Hippocratic is a documentary that talks about first-hand experiences of a Doctor, palliative care advocate in India by the name Professor MR Rajagopal, better known as ‘Dr. Raj’. His mission being ethical practice to modern medicine through whole person care and universal access to morphine, the storyline seeks to educate and remind health practitioners to view patients as human beings rather than sick people.

“Some of you who are listening today are medical students or nursing students.  You would have possibly taken a Hippocratic Oath some of you would have taken it seriously.  For some like me, it was just a ritual; I was not touched by it because it seemed too idealistic and impractical.  It was so contradictory to what I saw practiced around me.”

The Hippocratic Oath is a solemn pledge taken by physicians that articulate the key principles of ethical medicine and this is what Dr. Raj extensively explains in the documentary. He uses a lot of quotes from his favorite mentor Mahatma Gandhi which resonates with the day to day encounters with his patients.

Pain management is a dominant epidemic in most of developing countries, something that is not dealt on seriously as it should, most patients have succumbed to pain while others have committed suicide, and this is one of the sad stories documented in the Hippocratic film documentary.

In honor of the World Hospice and Palliative care day, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) organized a film session on 13th October 2017 at the Kenya Medical Training College, Nairobi (KMTC). The event was attended by 70 Medical and Nursing students at the institution.

The medical students’ faces portrayed a sense of sadness and willingness as they watched the documentary to help out in matters of pain management as they practice medicine in the Institution. “We have learned a lot from the documentary as medical students,” one of the students said as he was giving his closing speech.

Students also acknowledged that most of them have been subjected to believing that health professionalism is just treating diseases rather than treating the ‘whole’ patient but after watching the documentary they learned that being medical practitioners entails one to view a patient as a whole person. A nursing student called Mulhat, after watching the documentary, volunteered to be a palliative care provider.

The Hippocratic film had a great impact on the medical and nursing students at the Institution. This is an incredible start towards molding young health practitioners to practice palliative care extensively. They requested that the film to be shown again for their colleagues who were not able to be there. KEHPCA plans to have more shows across the country during our training of Health Care Professionals.

Hippocratic – 18 Experiments in Gently Shaking the World’ documentary was released worldwide on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day – 14 October 2017.

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