Learning is the antidote to aging

A few years ago, I had to visit a hospital because of a persistent chest infection. It so happened that the senior doctor was unavailable and hence a relatively junior doctor had to attend to me.

During the consultation, this junior doctor seemed really apologetic that the senior doctor was not available and kept telling me that she had consulted him on phone. Maybe she felt that I did not trust her because she did not have a ton of experience.

I told her I had full faith in her judgment and she needn’t worry. After all, she was a respiratory medicine specialist.

And the medicine she gave worked like magic and I fully recovered in two weeks.

Even in the past, I have had a situation when a junior orthopedic surgeon diagnosed a problem that the seniormost doctor in Trivandrum could not.

There is no doubt that experience matters, esp. in medical practice.

But here are two caveats:

1. Experience matters only till we keep learning. Once learning stops, people decline rather than going up.

2. Youngsters sometimes make up for experience with sheer brilliance and cutting-edge knowledge.

If we don’t keep learning, more experience only makes us less competent. Learning is the antidote to aging.

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