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A God Man or A Man of God- A Doctor’s Encumbrance!



I am a Doctor. Yes, the same person who pledges to save lives and help all those in need, no matter what, when I take my Hippocratic oath. I’m here to help, always. No time is too late or early to call me when you’re in need of a doctor. We understand a human life’s worth, at least enough to rush to make things alright for a patient to the best of our abilities when an emergency arises. This profession was once considered to be the noblest of all. But not anymore.

Now, as the times have progressed, the people and generations have evolved; so much so that they have started suspecting and doubting the abilities of the very same people who they would have blindly trusted a couple of decades ago. Yes, I’m talking about your very own local ‘God’ as many people may call us. The society has started thinking of us as money-minded and evil, thus, wanting to pull us down at the first chance. All this because of certain misconceptions and lies that many of the people, including millionaire movie stars (read- a certain Mr. Khan; who by the way, haven’t an iota of idea about the prerequisites of our profession) of the South Asian subcontinent, especially here in India, have perpetuated. A stigma that encircles an entire profession. Albeit, what’s actually true is quite contrary to this belief.

One prominent cause for the inhumanely attitude that doctors go through nowadays at the hands of pea-for-brained hooligans is the widespread Internet accessibility and all the false/partly correct information available on several so called ‘medical’ websites, which give away tonnes of garbage masquerading as correct knowledge which has no basis in medical science whatsoever. The remainder of those who still believe the contrast of it, deem doctors to be literally ‘Saviors’ or ‘Messiahs’ or even avatars of ‘God’ themselves, thereby having God-like expectations from us which no man could ever fulfill, regardless of gaining any amount of knowledge.

Today, let me enumerate a few of the things that public should understand and remember with respect to any doctor-

1) The amount of toiling put in by people who want to be good doctors and the years required to reach a sustainable career stage takes a much longer route for us. This can be evident by 5.5 yrs of MBBS (of which minimum percentage to pass any college exam is  50%, which is separate for theory and practicals; higher than that required for most other professional courses) + 1-2 years of preparation for getting a competitive postgraduate (MD/MS/DNB/Diploma) seat + 2-3 years of post graduation + 2-3 years struggle for ample work experience = At least 12 years to become a good physician/surgeon. All other faculties including Engineers finish their academic tenures in at the most 7 years. Therefore, do not dare to disregard our hard work at any cost!

2) Doctors constitute the topmost intellectual brains that India produces. After all, we deal with matters of life and death and the pressure that comes with it. Not to mention the enormous work loads and subsequent stress. So if the IITians and IIMians can earn 7 figure salary on just passing out, it is clearly justified for doctors to command a decent fee, which by the way consists only 4-6 digits, after studying the most i.e, 12 years after HSC.

3) Medicine is not as simple or straightforward as mathematics. Our medical professionals deal with very complicated system called ‘Human body’. Every human being is unique. It’s not like working with machines or computers or a bolt and nut physics. A physician can face a totally new complication even in his 1001st case of heart attack. A surgeon can face a new abnormal anatomy even in his 1001st case of a Gall bladder surgery. It is a complex science with lot of grey areas, overlapping signs and symptoms of thousands of diseases which can have any amount of atypical presentations and complications. Again, not to mention the new diseases which keep surfacing frequently. So, difference of opinion is normal.

4) No doctor will willingly harm you at any cost. Some complications are part and parcel of the disease processes and related procedures. They are not totally in our control and neither can they be predicted whether they will happen for sure or not.

4) Medical science has yet not conquered death. Even doctors and their family members die due to some or the other disease. We too are humans. NOT GOD.

5) In India, the health scenario is such that the private sector caters to about 75% of India’s healthcare needs. Here, one cannot expect services for free. It needs to be chargeable to be a sustainable system. If the public imposes laws to lower the charges, the service quality will suffer accordingly, and then there won’t be any use crying over spilt milk.

