Empathic, are we?

“The specialty of Psychiatry is (or should be) the most ‘human’ speciality- devoted to the understanding of the whole person in health and illness. Indeed, it is the only medical specialty without a veterinary counterpart.”

-First thoughts

Oxford Handbook Of Psychiatry

Few days into my Neurology posting, I am beginning to understand why the noblest profession of all — to heal fellow human beings — is witnessing its worst decay. The reason for me is simple. There is a scarcity of an essential ingredient. An ingredient that is the most important requirement for industries providing intangible goods as services, such as healthcare where emotional quotient seals the deal. ‘Empathy’ helps in understanding Psychiatry, where all aspects of human experience over the whole of the life span are seen and dealt with. From a new mother worrying about killing her child to the family of a young man who see him turn from a loving person to a stranger talking irrelevantly and discussing conspiracies. Often, with so little under our control and giant scientific progress awaited, we use empathy to help heal the patient and relieve him greatly of his suffering.

Sadly, very little of this is noted in most other specialties especially the super specialties where every slur and sway is dealt with a CT/MRI and every breathing difficulty with an X-ray and ABG! In the business of being busy, we often miss to relate to the patient who is waiting for a healing spell from his doctor to empower him with hope, which helps him to cope!


After this video, I began to wonder that, if we are really beginning to understand the emotions of animals and anthropomorphize, is it really that difficult to mirror another human being?! And to understand what Charles Darwin’s father meant when he told him, “Everybody could lose their mind at some point. Thankfully, we can often find them again, but only with each other’s help.”


I am a born nomad who swings and sways with passions many! A Doctor from Manipal/ Budding Psychiatrist at Vellore/ Swimmer/ Philosopher/ Lover of words/ Saviour of hearts and definitely not the Telugu mass superstar!

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