Indian philosophical wisdom starts with an undifferentiated reservoir of knowledge called the Veda, which was later grouped into four major branches. The knowledge incorporated in the Vedas is not limited to just a spiritual quest. They deal with all aspects of human life, from the most mundane to the most spiritual. The word Veda is derived from the root word, vid which means to know.

It is said that the wisdom incorporated in the Veda was not authored by a human agent. There is a great controversy about this assertion. How can something be written or passed-on by a non-human…


When’s the last time you felt bored? Maybe it’s when you were listening to a presentation that failed to keep you even mildly engaged, or when you plastered a smile on your face to play the same game with your kids for the tenth time in a row? Or maybe it was in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, where the clock on the wall ticked off the minutes as if they were hours? Or maybe it’s due to home confinement to control the spread of virus during a pandemic?

Boredom is a momentary condition characterized by lack of…


Acknowledge this reality: Technology is always going to affect how you practice medicine. Among all fields of human advancement, medicine will likely see the most changes. Embrace them. If you’re not going to be part of the way forward, someone else will be. The worst thing you can do is to banish these new developments or to hide from them. In doing so, you’re disenfranchising yourself from the progress and surrendering your autonomy to powers outside of the profession. Instead, take them in stride from the start. …


I’m running out of options, I thought to myself after the nurse, Sarah, paged me. She wanted to let me know that the Trazodone — our fourth pill in a trial of treatments for our patient — also hadn’t helped. I was becoming powerless to Walter’s inability to have a restful night’s sleep.

Our patient was Walter Stephenson*, a 40-year-old African American man, though upon first glance he appeared older. Tall and moderately built, he looked rugged, with high cheekbones and a small gap between his two front teeth. …


One of the most frustrating moments for many patients is hearing their doctor say, “I don’t know.”

As a hospital physician, I regularly encounter patients who have questions. They want to understand their diagnoses. They’re upset about a lack of answers; they know something is going on with them, but we haven’t figured out what. They feel unmoored and shaken by news of illnesses like late-stage cancer and want to know, why me?

These are questions all medical professionals seek to answer, especially in the modern day physician-patient relationship, where doctors are acting as scientists who study the nuances and…


“All clear. One. Two. Three. Shock!”

For 10 years, I’ve been running Code Blue, a term indicating the emergency situation in hospitals that requires attempting to revive a crashing patient. Nerve-racking and intense, the process is always challenging. Perfecting the art of staying calm in the midst of the storm is something doctors strive to attain constantly, no matter how experienced they may be.

The rush to bring back a vanished pulse, however, is a rather recent phenomenon; it’s only about a century old in the medical profession. Physicians in antiquity were under much less pressure, or at least very…


In May of 2013, in the middle of a 14-hour flight from Chicago to New Delhi, I heard an overhead announcement in a voice rattled with anxiety, “Any doctor on board, please attend to a sick person.” I squeezed past my seatmate into the narrow aisle where a pale, middle-aged man sat several rows back.

When I asked him what was wrong, the man spoke sluggishly and complained of dizziness. I checked to make sure he was breathing without difficulty and was relieved to find that he was. …


British physician Richard Lower became the nucleus of the Royal Society in the 1660s when he demonstrated how shaking an open glass tube containing venous blood changed the dark purplish color to bright red as it mixed with air.

As this happened right before the eyes of the audience, Lower categorically proved how venous blood becomes arterial. Then, via his methodical dissections, he traced the circulation of blood as it passed through the lungs and heart. Working like a chemist, he demonstrated how the blood in the test tube behaved like that in our body as it passed through lungs.


I once had a patient, Charles*, with severe emphysema. Despite our best efforts, all treatments failed. At the age of 72, his lungs were so frail that we weren’t able to wean him off ventilator support. Right from the beginning, the man’s wife, Patricia*, was very involved in his care. When it came time for her to make the tough decision of switching from aggressive treatment to only providing comfort measures, we stepped into the hall. Beneath the lights of the harsh overhead, Patricia said, “I completely understand intellectually,” and here she raised one finger of her shaking hand to…


I was flying to Boston to attend a medical conference in the spring of 2015 when we were delayed after boarding. The captain announced he needed clearance from the ground engineers for a minor problem that had been detected during the standard diagnostics performed before takeoff. As I sat in my seat watching the bustling airport through my window, the announcement smacked me with the undeniable recognition that my job as a doctor wasn’t much different from how the ground engineers and pilots ran the plane.

Years ago, when jet engines were adopted by commercial airline companies, they were incredibly…

Rajeev Kurapati

Rajeev Kurapati MD, MBA writes about health, wellness and self-discovery. He is an award winning author.

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