine is not lost merely due to technological advancements made in medical treatment.
Orthopedic surgeon Prof Dr P. Balasubramaniam, who is active in training and teaching orthopedic surgery in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia said while technological advancement is needed in the field of medicine it should not be at the expanse of alienating the unfortunates.
Prof Balasubramaniam was conferred an Hon PhD (Health and Sciences) by the Pro Chancellor of UKM, Tunku Laxamana Tunku Naquiyuddin Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Ja’afar at the 3rd session of the 40th UKM Convocation here this morning.
Technological advancement in medicine, he said, usually mean higher costs to patients. While that is understandable there has to be realisation that not everybody can afford a high tech medical treatment.
The solution is to give patient a choice, between a high tech treatment and treatment that is the standard practice before the tecnology came, he said.
As an example, he said in the field of orthopedic, a single screw to mend a broken bone can cost up to 4 figures, whereas the old method which only uses a cast costs way much cheaper.
Thus students must be taught the old method of doing things so that they can make sure that everyone that come with a medical problem can get treatment no matter the size of their wallet.
He admitted that such choice may not be available for all treatment as some can become obsolete. Nonetheless he felt patients should have access to treatment.
What he was suggesting is part of a solution to the current scenario of high medical treatment cost which is a global phenomenom. The cost is going up because of technological advancements which provide for better ways to treat a patient, Prof Balasubramaniam said.
By offering patients the choice between low tech and high tech medical treatment, all patients can solve their medical problems regardless of their status in soceity.
This is the art of medicine, he said,making sure that every patient fell better, by giving attention and listening to them.