Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 41, Tuesday May 30, 2006




In the doctor's chamber

Nobody wants to be sick. But is it not worse when a visit to the doctor, who’s supposed to make you feel better, ends up upsetting you even more? If that’s never happened to you, then you really are lucky! And chances are, you’re probably a doctor yourself or a member of a doctor's family. This is because, unless you are one of those, it is hard not to fall into the category of the unfortunate ones who do not receive the treatment they deserve or need in most cases.

Saad had been suffering from asthma for almost three years when one day he went to the hospital early, wanting to be the first patient to get the doctor's attention and time. Fortunately or unfortunately, he got what he wanted. After being ushered to the chamber hurriedly, he was simply asked what the problem was. However, he had barely started when the expert finished writing the prescription and handed it to him. The poor guy did not even get a chance to say his asthma was hereditary or any of the other relevant information. The visit was less than two minutes long, but the fee was Tk 500!

Like many others, this was not the first time Saaad had encountered a health care professional with this kind of work ethics. The previous doctor had given him an extremely high dose of steroids of which he had also been given a shot on each of his visits. He was not sure how much it had helped his asthma but he started to have other hormonal problems as a result of taking them!

This was just a small example but it illustrates rudely but truthfully the kind of ludicrous behavior we face in the name of getting health care. There are many more out there who have experienced similar situations and felt the same way but had to go back being left no other alternative.

A visit to a doctor is supposed to make you feel better both physically and mentally. You need to talk about your problems, both present and past. You need advice, guidance and information about your disease. In short you need his time, attention and good behaviour. A patient who believes in his doctor and has confidence in him is bound to recover faster. A doctor should be able to make all his patients smile no matter what ailment they are suffering from. But our doctors of today who have all the name and fame, have their commercial interests at the top of their priority lists and make us wonder if they really have what it takes to be a physician. They are many who turn to their family docs for all kinds of advice, even beyond medical issues and those who put these people right next to God in their list of revered people.

It is true that there are still some doctors who dedicate their lives to caring for and curing the sick and needy. These doctors do make the patients feel special and also make them believe that they will be cured. But what is most unfortunate is that we can’t say the same about everyone in the profession.

My message to all those doctors who have made a business of this noble profession, whatever your motives and motivations, do remember that it is in your hands that we deposit our lives, it is you we expect will solve our worst health problems. Next time somebody suffering comes up to you, please give him/her your good behaviour, utmost attention and time. The patient trusts you blindly and needs your help, so make him feel good and smile -sometimes that’s all it takes to make someone feel better!

By Syeda Shamin Mortada

Reader’s chit
Talking to the Dead

With the blessings of science, human beings have seen the concurrence of the imagination and reality. Science has inspired the human race to look into matters that mystify and question reason. And probably the most inexplicable ambiguity is the concern of “life after death”. One question that is ever baffling to us all is whether death is an end or a beginning to something else. Despite all efforts this particular and probably the most important query of all, remains unanswered. Religions depict the tall tales of heaven and hell but they too leave the end hanging.

Recently, scientists seem to have found recently that demise may not be the end after all. But can it really be true? Even though it might freak some folks out, there is really a way for those who wish to try. In response to such spiritual urges, human beings have tried to contact the deceased but the processes used were mostly intuitive. The idea may be bizarre but the experience of your deceased loved one's presence may make it all worthwhile. Electro Magnetic Phenomenon (EVP) is a process in which the application of science leads to this mystical experience, something that sets it apart from other forms of “séance”.

Eerie though it may seem, EVP is basically a way to communicate with spirits. This phenomena occurs when the voices of a spirit interrupts an Electro Magnetic Field, “E.M.F”. Apparently paranormal sonic events of unknown origin, EVP can sometimes be heard (and captured in recordings) on various types of electronic apparatus. Some believe what they hear to be voices of demonic or satanic origin. Others postulate that they are extraterrestrial attempts at communication while sceptics declare it as being a simple form of radio interference.

In EVP, the voices take on diverse forms -some appear to be speaking in tongues (polyglot), interrupt standard radio broadcasts, call on by name and speak directly to researchers while some make themselves heard over telephone, during television broadcasts and as anomalous interference on tape recordings.

Whether or not EVP is a spiritual experience is still debatable. Science remains sceptical and its practitioners try to explain this experience as being upshots of interference from a nearby CB operator or cross modulation. Scientists also argue that “voices” are most likely people creating meaning out of random noise, a kind of auditory pareidolita or apophenia. Scientific explanations suggest that EVP is a psychosomatic perception where brains try to find patterns which are simply guided in part by what the investigator expects to hear. There is a natural human inclination to project meaning onto otherwise innocent phenomena and many tend to do this with EVP. The human imagination tries to impose meaning on what appear to be intelligent sounds on the tapes and this notion leads to the act that if no sense can be made of the sound, then an idea will be invented and/or introduced to support what we want to hear. The human mind has a tendency to “fill in the blanks”, which can be applied in EVP accounts. As far as human physiology is concerned, human beings can at will hear anything they want to hear once they have heard something enough times.

Indeed this unsettled yet chilling spree of voices from the “other side” is spooky enough to rattle anyone. It has been said that Thomas Edison was working on an EVP device that would make the communication between the two worlds more “credible”! In a 1920 interview, Edison, a man of science expressed his opinion regarding EVP and fascinated the world by saying, “our personalities pass on to another existence or sphere but it is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication”.

Although EVP began to be accepted as a legitimate form of paranormal research from the late 1960's, it remained controversial throughout time. This is simply due to the fragmentation of messages and sounds that require hours of listening to be comprehended. However, it is still highly interesting as anyone can experiment with it due to the simple technologies that require conducting such mystical exercise. All it takes is a tape recorder, microphone, headphones, loudspeakers with graphic equalizers and a sound source that is a frequency between stations on an AM/FM radio. It is advised not to expect instant results since the most important apparatus of all for this practice is patience.

In spite of all these developments, the masses are still divided. Many view this as another paranormal hoax while others devotedly live out these spiritual encounters with the emissaries of the other-side. Whether truth or make believe, creepy or witty, EVP is indeed surrounded by mystery even now. The only way to see through this mist may be the conviction of afterlife or simply a personal attempt to see if there are really any voices to be heard from beyond the reach of Time and Place.

By Obaidur Rahman


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