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Dr K K Aggarwal

Should doctors detach themselves?

By Dr K K Aggarwal
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In dealing with patients, the traditional Patient–Doctor relationship model has been that doctor should remain cool, calm and collected at all times. The doctor’s approach needs to be strictly scientific, logical, objective, methodical precise and dispassionate. This has been the model since the era of William Osler, the father of modern medicine. The term used is imperturbability, which means coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances. Osler said a rare and precious gift to doctor is right of detachment. The right of detachment insulates doctors and protects them from powerful emotions that patients display in their presence like anger, frustration, grief, rage and bewilderment. It also insulates patients from the rolling emotions that doctors may at times feel towards them. However, a detached attitude also insulates doctors from empathizing with patients. A detached doctor may talk in a language that is over patient’s head. Detachment is not like a light switch that you can turn on and off to suit the situation. Detachment as a practice cannot be in isolation if it becomes your personal style of distracting from the world, it may not be just for the patients but also from your colleague, family friends and even yourself. I recall when I joined by hospital, the first lesson given to me by my boss was not to get unduly attached with patients. As part of etiquettes, we were taught not to socialize with patients. Even today the new American Guidelines talk that doctors should not socialize with their patients on social media including Facebook. Even doctors are human beings and their personal life should not be known to the patients. As far as lawsuits are concerned, it is equally true that known patients file a lawsuit much more than unknown people because over a period of time they know your weakness. One should learn to empathize with the patients and yet be detached from its results. Doctors who follow Bhagawad Gita understand this concept very well.

Managing grief by free expressive writing

By Dr K K Aggarwal
Filed Under Spirituality - Science Behind Rituals | Tagged With: , , | | Comments Off on Managing grief by free expressive writing

The loss of a loved is often painful. The resultant grief makes it hard to eat, sleep and leads to loss of interest in routine life affecting behavior and judgment.

Some can feel agitated or exhausted, to sob unexpectedly, or to withdraw from the world and others may find themselves struggling with feelings of sorrow, numbness, anger, guilt, despair, irritability, relief, or anxiety.

It is well known that disclosing deep emotions through writing can boost immune function as well as mood and well–being. Conversely, the stress of holding in strong feelings can ratchet up blood pressure and heart rate and increase muscle tension.

One can write on a piece of paper, in your personal book, on the open website with nick name or keep it in the mind. One doesn’t have to preserve the emotions and can through away the writings.

In absence of deeply troubling situations, such as suicide or a violent death which are best explored with the help of an experienced therapist, one can choose writing as a way to express out the grief.

  1. Start writing for 15 to 30 minutes a day for three to four days
  2. Continue upto a week if it is helping
  3. Continue writing for 15 to 30 minutes once a week for a month.
  4. Writing has stronger effects when it extends over more days.
  5. Remember writing about grief and loss can trigger strong emotions (one may cry or feel deeply upset)
  6. Many people find journal writing valuable and meaningful and report feeling better afterward.
  7. Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure.
  8. Truly let go. Write down how you feel and why you feel that way. You’re writing for yourself, not others. (Source Harvard News Letter)