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Experts Talk
Prof Mini Sood
Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology,
University Technology Mara,
Malaysia
 
DoctorNDTV: What, according to you, are the attributes of a good doctor?
Prof Mini Sood: A good doctor is one who can always listen, diagnose well with minimal necessary tests and treat with cheap and effective medication, when required. He should try to tailor the treatment to patient’s budget and lifestyle and be able to acknowledge limitation, and refer or take help when needed and should be able to work within a team. A good doctor should always give hope even in untreatable conditions, with reasonable explanation of outcome.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: What is your opinion about medical training in India? Why are we not able to retain talent?
Prof Mini Sood: Medical training in India ranges from the very best in the world to terrible. It has the big advantage of large patient loads to learn from, to any graduate or postgraduate or consultant or trainee as the case may be. Books are never a problem, as many cheap editions are available - so a committed learner has all the resources including the internet.

The main problem does lie in the variability of facilities for teachers in different parts of the country - the salary structures and promotion avenues. Satisfaction with work, finances and opportunities for all learning as well as professional development may not always be fulfilled at one place. The need for managing family commitments as well as professional commitments may need constant juggling act, which all may not be able to cope with.

Loss of people to other parts of the world results due to many reasons like poor salaries, unfulfilled aspirations, politics, inability to develop professionally, and apathy in some work setups.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: Do you think health information websites are useful? What are your views about DoctorNDTV?
Prof Mini Sood: Health websites are very useful for people of other fields. They serve to educate large numbers and provide simple treatment options in a simple and extremely effective way. So, they serve to protect the lay public from unscrupulous and greedy doctors.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: Why did you choose your present job?
Prof Mini Sood: I chose my present job as it is in tandem with what I can do best - teach and serve patients. The hospital setting is excellent, the team is very committed with a direction for overall development for most of the people. There are avenues for meaningful work as well as research, and community service too. The work environment is supportive, free from unnecessary unproductive politics and harassment.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: Could you describe your typical working day?
Prof Mini Sood: My typical day starts at 6 am with reaching workplace by 7.30 am, with classes for students, followed by a clinic or ward round or an operation, supervising students, or junior staff, and participating in CME / lecture / journal club. This is followed by supervision of students' research, carrying out my own research, and writing reports / chapters / papers. At times, I am required to travel long distances to take classes.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: Does the Indian health care system have any problems? If yes, how would you tackle these?
Prof Mini Sood: Indian students have to cope with heavier study schedules and patient loads - their curriculum is overcrowded and examinations are rigorous and demanding as well as probably more stressful as compared to graduates overseas. The curriculum must be examined and altered as per need, change in disease patterns, current treatments and exams simplified if possible to make it more student friendly.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: Is there anything you think must be done for the better health for all?
Prof Mini Sood: The patient care systems too need to be streamlined to make it better for the patients who often may waste whole days / weeks trying to get simple investigations and treatments. Standard treatment guidelines for teachers and treating physicians, which are accepted worldwide can be laid down so that differences of opinions and disagreements in teams are minimal leading to more conducive work environment.

Large scale preventive programmes for common diseases with greater involvement of student communities - medical as well as nursing staff students for patients who have poor access to health care specially women and children, would cater to a healthier more productive population. Many aspects of disease control before it manifests full blown and unmanageable can be planned and carried out by committed teams. Aspects like cancer detection, contraception awareness and use, anaemia prevention, diarrhoeal disease, early detection of foetal abnormality in community with a simple portable scanner, awareness of prevention of sexually transmitted disease and teenage pregnancy, all can be carried out at a very low cost, as manpower is not the main problem in countries like India and other developing nations.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: What would you have been if not a doctor?
Prof Mini Sood: I would have liked to be a painter / dancer / swimmer / gardener.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: Who is the person you admire the most or are most influenced by?
Prof Mini Sood: The people who have been influencing me are many. My grandfather, an ENT surgeon, who could operate for long hours with no food or drink till the ripe age of 80 years always with a smile despite no wife / child living with him is one of the sources of inspiration. My parents who never allowed me to miss any learning opportunity in any sphere of my interest, with full faith in me despite my late hours of work or study and sometimes not so carefully chosen company also inspire me.

My senior friends in the field- Dr Baliga, Dr Khurana, Dr Cyrus Shroff, Dr Anurag Krishna and his lovely wife, Dr Deepika Deka, Dr Jatinder, Dr Gauri Gandhi and Dr Grover.

I am influenced by my spouse Dr Suneet Sood for his wisdom, skills and guidance as well as ability to bail me out of sticky spots. Junior friends - Dr Charulata, Dr Manjeet, Dr Shalini, Dr Kiren Guleria, Dr Geeta Radhkrishna and several others have shaped my life in many ways and I am grateful to all of them.

Grand teachers at school - Mrs Ravinderan, Ramdas, Inz, my English teachers, my Maths teachers and  Mrs Gomez, chemistry teacher.

At college - Dr Hingorani, Dr Neera Agarwal, Dr Sneh Kumar, Dr Vijay-laxmi Bhargava, Dr Geeta Kinra, Dr Sunesh Kumar, Dr Takkar - all have contributed in teaching me various aspects of operating and patient care as well as organising skills and participation in conferences, events and presentations of which I had no idea about. Teachers in fields other than gynecology like Dr. Nundy, Dr BML Kapur, Dr Guleria (Medicine) and Dr Narendra Arora (Pediatrics) are some people I will always remember for their amazing abilities and methods of teaching complex subjects in simple ways.

I am sorry that I have not been able to limit to one person I admire. But if I had to choose it would perhaps be my late grandfather whose routine I watched very carefully - starting at 5 am, with cold bath even in winter, an hour of exercise, an hour of prayer followed by huge breakfast, and full day of work with a happy face till bedtime.
 
 
DoctorNDTV: What has been the professional achievement that has made you most proud?
Prof Mini Sood: I established a new department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences at Dehradun, UP, India. There I was successful in getting the faculty to do major clinical work and produce research.
 
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