(4.18 out of 5)
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E-sclepieion by Subramaniam Rangaswami describes one of the crises Modern Medicine is facing in a hypothetical environment of a Chennai superspeciality hospital in 2081 in an extremely satirical manner. From what used to be a human and personal interaction between the physician and the patient, Medicine has rapidly changed towards a technology driven process in which biomedical machinery compliment and often susbtitute for human touch in all aspects of patient care. In this book, Rangaswami touches upon the value of emotions and especially a healing touch and how it can work wonders in the healing process through stimulation of the body's own reperative pathways. I hope this short book will stimulate medcial professionals to introspect and change their practice into a more holistic, human based approach to patient care without neccessarily abandoning technological advances. Modern Medicine should be a happy arranged marriage of Human Touch and Technology.
A fascinating book which I had difficulty putting down once I started reading. The world of Hippocrates in his Aesclepian Temple of Healing is turned completely topsy-turvy as the Art of Medicine is completely forgotten as Science takes over - a frightening thought for our future generations. Fortunately the author, showing his hopes and fears for the Medicine of the future, is able to deftly turn the story around as one patient is able to beat the system by insisting on human contact. My thirteen-year-old grandson enjoyed the book too, despite some confusion with medical terms. I look forward to future productions from the same source. Hippocrates, where art thou?
RamanathanSubramoniam Rangaswami has a nice writing style and wishes to put himself in the audience’s shoes – this is evident from the fact that he uses a full 20 pages in the introduction to explain the evolution of the medical profession from a listening, touching and caring profession to a more hands-off, almost “unfeeling” profession. His choice of words is very good – “one is lured, strange as it may sound, into imagining an assembly line where the sick human body trundles along a ‘repair belt’ as it is probed and fixed.”Rangaswami then brings the human element into the short story in the form of Sampath, his wife and his doctor. This is where the author, as a medical doctor, comes into his own by vividly explaining the elation of the patient when he comes into contact with a real doctor as opposed to an automaton. The ending is a tad abrupt but sweet with Sampath enjoying the bar of chocolate that the doctor gives him.All in all, a great first effort. There is a fine author hiding inside this great medical brain and I am waiting with interest for his first full novel to come out.Ramanathan,Finance Director,Corrosion Technology LLC,Dubai, UAE.
The book E-Sclepieion written by Dr.Rangaswami is a fantastic account of what it is likely to be, a century from now as far as the medical practice goes. He beautifully and tastefully traces the practice of medicine from ancient times, both in the east and west, travelling down to the present and delving into the future, maybe a century from now.From the time Laennec modified his listening technique to find a Stethescope, the Doctor also started his travel to distance himself from the patient.The book is highly readable - A "cant put down" book and a "must read" for the present and future generation of DoctorsDr.Vimala RajappaRetd. Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology,Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Egmore,Chennai.
The book starts with an excellent note on evolution and life which is an important point of discussion, evident on a subtle note all over the book. What in our perception is evolution and have we evolved were the two questions that resonated throughout the book. Robots are used everywhere already and using them in the medical field is not far. The author’s ideas have been expressed at the right moment because though technological advances have reached heights, it is yet to reach the bottom of the society. The author’s endeavors may initiate this as well in the near future.Care and compassion has taken a back seat these days, be it in health care or elsewhere. Some decades back, I have heard about a famous doctor who was more of a humanitarian than a professional. He used to instruct his patients to bring sputum, blood, stools or urine samples to help him evaluate their cases better. He ensured that they brought those samples for another reason too. He felt that being ill themselves, the patients’ version of what they were undergoing need not necessarily be right completely. More importantly, it is the foremost duty of the doctor to get the right information for early, easy and effective diagnosis and treatment. Another doctor who comes to my mind spoke many tongues and in the same colloquial language a patient speaks to make the patient comfortable and that he/she would be at ease to explain correctly whatever is wrong with their bodies. I do not find these empathetic efforts anymore. Patient handling by itself has become completely mechanized and more of a formality. Nodding, smiling or touching has become rare events, of late. Robots are but only intellectually engineered articulators. Emotions which are the actual assets of humans cannot be brought out naturally in machines. It is indeed very sad that sometimes we do not differ from these robots in many aspects.I as an individual feel that there is no healing without feeling. Many people believe in Reiki or spiritual healing. A person’s positive approach to his/her ailment and of course the support rendered by the family and society helps to heal him better and faster more than anything else. More important than all this is the doctor, his God, to relieve him off the ailment. The author’s views are reflecting the public observations and views of the medical fraternity today. This book should be read by both the clinician and the public alike to help them find a consensus of what is expected out of a physician and also help it make known to the physician. My best wishes to the author for his future books which may play a pivotal role in the society and help the youngsters to take cues for the better.C. R. RAJENDRAN.Retd. Superintendent, Zoological Gardens, Chennai.
