Modern medicine, characterised by the enormous impact of rapid advances in science and technology, has vastly enhanced the doctor’s professional capabilities and has made the practice of medicine more intellectually challenging as well as professionally satisfying. It has also made medicine more complex and demanding. In addition to having to keep pace with rapid medical advances, the doctor has to deal with 1) the issue of sorting the wheat from the chaff out of the deluge of new drugs and equipment presented to him, 2) the issue of rationing and determining priorities within the limits of finite resources, 3) the issue of appropriate response to new ethical challenges presented by the application of new technologies and 4) the issue of maintaining the human face of medicine in the context of growing presence and impact of technology. As doctors, we have the responsibility to ensure that through steadfast commitment to professionalism, through wisdom and insight we can harvest and maximise the vast potential of technology in caring for our patients. This is a challenge we must accept in the cause of our patients’ welfare, the paramount concern of our professional creed.
I am deeply honoured by the invitation to deliver the 16th Tun Dr Ismail Oration and I wish to thank the Master and Council of the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia for this rare privilege of addressing a distinguished gathering such as this, as previous illustrious orators had done since 1974.
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