I worked in Hindu Rao Hospital, Delhi in Orthopedics department during 2007-08. In the hospital, there was a certain local arrangement: To lighten the burden of the Surgery department, Ortho doctors were asked to take up any case of injury which involves the limbs even if there is no suspect of any bone injury. So, the doctors in surgery department would try to take advantage of this arrangement. Sometimes, it becomes absurd, that they would dress up the wounds of an injured person but leave the limbs (yes, skin deep injuries) and refer them to our department.
Medical science is a very technical profession and it requires four and a half years of intensive study to graduate, and another 1 year of internship in order to practice. But I don’t know if it is the work load or the orientation of teaching, unfortunately beyond the biomedical model, doctors often know so little of human beings. We often claim to know all there is to humans as we slice and study each organ, tissue and cell of the human body. But the complexity of it all that makes a human being a whole person is mind-boggling. We are so much more than our bodies.
With specialization, the human body, however, is further divided, that orthopedics will fix broken bones, ENT surgeons confine themselves to head and neck area, and so on. Super-specialization breaks up the human body further that doctors know more and more about less and less of the human body parts.
This super-specialization is not confined to medical sciences. Specialization is prevalent in all disciplines and it is seen as progress of the particular discipline. But what has this brought us? This has not brought the disciplines and peoples together but is breaking them apart. The invention of jargons and terms that only someone specialized in the discipline can understand ‘excludes’ others. Those who are specialized monopolizes the things they are specialized in and in the process, they control those who needs their expertise.
Specialization is necessary, as someone with a burn injury would get much more refined treatment from a plastic surgeon than a general surgeon. But what can a plastic surgeon learn from other disciplines (Sociology, Economics, etc) that can make his treatment more wholesome? For the patient who suffered the burn injury is a human (with a name, gender, belonging to a particular race, family, socio-economic and cultural background, etc and etc); a person like him and not simply a burnt piece of tissue.