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HomeJune 15-30, 2024From Cobblers to Pakora Vendors Dr. Munawar Aziz MCPS*

From Cobblers to Pakora Vendors Dr. Munawar Aziz MCPS*

The art of treating burns has now shifted from cobblers to pakora vendors. My handyman was busy with plumbing issues in my home when his cell phone rang. After listening to the call, he became worried and told me that his son had burned his hand with boiling water and that my wife wanted me to take him to a pakora vendor in a town about 25 km away to apply a special ointment on the burn area. Despite my attempts to convince him to take the child to a hospital or at least show the child to a nearby doctor, he left saying that he must take the child to that man because he applies some homemade ointment on the burned area, and it works wonders because the pakora vendor is a very pious man!

Dr. Munawar Aziz

Previously, I had heard about a cobbler treating such cases, but it was news to me to hear about a pakora vendor mastering this art. Such is the state of our common man’s belief that they will not go to any doctor or visit any hospital until things become untreatable, and then they blame the doctors for negligence.

Burns with boiling water/tea, steam from cookers, hot irons, etc., are common occurrences in every household. Most are superficial burns requiring no treatment except washing with normal tap water for at least ten minutes and applying some soothing cream for burns. No oil, butter, toothpaste, etc., is recommended. It is better to cover the burned area with a moist dressing. Blisters formed in some cases are a natural protection of the burned skin and should not be punctured to avoid infection.

Fires in commercial areas, households, and during roadside accidents have become a routine phenomenon, especially in the summer months, often due to faulty electric wiring or bursting of liquid gas cylinders, often resulting in severe burns requiring immediate treatment at burn units specially equipped with necessary equipment and properly trained staff to handle such emergencies.

The sad part is that this specialty is grossly overlooked, resulting in the majority of hospitals having no burn units, leading to the loss of precious lives. Ever wondered why people prefer to go to quacks instead of qualified doctors? It is because the quacks know the art of communication and the psychology of human nature, they talk to their clients.
In this particular case he spent five times more than what it would have costed him to consult a local doctor besides bearing cost of travelling, but it was the art of communication that attracted him to go there.

Lesson learned is, talk to your patients, listen to their stories in order to develop a state of confidence, its the art in addition to science that matters.

  • Dr. Munawar Aziz
    Abbottabad, Pakistan.


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