Saturday, 17 February 2018

[] Bengaluru: Despite poor vision, this NIMHANS psychiatrist has a unique way of seeing patients


Bengaluru: Despite poor vision, this NIMHANS psychiatrist has a unique way of seeing patients - Philip has retinitis pigmentosa in both eyes.

BENGALURU: When Sharad Philip, a 32-year-old man, was handed his medical degree at NIMHANS in December 2017, an extraordinary thing happened. First, his classmates began to applaud, then their families, the faculty and university officials joined in. And within a few minutes all the people in Convention Hall stood up and cheered. Philip's face shone with pride..

Dr Philip, a psychiatrist at NIMHANS, has a unique way of seeing patients.  In fact, he doesn't see them at all. He has low-vision since early childhood. "Who better than me, who has always been discriminated throughout my life, can empathise with the patients suffering from mental illness," smiles Philip.

Philip has retinitis pigmentosa in both eyes. This condition changes how the retina responds to light, making it hard to see. The degree of disability is 70 per cent and is permanent.

Philip recalls that as a kid, he was not able to read what was written on the board in classrooms. "When I was in third standard, my mother took me to a doctor, who confirmed the disability. My mother was heart broken." But, he decided to struggle against all odds.

Philip's day begins just like any of ours. He works at the rehabilitation centre in NIMHANS. He stays alone in the hostel given to the resident doctors. He wakes up, finishes his daily chores, and walks to work in the same campus. He meets patients, suggests  the therapy required and goes on rounds with other doctors. He knows a knack for getting his patients to relax and open up with him. On the other hand, many of his patients won't even know that he has low-vision!

"I take the help of technology and my colleagues to understand the patients' problems," he says.

Clinical examination is one area that Philip feels is challenging when seeing patients. He won't be able to understand the physical features, in terms of disability, of his patients and needs assistance from his colleagues. But once he gets the reports and diagnosis, there is no stopping for him.

Philip has written all his exams with the help of a scribe. Vivek Perumal, who has been his scribe for the last three years, says, "Philip is extremely knowledgeable. Both my wife and I used to write for him. We are no value addition for what he knows. He is one of the most brilliant chaps we know."
Philip has two brothers and he is the eldest. All three of them have the same problem - retinitis pigmentosa. While one of them is pursuing MBA at IIM-B, another is pursuing BSc Mathematics in New Delhi.

Philip is also well versed in 5 languages -- English, Hindi, Kannada, Punjabi and Malayalam. He has travelled across the country with his friends and is learning to play the guitar. "Of course I see the world way too differently and it is a beautiful place. In fact, I credit it to people around me – my family, friends, co-workers and teachers – who make the world beautiful for me," he says.

full article in the link below  


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