i remember having a conversation last year sometime when Dr. Sharad
Philip's career as a psychiatrist was hanging in the balance after
having completed his education. he has finally found some of his
heart's desires as this article below speaks of. this may serve as a
precedent and also carve a pathway for other aspirants such as Sharad
to make their careers in medicine.
Congratulations Sharad!
before reading the article, there are some inaccurate and perceived
information the newspaper seems to have derived from their
conversation with Sharad. When I called to congratulate him, he
mentioned the following inaccuracies:
1 there are no courses for the blind that NIMHANS offers . what i had
meant to say was that NIMHANS was the only institution that allowed me
to have the service of a scribe to give the online entrance
examination and also the main written examinations within the course .
2 i have low vision due to retinitis pigmentosa and so it is not that
i do not see my patients at all rather i am unable to see hem as well
as i would liked .
3 i am directly involved in patient care and do not just suggest the
therapies and go as the article reports .
the article...
Bengaluru: Despite poor vision, this NIMHANS psychiatrist has a unique
way of seeing patients
By Sridevi S  |  Express News Service  |   Published: 18th February
2018 05:01 AM  |
Last Updated: 18th February 2018 06:57 AM  |   A+A A-   |
    BENGALURU: When Sharad Philip, a 32-year-old man, was handed his
medical degree at NIMHANS in December 2017, an extraordinary thing
happened. First, his classmates began to applaud, then their families,
the faculty and university officials joined in. And within a few
minutes all the people in Convention Hall stood up and cheered.
Philip’s face shone with pride.
Dr Sharad Philip with his mother
Shalini Raji Philip at the
NIMHANS convocation
Dr Philip, a psychiatrist at NIMHANS, has a unique way of seeing
patients.  In fact, he doesn’t see them at all. He has low-vision
since early childhood. “Who better than me, who has always been
discriminated throughout my life, can empathise with the patients
suffering from mental illness,” smiles Philip.
Philip has retinitis pigmentosa in both eyes. This condition changes
how the retina responds to light, making it hard to see. The degree of
disability is 70 per cent and is permanent.
Philip recalls that as a kid, he was not able to read what was written
on the board in classrooms. “When I was in third standard, my mother
took me to a doctor, who confirmed the disability. My mother was heart
broken.” But, he decided to struggle against all odds.
Philip’s day begins just like any of ours. He works at the
rehabilitation centre in NIMHANS. He stays alone in the hostel given
to the resident doctors. He wakes up, finishes his daily chores, and
walks to work in the same campus. He meets patients, suggests  the
therapy required and goes on rounds with other doctors. He knows a
knack for getting his patients to relax and open up with him. On the
other hand, many of his patients won’t even know that he has
“I take the help of technology and my colleagues to understand the
patients’ problems,” he says.
Clinical examination is one area that Philip feels is challenging when
seeing patients. He won’t be able to understand the physical features,
in terms of disability, of his patients and needs assistance from his
colleagues. But once he gets the reports and diagnosis, there is no
stopping for him.
The biggest challenge, according to Philip, is that the lack of
opportunities for people like him.“NIMHANS is one of the very few
institutes which offers a course for the blind. I was fortunate enough
to get admission and get a degree from here,” he says. Philip wants
other institutions too to give opportunities to people like him.
Philip is also grateful to assistive technology, like screen readers,
which makes him less dependent on others.
Philip has written all his exams with the help of a scribe. Vivek
Perumal, who has been his scribe for the last three years, says,
“Philip is extremely knowledgeable. Both my wife and I used to write
for him. We are no value addition for what he knows. He is one of the
most brilliant chaps we know.”
Philip has two brothers and he is the eldest. All three of them have
the same problem - retinitis pigmentosa. While one of them is pursuing
MBA at IIM-B, another is pursuing BSc Mathematics in New Delhi.
Philip says his parents were very encouraging. “My parents never let
me make my health issues an excuse and are the most encouraging
parents I could have asked for,” beams Philip.
Proud mother ShaliniRaji Philip says, “Initially it was difficult for
him to come to terms with his poor vision. Also, he used to be bullied
at school especially during sports class. But Philip had the courage
to take it sportively and outgrew it. His achievements today speak
volumes about him.”
Philip is also well versed in 5 languages -- English, Hindi, Kannada,
Punjabi and Malayalam. He has travelled across the country with his
friends and is learning to play the guitar. “Of course I see the world
way too differently and it is a beautiful place. In fact, I credit it
to people around me – my family, friends, co-workers and teachers –
who make the world beautiful for me,” he says.
‘I don’t want to be limited as an object of inspiration’
Philip is clear that he just doesn’t want to be seen as an ‘object of
inspiration’.  “When you meet someone with a disability, connect with
them as a human. We are normal human beings with the same desires,
drives, dreams, and ambitions as the next person. Give credit where
it’s due, but don’t reduce us to an object of inspiration that is
constantly overcoming simply by living our daily life. You might
discover something quite extraordinary… that we are simply ordinary,”
he says.

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