Home Special Interest Trail Doctor's Tour

13 nights / 14 days
Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Mumbai
This tour provides an opportunity to doctors’ to meet their Indian counterpart to exchange ideas on the subject of Medical Science. An educative tour which would facilitate a meaningful dialogue and interface among the doctor community.

In ancient India, hospitals for men and animals, were established during the reign of Maurya and Gupta Kings. Under the Emperor Asoka (260 B.C.), there were schools with attached hospitals. A few religious and charitable endowments in South India established schools with attached hospitals. Such hospitals were known as "Veera Solan". In South India an edict dated 1097 of Veera Chola Maharaj refers to a sixteen bedded hospital for students of the school attached to the templeat Tirumakundal in Chingleput District. There are also ruins of a hospital at Mahintale near Anuradhpura in Sri Lanka. It is believed to have been constructed by Mahendra,the son of Asoka. Emperor Akbar, in the 16th century, built a large hospital at Fatehpur Sikri.

Hospitals in China were built as early as the 10th century B.C.; subsequently withthe spread of Buddhism many hospitals were built by 845 A.D. In the Greco-Roman civilization "Asklepieia," - the helath resorts named after Asklepius - existed where patients were admitted and treated for their illnesses.Under the patronage of Caliph Harun- Al -Rashid (763 - 809 ) and later his son Al Mamun (786 - 833 ), the first hospital in Baghdad flourished. In Europe in the 16th century, certain religious orders were exclusively connected with nursing. Among these the Augustinian Sisters of Hotel Dieu of Paris stand supreme in their service to the sick and the infirm. In Europe the first organised hospital was built in Paris in the year 660 A.D. and named "Hotel Dieu of Paris". The first schools of medicine were started in Montpellier in 1220 and in Paris in 1270. In London, St.Bartholomew's Hospital was built in 1123 and St.Thomas Hospital in 1215. It is believed that a medieval hospital was built on the Island of Rhodes, during the Crusades by knights of St.John, in 1311.

In India, Western medicine was introduced by the Portuguese some time in the 16th century. In 1510, Albuquerque built the Royal Hospital in Goa. Many years later, in 1703, an elementary course in medicine was organised in this hospital. The East India Company built a Military Hospital in Madras in 1664; later on in 1750, it was declared open to the civilian population. In Bombay , the first hospital was opened in 1676. Later, the J.J.group of hospitals, founded in the year 1843, started functioning in May 1845. Named after Sir Jamshetjee Jejeebhoy whose munificent donation helped in the building of this hospital, the J.J.Hospital with its Grant Medical College was responsible for introducing modern allopathy to western India. The idea of starting such an institute had earlier been mooted by Sir Robert Grant, then Governer of Bombay in 1835. Earlier, medical schools had already been established in Calcutta and Madras .  

By the turn of the century, however on seeing that less qualified Britishers were preferred over competent Indian physicians for jobs, nationalists decided to build a hospital where Indian doctors could treat patients. This led to the formation of the King Edward VII Memorial (KEM Hospital) in 1926 . The famous people associated with this hospital over the years include Jivraj N Mehta and R.J. Vakil (physicians ), R.N. Cooper, A.V. Baliga, P.K.Sen (surgeons) and V.R. Khanolkar (pathologist). The Tata Memorial Hospital (1941) and the Cancer Research Institute (1952) are in the forefront of India's fight against the dreaded disease, cancer. The motto of the Tata Memorial Centre , Bombay [ comprising the above two institutions ] is ' Service, Research, Education'. This centre was built solely out of personal tragedy. Lady Meherbai Tata was sent to England in 1930 for treatment of leukaemia. Her husband, Sir Dorabji realized that such a thing would not be possible for most Indians; he decided, therefore to build a hospital for cancer patients in India. Another institution of repute is the AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), New Delhi which was started in 1956 for the development of excellence in all aspects of heath care including undergraduate and postgraduate teaching,training, research and experimentation. The heart transplant performed by P.Venugopal in 1994 was in this hospital.

