Empathy and healthcare

Drama at a Medical Conference

It is not often that a healthcare symposium opens its doors to theatre companies to showcase their talent. But that is exactly what will happen at St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, when they host the fifth National Bioethics Conference  in December 2014.

Besides talks, discussions and workshops on the theme of ‘Integrity and corruption in medical practice’, a parallel film and theatre festival is being planned to complement the three-day conference as a part of this initiative.

Short 10-minute plays, specially written for the NBC – and critically appraised by Mahesh Dattani, India’s foremost English playwright – will form the evening of theatre. Theatre that is entertaining, relevant and meaningful.

eng-surgeon-1Plus there will be a day-long screening of documentary films on the subject of empathy and ethics in healthcare – among them the award-winning The English Surgeon.

Empathy is what makes us human. It is this ability to put ourselves in another person’s shoes that is the basis of humane societies.  And innumerable studies suggest empathy plays a key role in positive health outcomes.

At a time when the medical fraternity in India has increasingly been put under the microscope for ethical scrutiny, the plays and films will seek to reaffirm the value of this basic human quality and its role in medical practice.