Srinagar, Jan 06: Countering the viewpoint of an Indian-origin cardiologist in US that stethoscope is dead, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today said stethoscope is a standard and a powerful diagnostic tool in medical practice.
Defending the use of 200 year old medical implement President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that over time its relevance, utility and contribution to bed-side diagnosis has not declined at all.
Replacing it with hand-held ultrasound seems unlikely because a stethoscope can hear the rubs of the covering of heart and changing heart murmur, the hallmark of certain diseases, which ultrasound is not likely to do.
Ultrasound cannot hear the lung sound or the sound of intestine which stethoscope can.
Serving with unfailing accuracy in the hands of an expert with discerning ears, it can seldom become obsolete to necessitate replacement.
No doubt, advances in technology are useful and have helped to create better care but that does not mean stethoscope has stopped working.
We can precisely diagnose host of illnesses by intent listening alone and can distinctly dissect normal from abnormal.
Based on physician’s clinical decision patients are sent to cath lab or even surgical table.
Auscultation is an opportunity for the clinician and the patient to establish a rapport that goes beyond what can be established by conversation.
A 2012 research paper said that stethoscope when compared to other medical equipments had the highest positive impact on the perceived trustworthiness of the practitioner seen with it.
Periodic surveys among patients have also shown that stethoscope remains close to their hearts as the most trusted medical implement.
Entirely outsourcing the all important task of diagnosis to machines will take away that vital human touch linking medical practitioners to patients.
Over-reliance on technology is becoming a problem for doctors who are losing some of the basic skills of diagnosis and examination.
2015 Kashmir Despatch