Perhaps the Indian hospital best known all over the world is the Christian Medical College, Vellore. It is a 1500 bed hospital, based at a town, 130 km from Madras in South India. Ida Scudder, an American Schoolgirl was visiting her parents in India in the late 19th century. Asked to assist in a childbirth, Ida refused since she was ignorant of the procedure. To her horror, all 3 children died. This prompted Ida to study medicine in the USA. On returning to India in 1900, Ms Scudder, started a Clinic in Vellore. Later, she started a school for compounders (1903), a school for Nurses (1909) and finally a medical school for women in 1918. From 1947 onwards, males were also admitted.

nurses tour in indian hospitalIn the ancient Indian Medicine, there is a reference to the qualities a nurse should possess. To quote from Charak Samhita. "Knowledge of the manner in which drugs should be prepared or compounded for administration, cleverness, devotedness to the patient waited upon, and purity both of the mind and body, are the four qualifications of the attending nurse". Those days there were mainly male nurses, but it is probable that women played the role of the midwife in China ; they were filthy and often under the influence of alcohol . The result was that respectable girls did not enter the nursing field. Florence Nightingale however deeply believed that it was God's will that she take up nursing (much against her parents's wishes ) and did a course of training at Kaiserworth in 1851. She later joined the Hospital for Invalid Gentlewomen at London. Her success there led to her being asked to organise the nursing services in the military hospitals during the Crimean War, fought by the British, French and Turks against the Russians in 1854. Miss Nightingale with her team of 38 nurses (24 Sisters and 14 lay-women) then went to Constantinople and later to Scutari. The unhygienic conditions in the hospitals, the dirty linen, poor diet and other factors had led to a mortality of 42 per cent. Within months of their starting work, the mortality had gone down to 2 per cent. Miss Nightingale not only dressed their wounds but also saw to it that the clothes were washed well, hospitals cleaned and administered better and diet improved. It is said that every night she covered several miles of the camp carrying a small lamp. Thus she came to be known as the Lady with the Lamp. An idea of the number of patients she had to attend to may be gauged when one realises that there were four miles of beds , each barely 18 inches apart. Her devotion to duty earned for herself the love and respect of many men whose lives she saved. Prior to this, women were not included in the services of the English army. This indeed was the beginning of a new era in nursing. She also authored a book " Notes on nursing".

Other nurses who have made a contribution to modern medicine are Sister Mary Joseph and Caroline Hampton. Sister Mary Joseph was a nurse at the St. Mary's hospital, a part of the Mayo Clinic from 1899 till her death in 1939. Once, during her general examination of a patient , she noted a nodule at the umbilicus and pointed it out to Dr. William Mayo. Clinical examination later revealed it to be a metastatic tumour. These nodules, now called Sister Joseph Nodules in her memory represent metastatic carcinomas usually from the stomach , ovary or breast. The

Great American surgeon, William Halstead was in love with his chief surgical nurse, Caroline Hampton. She however developed a dermatitis due to the aseptic precaution followed in those days (1889-1890) viz. washing of the arms and hands by soap and water, followed by potassium permanganate , then oxalic acid and finally bichlorite of mercury. Halstead could not bear to see his lady love suffer. He immediately asked the Good Year Rubber Company to manufacture gloves of thin rubber for her. The use of gloves resulted in reduction of her dermatitis - and with the introduction of gloves, a decrease in the incidence of post operative infections was noted. A new chapter in surgery was thus opened. On June 4, 1890, Caroline Hampton married William Halstead.

The nursing profession was brought to India some time in February 1888 when10 nursing sisters arrived here from England. Earlier in 1872 training classes wereheld in Delhi and later in Madras in the year 1897. The first Indian nurse Bai Kashibai Ganpat of Thane was trained in J.J.Hospital, Bombay in the year 1891. The first Nursing school in India was established at Cama Hospital, Bombay in1886. By 1990, there were 23 Nursing Schools/ Colleges in India. The first Nursing School in China was established in the Mission Hospital of Foochow.

Today the role of a nurse in a modern hospital is not limited to mere doling out of medicines and dressing wounds. With the doctor concerned she activelyparticipates in restoring the patient to health and happiness. She also enjoys the key position between the doctor and the patients, and at times, a very vigilant nurse mayward off an untimely death. Just as medicine has entered a specialty age, so also there are specialties in nursing i.e. oncology nursing, psychiatry nursing. Hence, they are rightly known as "Angels of Mercy".

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