To quote Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society, “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are all noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life”. However, in the hectic and overwhelming scheme of life, we sometimes forget the foundation of these aforementioned noble pursuits lies in how they are imparted to their respective future practitioners: education.

Every field of literacy and learning has undergone constant evolution through the ages, be it rhetoric evolving into constitutional law; or terabytes of data being stored in a online to prevent loss as it could not have been when libraries were burnt in conquered cities of yore. Hence, it goes without saying that medicine too has changed for the better, with youth restoring cosmetic surgeries and higher life expectancies when compared to the days when an infected cut would leave one’s life hanging by a thread.

Speaking of lives hanging by threads, more often than not, people have been in harrowing situations when they could not afford to panic at a loved one’s injury or delicate condition due to the absence of a doctor or licensed medical practitioner. Such circumstances can be alleviated with knowledge of basic life support, including but not limited to quality CPR and basic first aid at the very least. [1] Bolstered with this comprehension, an individual can stay the course between life and death in case of emergencies involving mishaps, natural disasters and health dangers, especially to vulnerable groups of the elderly, pregnant women and children. Compulsory and thorough instruction in this knowledge will undoubtedly save lives and reduce chances of critical damage and death.

On a side note, vulnerability in health and well-being is not just limited to accidents and medical emergencies. It also includes stable monitoring of at risk sectors like children, people with chronic illnesses, the elderly with no family support etc. Medical counselling for such groups, along with caution against hazardous practices like drug and substance abuse. Mental and emotional health of patients should be prioritised for holistic treatment and recovery.

As the field of medicine and healthcare is a fragile one, it is pragmatic for entrances to medical colleges be purely merit based, as opposed to reservation-based, or defiled with management quotas [2]. While a few decades of reservations will not compensate for millennia of discrimination and prejudice, it is callous to disregard the risk to poor healing and treatment of patients that having non-merit based inlets into the medical  would lead to.

Similarly, the cut-off for NEET PG being set to zero will leads to thousands of potential admission seats being unoccupied and ripe for the taking by anyone with deep pockets. This would only be beneficial for investors in colleges and perhaps for the prestige a medical doctorate holds in Indian society, while downgrading the quality of doctors produced. Such acts would beyond doubt jeopardise the people who trust doctors with their very life. [3]

[1] Guretia, Hanish, Importance of First Aid, International Journal of Physiology, Nutrition and Physical Education 2018; 3(1): 1071-1072

[2] No quota in higher medicine: SC”The Telegraph. 27 October 2015

[3] “Public Notice regarding Reduction of Cut-off Marks for NEET PG, 2020” (PDF). 14 July 2020. Retrieved 14 August 2020.

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