The science of medicine has evolved over 2000 years since the stone age days.It has currently reached a glorious era with cutting edge scientifc technology .Today one can map the entire human genetic blue print and intervene in the disease even before they manifest .One can keep dying people alive for years with multi organ transplantation. Modern medicine has taught us how human sufferings can be prevented and life can be prolonged (with or without purpose !)
The term conservative management conveys two different
meanings for medical professionals.
For other group of physicians
Ever since the days of application of leech over the head for treating migraine and a crude knife abdominotomy for emergency exit of babies from pregnant mothers in distress , healer’s mind has always perceived “something has to be done urgently when some body suffers” this sort of reaction is probably inherited and is related to the primitive flight or fight response .
This may be true in some of the emergencies but it is untrue in many of the non emergencies.
Unfortunately , our mind finds it difficult to differentiate between these situations . With constant exposure to dramatic medical breakthroughs , modern day physician is made to believe “Some thing is always better than nothing when illness strikes. Human body is a wonderful machine which has it’s own service station ! in the form autoregulation and the meticulous homeostatic mechanisms. Only if the disease process overwhelms, it needs intervention.( Typical example:In the routine viral fever , you don’t adminster Acyclovir or other antiviral for all of them !)
The problem with early aggressive approach is, it fails to give an oppurtunity for the body’s natural defence forces to respond. Further , we will never ever know how the administered treatment is going to fare vis a viz the natural response.( With due respects to RCTs). While the field of medicine has so much evolved , our thought process, especially the aspect of clinical reasoning has always been lagging behind .It is now considered as inferior or even unscientific treatment if some one follows a conservative approach to a problem even if it provides same outcome of that of an invasive or aggressive approach ( The classical example is PCI for chronic stable angina The COURAGE study).
The other major issue is the hazards of unwarrnted invesitigations , drugs and procedures
Classical example:No one knows how much morbidity or mortality the routine Swan ganz catheter caused when it was rampantly used for over two decades to monitor central venous pressure .It is estimated that in modern medicine there are at least few drugs or devices in each speciality waiting for the same fate as that of the swan ganz catheter.
No body knows when it will be exposed .Our EBM will take it’s own time . . .Till that time humanity need to suffer.
This thinking is not new The concept ”First do no harm is over 2000 years old”
Questions in search of answers
Does law of conservation of energy applicable to human body and medicine ?
Can we defy death with modern medicine ?
- Conservative management is still a great medical concept in many situations and one should not allow it to die by the whims and fancies of the modern scientific forces.
- Whatever you do on the patent’s body do it , only if it is going to helpful for him /her. If you are unsure Whether a given treatment is going to help or not ask this question to an expert .
- The widely prevailing dogma of aggression is always better than non aggression has absolutely no evidence.
- So approach a clinical issue disease by disease , individual by individual.
- Now , in this era high tech medicine , It is lot more tougher to choose a conservative path as the pressure to do more and more looms larger ! It is easier to follow the crowd than a path of your own .
- Always remember it needs a stronger mind to act according to our conscience !