An interesting, well-written novelette. The author presents a futuristic view of how a hospital is likely to be ‘manned’ and patients treated in just another fifty years time. The narration and style are so convincing as to make the scenario appear quite plausible. As science fiction, this book compares well with the best that I have read over the years. The introduction brings out vividly how with each advancement in technology and medical science, the gulf between the doctor and the patient widens. Diagnosis and treatment tend to become totally impersonal. Like Sampath in the story, the reader is left yearning for the family physician of the yester years. K.P. Geethakrishnan I.A.S (Retd)Former Finance Secretary, Government of India &Executive Director, International Monetary Fund,Washington DC, USA.
'E-sclepieion is an offbeat take on hospital culture, medical systems and remedial practices. Coming from a senior medical specialist gives it the legitimacy which would have otherwise been looked at with askance. Set in the late 21st century, harking back to practices in the present day, Subbu Sampath’s single appointment with a consultant brings home the reality of the mechanical extent that medical science can drift into. There is a sense of déjà vu for those of us who have grown up reading Aldous Huxley. Subbu’s experience could well become a reality given the rate at which medical science is advancing, diagnosis is becoming equipment-dependent and the impersonal limit this very personal science is denigrating into.Rangaswami in this short succinct story has made the specialist aware of the need for keeping the science humane and for the layman the need to understand the science as being beyond miracle making. All in all, an interesting read for the practitioner and the layman alike.Dhanalakshmi Ayyer,Chennai Dhanalakshmi Ayyer is a Chennai-based observer of the socio-political scene and a regular reviewer of books at Chennai.
I was touched by the novel of “E-Sclepieion” and I would like to thank you very much for it. The technocratic civilization can destroy humans, humanity and a humane medicine. This was happening in the cruel experience of the fascist-era in Germany. At the time these robotic medical technocrats were – biologically speaking- humans, but in real life they were monsters. Their “e-mending the robot way” can eventually surpassed by real robots. Meanwhile some detrimental tendencies of technocratic medicine can be experienced in daily routines of any hospital. Thoughts should be given, how to incorporate this problem into medical education. If the book of Rangaswami will lead to some initiatives in medical teaching with his aims in mind, the book has well served the author´s and also society´s ideals. The vivid dialogues are apt to be put on stage and may be some students will do this one day.Visiting Professor at Sri Ramachandra UniversityProf. Dr. med. Dieter Borgers RMD, MPHAbteilung für AllgemeinmedizinHeinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, GermanyMoorenstrasse 5
This book, in simple words is the need of the hour. Technology grows with time but it digs a grave for all the humane aspects of life. The author convincingly brings out the actual emotions of a common man when he meets a physician, in a way that will make the modern physician understand what is expected out of him. Tact and precision go into explaining the incredible capacity of a robot and the impeccable elucidation of the evolution of life. This shows the author’s diverse knowledge-base. Looks like the book will impress physicists, engineers and biologists alike! Whoever the reader may be, none would fail to notice the importance of loving words and empathy in patient care, more so in any encounter with fellow beings. Being a senior in the profession, the author has done justice and has had a wonderful balance in his introspection of robots in medicine, which is already in use in a few countries. Though the book has a foresighted stage, it is an important observation that we are already robotic and mechanistic in demeanour. This medical fiction is a balanced feast which showcases scientific innovations in health care and of course a strong message to the doctors.Best wishes to the author! Looking forward to his future projects!!C. R. Hemalatha.
E- Sclepieion is a delectable portrait of an imaginative hospital of late twenty first century. The book is of a distinct genre, a satirical science fiction. The central character of Rangaswami’s fictional narrative is Subbu Sampath. He arrives at the modern medical center for a consultation and treatment for an annoying painful swelling in the groin. The plot is simple yet thought provoking. Rangaswami has narrated the short emotional story of Subbu Sampath in a unique style. The fictional element which has romantic and humorous episodes is splendidly interspersed with vivid and specific details of contemporary scientific facts as well as appropriate and related allusions and quotations. Thus the book of 100 pages provides insightful information for a common reader. The setting for the story is provided through an introductory essay on the history of advances in biomedical sciences and medical technology. Certainly this book provides pleasure, also material for enlightenment and introspection.
The book begins with an introduction to the wonders of modern medicine and surgery - the great scientific advances that have almost eliminated many of the scourges of the past - and rendered life much more comfortable today than any time in the past. The latter part of the book warns of the de-humanising aspect of many of the developments in diagnostics and treatment. This is one of the rare books that present both sides of modern medicine - a must read for both the expert who is so engrossed in his speciality that he has no human emotions left - and the man in the street who needs to understand the expert.
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