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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 65

Desperate to innovate?

Department of Ophthalmology, Little Flower Hospital and Research Centre, Angamaly, Kerala, India

Date of Web Publication10-Aug-2017

Correspondence Address:
Ashok Nataraj
Department of Ophthalmology, Little Flower Hospital and Research Centre, Angamaly, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kjo.kjo_85_17

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How to cite this article:
Nataraj A. Desperate to innovate?. Kerala J Ophthalmol 2017;29:65

How to cite this URL:
Nataraj A. Desperate to innovate?. Kerala J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 May 7];29:65. Available from: http://www.kjophthal.com/text.asp?2017/29/2/65/212767

Dear Friends,

I am meeting you with the latest issue of Kerala Journal of Ophthalmology.

I once again thank each one of you for your support and help.

“Necessity is the mother of all inventions.” Where there is a need, there is sincere effort. So, “need” is the most important driving force behind any innovation. Well, what is need? It is either you “need” it for your personal benefit or a “need” that immensely benefits the patient or it can be a healthy combination of both. What benefits whom is a very thin line that we tread upon justifying ourselves with a skillful mental routine.

A glaring example of this was the controversial drug trial that was conducted on “mentally challenged” patients in Indore.[1] It was alleged that for more than 2 years, from 2008 to 2010, trials were conducted flouting ethical guidelines. As details emerged, questions were raised about the role of independent or commercial (as compared to Institutional) Ethics Committees, improper documentation of consent, and vulnerability of research participants.[2]

It is time we asked ourselves some pertinent questions. Are we first putting our idea through the rigors of ethical and moral checks before we try it on the patient? Do we take a detailed consent from the patient telling him/her that we are doing an experiment on him/her? With academic pressures, the need to publish is becoming unbearable, and we are now “desperate to innovate.” It is never too late to put away all these so-called compulsions and take a moment to introspect on our own actions. Just ask yourself, “Will I do the same if it were my kith and kin.”

India, as an emerging economy, needs to continue to promote a strong culture of research and development, including in the health sector. However, attention needs to be paid to ensure that stringent quality checks are built in and that investigators conduct research in an impeccable manner. Failure to do so will dent the credibility of the research enterprise, affecting not just investigators or institutions conducting research but also those planning to do so.[2]

I could only think of Gandhiji at this juncture with his beautiful quote on action and where it should lead us to.

“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man (woman) whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him (her). Will he (she) gain anything by it? Will it restore him (her) to a control over his (her) own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to Swaraj (freedom) for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?

Then you will find your doubts and yourself melt away.”

One of the last notes left behind by Gandhi in 1948, expressing his deepest social thought.


  References Top

Rajalakshmi TK. Criminal Trials. The Frontline 2012;29. Available from: http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2902/stories/20120210290203300.htm. [Last cited on 2012 Mar 10].  Back to cited text no. 1
Bhan A. Clinical trial ethics in India: One step forward, two steps back. J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2012;3:95-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
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