My name is Mathew S Peedikayil, Dr. S. P. Mathew is how I am known by friends and colleagues. Here I will present three models of Healthcare that we have in the World today.
- Modern Scientific Medicine: The scientific reductionist model
I have done my MBBS and MD in General Medicine from KEM Hospital and Seth GS Medical College, the premier Medical College in Mumbai.
As a Medical student and then a Physician, I have been always trained in Medicine in a particular way, which I never got around to questioning or examining, assuming that was the way Medicine is and ought to be practiced.
As I entered private practice, as a Physician, it soon became apparent to me that while Modern Medicine does know a lot, there is a lot more that it does not know or know how to address.
For example, I would treat a patient with Hypertension, but would be left wondering what to do with the person sitting in front of me narrating about the anxiety in his life that caused the Hypertension to persist.
That is when I realised that the system of Medicine called Western or Allopathic Medicine is not equipped to deal with the person as a whole, but only with his physical problems.
I realised that this is because Western or Allopathic Medicine is based on the Scientific reductionist approach. Now what is this?
Simply put, it is a system of breaking down or reducing a complex subject into its basic observable components to enable scientists to study it more thoroughly.
Inadvertently what well meaning scientists had done was assuming that man is no more than a collection of atoms and molecules, and thus they made the cardinal error of reducing man, made in the image of God [Genesis 1] into something quite ordinary.
In doing so they redefined not only the identity of a human being, but also redefined cure in similar reductionist terms. As a result, while it has resulted in remarkable advances in Medicine and surgery, because it is scientifically tested and validated, it left unaddressed a big part of human life. So a cure for a Doctor would mean the elimination of bacteria for example, or the physical mending of a broken bone.
But humans are not just atoms and molecules! We have a spirit and a soul, with yearnings and desires that go way beyond the physical! We long for significance, meaning and value in our life, we long for love, fellowship, someone to share life with, and much more, which scientific allopathic medicine is blind to, perhaps because so called science thinks within a narrow box of what is physically testable, partly because of its foundations in Darwinian models of evolution.
The result has been the second model…
2. The pseudo scientific spiritual model
People longed for something more than just a physical cure. They wanted something that would address the deeper needs of the soul and spirit.This resulted in the emergence of the second model of Healthcare, that which tries to address the issues of the soul and spirit. There are several alternative healing ‘pathies’ here, like Homeopathy, Chinese Medicine with the concept of Yin-Yang, etc.
Unfortunately, all of them are of questionable benefit and they do not have any scientific basis at all. Yet people try these remedies because they are desperate.
3. Shalom in Health care
The best model of Healthcare is one which truly recognises that we as human beings are made in the image of God, and our value comes not from the way we look, the money we make or the family we belong to, but from the fact that we are made in the image of the God who created the entire universe. The God of Shalom.
You are much much more than just a collection of atoms and molecules!
This model recognises and uses the best of Modern Scientific medicine and integrates it into an approach that can be described as Integral person Care, addressing the whole person with dignity, respect and unconditional [agape] love.
It aims to bring the Shalom of God into the lives of people. It reconnects humans who have rebelled against God and are doing what their self desires, into a restored relationship with God the creator through the finished work of Jesus Christ His Son.
Selfishness leads us to destruction, and indeed the world is headed that way. The one who created us knows what is best for us, doesn’t He?
Shalom to you…..may you find the Shalom of God and the God of Shalom.