6) Lastly, looking at the way the society has degraded us, we doctors are still the least corrupt professionals as compared to the lawyers, police, judiciary, the govt. servants, the big and small businessmen and so on.

Now, you may say that if being a doctor is such a noble profession, then why don’t they give services for free out of their goodness. Well, before I answer that, let’s picture the following scenarios.

Consider that today onwards-
– Hotels shall feed 5 star food to all poor or hungry people completely free, in case of emergency.
– Cycle industry would donate brand new cycles to the needy or poor school children.
– Fruit sellers will give free A grade quality fruits to all malnourished people whenever they ask for it.
– Pharmaceutical companies will give free medicines to the diseased whenever they ask for it, too.
– Railways shall provide free travel to poor people in times of their emergency.
– 10% air tickets would be free for those who cannot afford.
–  All high quality garment brands will give away free clothes to the poor.
– All sweet shops will give free sweets to poor school children
– Free travel for the poor in luxury and ordinary buses.
– Free advertisements in newspapers and TV channels for even roadside sellers and poor vendors.
– Free petrol and diesel for poor people with debilitated vehicles.
– Free shoes for poor kids from branded shoe showrooms.
– Free schooling and food in top boarding schools of the nation for poor students.

Insane, right? Do you think any of the above is ever going to happen? Of course not! Everyone wants to do business and not charity. Everybody, be it rich or poor wants to earn money to suffice for the family, their needs, and their luxury. Then why is this free work is expected only out of doctors. Why? Don’t we have families to provide for? Don’t we have our own expectations and fetishes? Why should these compromises be expected out of us only? Did you realize that even the country’s mightiest soldiers on borders don’t work for free, not even out of their patriotism! All of this is only because people have perpetuated a myth of doctors’  ‘Godliness’ and ‘Holiness’. We are humans too, and we need a source a sustenance as well.

Also, do you think that these people who run varied businesses are giving you the worth of your money? Unfortunately not. Let me burst the bubble for you today-

People buy a Re.1 cool drink for Rs.10, not to mention the extra rs. 2 for refrigeration which hardly costs few paise.
People buy a Rs.1000 worth cell phone for 25000, again not mentioning the accessories which you’d buy separately.
People pay Rs.80 for a Saravana bhavan ghee dosa which may have required only 20-30 bucks worth raw materials.
People pay Rs.10000 for a Pattu saree whose cost price is just 2000.
People pay Rs.200 for 1GB data of Internet for smart phones, not including other value added services you take per month.

These don’t appear as ridiculously exorbitant to you?

Let me tell the public the reality of running medical centers out loud today!

Hospitals are not such a kind of profit making businesses. It is an establishment. An establishment to serve people.

The minimum requirement for a basic hospital set up in an average town with ER and OR set up [1500-2000 sq.ft Land+ construction+ basic equipments & infrastructure] = Rs. 2-3 Crores i.e. 20-30 Million Rupees i.e, approx 0.3-0.5 Million dollars, when corresponded with average rate of American Dollar to Indian Rupee. Please notice that this estimate is not for any Metropolitan city, where the now estimated prices would shoot to double or even beyond that.

So tell us, if we’d hypothetically accept the proposal of people to provide totally free health care or even at discounted rates, and want to start a fully charitable private hospital of top quality, would anybody give away his land in a thriving area for free in order to make it? Or even sell it to a doctor at a concessional price? Can anyone can lend capital money indefinitely to a medical professional without interest? Is an engineer willing to make a construction for free or at least a concessional price for a hospital? Or if any government is ready to provide subsidies for the establishment of a hospital since it treats the sick and poor for free? Or even any company is ready to provide the medical equipments and infrastructural materials for free? If so let me know please. If you think we doctors make too much, calculate the maintenance costs of the buildings, equipments, hygiene, workers’ pay, record maintenance and so on and compare our earnings if at all you want to point fingers. Because when a doctor earns, it not his money only. Health care is a team work which requires the shares of benefits to be distributed. If you think you’re only paying one doctor or one hospital too much, you may be overlooking the crucial roles played by nurses, ward boys, domestic helps, technicians, ambulance drivers, etc. at any given hospital. Why don’t people understand that like any other establishment, hospitals too need a huge investment & maintenance? Why don’t they understand that no money is too much for quality health care? Going by the age-old saying ‘Health is Wealth’, realize that its a matter of your own health. You cannot afford to make doctors take this matter lightly by paying them peanuts for a life and death job.

