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Poetic potion for pathology

india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 13:13 IST

“Logos is study and disease Pathos means,On the shoulder of Pathology, everyone leans.Anatomy to surgery & physiology to medicine, is the goal Acting as a go-between, is pathology’s role. Who, Why, Where and What,Says How – Forget me not. W’s four and H one – the famous five,Keep they, the science of Pathology alive.”

THESE initial lines of a poem are a gist of pathology for you. And no, it’s not an attempt by a poet at things medical. But it is a poem penned by a medical professional.

Meet Dr Sanjeev Narang, assistant professor of pathology at the MGM Medical College, Indore. He has similar poems on 15 topics of pathology to his credit. What is covered on an average in 10-15 pages in medical books, he offers a gist of that in 10-20 lines; that too rhymed in simple English.

“I always feel, you tend to remember things more when they are rhymed. That is why we possibly remember those odd TV jingles or even film songs. So, I have chosen this form,” Dr Narang, who has been writing poems since his childhood, told the Hindustan Times.

As it is, medical students have to go through huge volumes on different subjects  and most of them end up mugging up the information rather than understanding and remembering it.

Poems definitely change this pattern. In all, 15 poems have been put on display in the practical hall of the Pathology Department.

Says Dr Rakesh Mehar, an MD (pathology) student, “Main points of any topic, like how to diagnose, classification etc, are highlighted in sir’s poems. This helps us in both viva and theory.” More than 500 students of pathology have benefitted from Dr Narang’s poems.

“Well, this is just a beginning. I have more than 30 such poems on different topics already. A publisher has agreed to print these in a booklet form, which would be sent to all medical colleges in India,” says Dr Narang.

A typical example can be given of a poem on Hodgkin’s disease, which in just 10 lines covers what fine print of four pages tell about introduction of the topic, classification (5 types), morphology, tables about clinical staging, classification of Hodgkin Lymphoma, Etiology & Pathogenesis, clinical course apart from pictures.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published two of Dr Narang’s poems in December 2004 issue thus corroborating the quality – content, English and literary value.

But despite high quality English, these poems are easy to understand or remember by students. “As it is, ours is a tough topic. But Dr Narang has simplified the whole thing in poetic form,” say Dr Amar Gangwani and Dr Bharat Ratnani, also MD (Pathology) students.

To a query on why he did not pursue literary field and chose to enter medical profession, the 45-year-old professor, who has also received a letter of commendation from President APJ Abdul Kalam for his translation of Bhagwat Geeta into English, says, “Unfortunately, there is no importance to the literary field in our country. But, I don’t regret choosing this profession as medical field has its own charm.”

 “A creative process like poetry cannot be planned, it depends on so many factors, most important being mood,” he shares. But one thing that Dr Narang definitely plans is to write more and more poems as and when possible on pathology. “I feel privileged to have knowledge of pathology and ability to express it in poetic form.”