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Indian-American author wonders about ”the perfect candidate”

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By-Arun Kumar

Washington: T Dasu, an Indian-American author got a suggestion for the Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump: “Veer to the centre, and pick a positive, uplifting message.” His new novel is about a former spy who turned a politician.

“Fear-mongering can only take you so far,” says T Dasu, by day a research scientist working on problems in statistics, stream mining, and machine learning, and author of “The Perfect Candidate”, the second in her “Spy, Interrupted” trilogy.

“Also, pick a smart woman as a running mate,” she says on behalf of the campaign team of her novel’s hero, a former CIA operative with an Indian-American wife, running for a US Senate seat.

“No, not Carly Fiorina. Nikki Haley?” she asks, referring to former HP CEO, who has quit the presidential race, and the Indian-American governor of South Carolina.

“Intolerance of any kind should be rejected forcefully, particularly when it is institutionalized and turned on those least able to fight it,” Dasu said in an email interview.

“Politicians will say and do anything to get elected,” she said when asked about the intolerance debate in India and the kind of rhetoric heard on the US presidential campaign trail.

“And very often the media fans the fire by amplifying and repeating the most obnoxious and heinous words,” Dasu said.

“That’s why it was important to me that the hero, Stephen James, should have no part in it; his intolerance is turned towards people’s behaviour – for example, terrorist acts.”

In Dasu’s opinion, “there is no perfect candidate in the presidential race at the moment, not counting her fictional hero Stephen James, who “is principled, fearless and wants to save the world”.

Among the Democrats, Bernie Sanders “is impractical and too focussed on one issue, (Hillary) Clinton has a credibility problem, and the Republicans all want to take us back to medieval times”.

She, however, believes that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified and capable candidate in the field.

Dasu said she was inspired to write spy novels as “I have always been a fan of literary espionage, starting with Graham Greene’s ‘Our Man in Havana’, and the early works of John le Carre, particularly the Karla trilogy”.

“The focus is on characters and their motivation rather than pure plot developments,” she said. “And being a spy is such a rich and complex human condition – to deceive in order to defend.”

Dasu said her novels had more romance and social drama than spy craft because “I am curious about the lives of spies rather than their deeds or craft”.

“How do they relate to the people around them? How do their significant others ever trust them? What do they need to do in order to keep their professional habits from seeping into their personal interactions?”

“I wanted to write about the spy as seen through the eyes of the people close to them,” Dasu said. “And, I have to admit, I love Jane Austen as much as I love literary espionage.”

“So, romance and social drama and other situations faced by every thinking woman naturally creep into my writing.”

But she disagreed “strongly that the South Asian characters in the book are stereotypical”.

“First of all, most South Asian characters and writing focus on immigrant angst and adjustment issues – Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Divakaruni – the whole culture clash between Western and Indian values.”

Most of the South Asian characters in her book, she acknowledged, are “very well adjusted and happy, to the point of perfection”.

But the last book in her trilogy “is very different from the first two books,” she said. “It has a unique setting and an unusual story arc.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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Increased Data Entry Workloads Are Pushing USA Doctors Towards Burnout

The types of mistakes that doctor burnout may trigger impact public safety, as well as quality of care

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Data, USA, Doctors
A report by Harvard researchers even categorized physician burnout as "a public health crisis." Pixabay

Technology is changing the healthcare landscape with American doctors now needing to complete more data entry work to account for an array of factors, including the possibility of medical malpractice, according to a Becker Hospital Review report. The extra workload is making it harder for doctors to feel energized and positive while they are on the job. In fact, 13 percent of doctors place the blame for their feelings of burnout directly on their increased data entry workloads. When doctors burn out, they are prone to making mistakes which put patients at risk. So this extra workload, some of which is designed to lower the risk of medical malpractice lawsuits, may ironically be resulting in an uptick in legal issues.

Doctor burnout needs to be addressed

Doctors who are burnt out are twice as likely to make mistakes, which may have severe or even fatal consequences for patients. A report by Harvard researchers even categorized physician burnout as “a public health crisis.” The types of mistakes that doctor burnout may trigger impact public safety, as well as quality of care. Doctors who burn out and make medical errors frequently suffer psychological turmoil, which may extend to suicidal thoughts, and may also end up in court due to medical malpractice lawsuits. Janet, Janet & Suggs asserts that medical malpractice lawsuits are filed to access compensation and justice for victims of medical malpractice. These cases are on the rise in several states, including Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Vermont, based on recent information from the National Practitioner Data Bank. As a consequence of the growing amount of data entry required of doctors, burnout is considered an urgent problem, especially since some malpractice lawsuits can be directly linked to physicians being overworked.

Physician burnout affects everyone

Data, USA, Doctors
Doctors who are burnt out are twice as likely to make mistakes, which may have severe or even fatal consequences for patients. Pixabay

Almost 50 percent of US doctors report feelings of failure, exhaustion, and depression, as a result of their long hours, hard work, and ever-increasing quantity of patients. Extra data entry work is part of the problem, and another issue is that fact that there are so many patients and only 1.1 million physicians. Since Americans need health care that they can trust, physician burnout can unfortunately affect doctors in every practice and field. Skyrocketing medical malpractice lawsuits in some US states tell a story about the impact that long hours and electronic health record (EHR) systems are having on physicians. Doctors don’t always have access to the latest technology while they practice medicine. This means that they may need to spend even more time updating records. Better technology might lead to lower incidences of doctor burnout and medical malpractice lawsuits, but other solutions should also be sought.

Also Read- Tanzania Denies Withholding Information from WHO on Suspected Cases of Ebola

Americans need to be aware of the pressures placed on doctors, but also need to understand that they may be at higher risk of being subjected to medical mistakes as a consequence of physician burnout. The burnout issue among physicians is something that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, so doctors are able to deliver the best quality of care possible and avoid malpractice lawsuits.