Take home message-
Like farmers and soldiers, for the services we doctors render you by sacrificing our family time, happiness and sleep, you cannot really pay us by anything for saving your life! All you can do is abide by your doctors’ instructions and learn to respect and show some, too, to your doctors who try their best to protect you & your loved ones in times of dire need. If at all we doctors would take offense and go on a nation-wide strike for any amount of time, and you would happen to need us right at that time, who otherwise would you rely on if you down trod us this bad? Realize and think twice before you criticize a medical professional or his services provided to you. And if some doctor doesn’t do his job well, seek another one, but don’t spoil the name of an entire community for a few handful. They are not our representatives. Please understand that Doctors are just as human as you yourselves are, and a mere tool in the Almighty’s hands and NOT GODS BY THEMSELVES.

Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
MGM University

Author is a young and energetic MD specialized in Immuno-hematology and Transfusion Medicine from Mumbai, India. Besides being from amongst the top performers since her med school days, she remains a humble and charitable human and Editor-in-chief at the Times of Youth.

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“Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly” -Jeremy McLellan



Biryani-loving comedian Jeremy McLellan is finally in Pakistan

McLellan is known for often writing about his love for biryani and his humourous commentary on American politics, immigration, Islamophobia and race. His understanding of Islam, diversity of Muslims and Pakistani culture has made him popular among Pakistanis and it’s not uncommon to see a myriad of comments from Muslims and Pakistanis on his Facebook status updates.

Jeremy Facebook Status Updates From Pakistan

Everyone in Pakistan is so friendly. If I accepted every offer I’ve received to come to people’s houses for dinner or tea I would be here for 10 years and gain 1,000 pounds.
Power keeps going out. Not a big deal for me, but whoever fixes the electrical grid would improve things by a lot.
I’m used to having a lot of personal space. Not much of that here. Takes a while to get used to. Thankfully it’s all friendly.
Weather is nice, especially on rooftops. Felt like Charleston. Way better than Dubai.
Dinner at Haveli was amazing, and the view of the Badshahi mosque took my breath away.
Finally got to see my reporter friend Usman from Pakistan Today who wrote the first articles about me in Pakistan. Great guy.
Jet lag made me sleep in too much. Hope to see more tomorrow. So far I love it.

“After two years of planning, two weeks of very little sleep, and two days of travel, I have now officially landed in Pakistan. What a blessed and fortunate life I have. Thank you to everyone. My body is tired but my heart is full.”

Dinner at Haveli Restaurant overlooking the Badshahi mosque.

Hanging out at Emporium in Lahore!

Jeremy McLellan Official Facebook Page

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Beat the Heat – tips and tricks to cool it this summer!



The cold winter months may come with its own set of headaches, but summer is no less. It’s a constant battle towards hydration, layered with the right portion of sun-block, all of this while trying to keep cool, mentally and physically.

Reports of increasing global warming make it seem that every summer the temperature is and would be getting harder to endure. Thus, as a medico and concerned citizen, I had to finally compile a list of DIY’s and other simple, efficient ways to keep one cool and happy during this hot season.

  1. Be Hydrated. As you lose water by perspiration, your body temperature rises. Replacing fluids is hence essential to keep the body cool. To replace the water that you lose by sweating, be sure to drink a lot of fluids, especially water and cool fruit juices. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol, caffeine, or lots of sugar, which are dehydrating. Also opt for hydrating foods like a smoothie for lunch, and add more fresh fruits and vegetables to all your meals. Watermelon has the greatest water content as compared to all other foods.

  2. Eat light. The reason we reach for salads in the summer is owing to their easier digestibility than, say, a cheese pizza or lardaceous burgers, which leaves you feeling sluggish in the high heat. Instead, go for fruits and vegetables, which are water-rich and help keep you hydrated and cooler. You could also freeze tiny slices of your favorite fruits in ice cube trays with a little water and add to your regular glass of water later for mildly flavored water or simply suck on them for the cooling effect.

  3. Apply cold water. In order to lower body temperature by lowering the blood temperature in the veins directly, apply a bottle with ice-cold water on pulsation points like your ankles, wrists, or behind the knees.

  4. Breathe like Yogis. Feeling overheated again with no cold water around? No problem. Do a few minutes of yogic breathing by curling your tongue by pulling both side edges upward toward the middle forming an O, then breathe in through your mouth. Hold your breath, and slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat five to 10 times. This age old technique should help cool you naturally.

  5. Cool that Sheet. Put soft gel ice packs on top of the mattress and underneath the sheets; try under your legs, neck, or lower back for maximum comfort. You could also try freezing a cotton sock filled with rice, then slipping it between the sheets. The rice will hold a chill longer due to its starch content. Or just simply chill your bed by folding sheets and pillowcases, placing them in plastic bags, and sticking them in the freezer for a few hours to make up the bed just before you go to sleep for a sound slumber.

  6. DIY Air Cooler. Freeze a couple of water bottles or even a shallow bowl filled with ice and place in front of a floor or desk fan, and enjoy a pleasing breeze when the ice melts and evaporates with your makeshift air-conditioner/cooler. Adding salt to the water before freezing can beat the heat for longer period.

  7. Hello Aloe. Pick up an aloe vera plant from a local plant nursery and get some cut and peeled. Aloe vera gel has a cooling effect when applied on the sun burnt skin. After a long day under the sun it can naturally soothe sunburns without spoiling skin texture or any fear of side effects.

  8. Spice it up. If you’re already sweating, why would you want to sweat more? The answer lies in this explanation. Eating spicy food increases blood circulation and makes you sweat, so as the sweat dries, you’ll feel cooler and have some brief relief. The substance which produces the hot taste in chilies, capsaicin, encourages your body to sweat more without raising your body temperature. It is a tried and tested technique by people who have lived in scorching climates since ages!

  9. Put Up Sun Blockers. The air outside when dry and cooler than that inside, one can hang a damp sheet in an open window. Incoming air will be cooled by the evaporating water. Shutting curtains and blinds (ideally with sun-deflecting white surface on the window side) can reduce the amount of heat passing into your home by as much as 40-45 percent.

  10. Squirt, Spritz. Keep a spray bottle in the refrigerator, and whenever its hot. squirt some cool goodness. For ideal thermal regulation, try to begin with wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins. Spraying on some watery mist over your bed-sheets and room walls would also seemingly bring down the temperature of the room immediately for a while. Take it from me, it is a wonderful experience!

  11. Fan it right. If the day’s heat is trapped inside your home, try a little ventilation at night. A window fan with blades facing outside sucks warm air out of the house and pulls cooler air in. Attaching frozen water bottles on the back of the fan will accentuate the coolness further.

  12. Dress right. Coolmax and Nano-Tex are not just for athletes anymore. Wear one of the widely available synthetic fabrics designed to wick away sweat and that sticky feeling. If cotton is preferred, it should be thin, light colored, and, most of all, loose. The best thing is to have sweat evaporate directly from skin to air, the next best thing is for the sweat to move quickly from your skin to clothing and then evaporate. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with sweat evaporation, and thus cool the body.

13.Think Cool. Relax with A Winter’s Tale, The Call of the Wild, Doctor Zhivago, or Smilla’s Sense of Snow. Reading about cold can take your mind off the heat, evoking one’s own experience of ice and snow. Could say it is like a bit of self-hypnosis. Although this needs a little determination, but may be mastered by constancy.

Written by 
Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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‘Health is Wealth’ – Explained



As the old saying goes ‘health is wealth’, have you ever wondered why they say so? Mahatma Gandhi also says, “It is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”. So basically, it means that there is nothing in our life that is more valuable than good health. Health is more valuable than money, as the latter can never buy healthiness and happiness. But a healthy person remains in a state of bliss despite of being poor. Without health there is no happiness, no peace and no success. A person with bad health cannot enjoy the pleasure of being wealthy.

By health we do not mean the absence of physical troubles only. WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Thus, a healthy person is completely free from any illness or injury. A person with sound health enjoys a stability that also includes a healthy mental condition. Our health depends upon several factors, such as food habits, hygiene, fetishes, pollution, sleeping habits, mental condition, air, water, sunlight etc. Some of them are elaborated further below.

Importance of light, air and water: Fresh air and sunlight are very important for our health. Brisk morning walks are very helpful for the fitness of our mind and body. Breathing the fresh air each morning rejuvenates the mind and soul and surmounts the energy that one would need to keep going throughout the day. Sunlight helps our body to produce vitamin-D. A dirty and damp atmosphere breeds a lot of diseases. Fresh and pure drinking water is also necessary for good health. Impure drinking water causes many ailments. So, we must take care of these things.

Food:  Good food, too, is essential for the body. A healthy fiber-filled breakfast each morning is imperative for a good start of the day. Fiber rich foods such as oats, whole grain wheat, bran rice, etc. help us improve our digestive system. Nutritious foods helps us to maintain good health. We all should know, how, when and what to eat.
We should always include a portion of green vegetables, fresh fruits or salads with minimal dressing in our meal. All of these are sources of vital macro and micro nutrients. A balanced and nutritious diet helps the proper growth of the body. But we must remember that we eat to live and not that we live to eat.

Physical exercise and sports: We all know the proverb, “A sound mind in a sound body”. In order to keep the body healthy, we need to keep the mind sound. Physical exercises keep us fit. There are varous kinds of physical exercises. We may walk a kilometer or two every day. We may take some yogic or aerobic exercises or even zumba, dancing and swimming. At the same, games and sports are very useful for health.

Cleanliness: Cleanliness is crucial for good health. Without cleanliness, it is very difficult to maintain fitness. We should clean our house and the surrounding areas every day. Alhough bathing  should ideally be twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, yet once atleast is mandatory. After eating food, we should clean our hands with soap. Various types of diseases erupts from unclean surroundings. We should always throw the garbage in the dustbin. Cleanliness is the key to great health.

Some rules of hygiene: We must know some simple rules of hygiene. Our house must be airy and sunny. Apart from all this, we must form good habits. We should keep ourselves free from  unwanted cares and anxieties. Early rising and early to bed is equally necessary for good health. So we must try to keep fit.

We should take proper care of our health so that we can enjoy our life completely because when we are ill, we do not want to play or work. Our bad health robs us of our daily efficiency, sound sleep and appetite. Life becomes a burden if one  is constantly ailing. Life is left with little charm then. He feels tired of life, always bickering about one thing or the other. On the other hand, one with good health enjoys his life. A healthy person is mindful of all food he eats and enjoys sound sleep.  A healthy person is able enough to sing the glory of life and works hard to realize his dreams. He is cheerful and hardly complains. He may be poor, with limited income and may have to work very hard to earn a living, but even the richest man if ill would envy him for his good health and cheerfulness. A  person with sound health can lead a happy and enjoyable life. A rich person can afford various luxuries of life such as a costly car, posh house, branded accessories, air-conditioners, good furniture, trendy clothes, delicacy foods etc. But, he can enjoy these luxuries only if his health is good. Health is, thus, definitely much more important than wealth. Health is a greatest treasure and  the highest blessing.

Let us plan now to cherish the health we are blessed with, and try to give this gift to all we know so they, too, would enjoy the wonders of this life while being grateful.

Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya

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