Data Driven Doc: Oracle of Delphi

shutterstock_262687568Donald Trump won today. As I sit and write, my calendar says that it is 9/11 in India today-(dd/mm). Is that a coincidence? 


I trained at a Los Angeles County Medical Center. Through the long hours of my residency, I learned that Spanish was a language of labor and pain in Southern California. Words that said that I broke my neck falling back from an unsecured ladder painting a store. Words that said I couldn’t afford to take the day off when my left eye went blind.  I learned Spanish the easy way- listening to stories of hard work and family. I learned to recognize that Maria Garcia was a pseudonym for my community of paperless, and that papers didn’t bestow humanity, but they granted freedom and access to care. 


As I neared graduation, the number of people speaking Spanish in the emergency room only grew. Excluded from Obamacare, they seemed to be a larger constituency of the county ERs. I would meet adolescents who spoke fluent English and were excited about DACA, and the chance to finally have a chance at life with their families in the open. The world they lived in today, with no access to insurance and no healthcare outside an ER didn’t bother them. There was hope. The prospect of change. The world was opening up. 


The change today is disheartening. If the president elect is to be believed, all non-white immigrants are in for a more scrutinized time ahead. 


When Gitika and I founded Navya in 2010, we were exploring names. I always thought of Delphi, and the Oracle. Ask it any medical question, and get advice. Instantly. For free. 

 Emergency physicians across the USA are that oracle of Delphi for the poor and paperless in this country

Emergency physicians across the USA are that oracle of Delphi for the poor and paperless in this country.  But that is not enough- Doctors are system bound humans and the likes of our president elect could change the rules such that we may not be able to take care of our working brethren without checking their papers first. 


Navya must expand. The intelligence and the wealth of experience it can harness for every medical question, not just cancer, not just in India and the USA, must be available to everyone. The access that a human has to healthcare must not depend on Obama or Trump in the White House. This is a human right that we all must have access too. 


When 9/11 happened – I was too young and naive to realize how it would change the world. This time around I can imagine the small minded emboldened actions of the few that wish to keep the many at bay. 


My only resolve is to double down on what I can do best. Provide first rate opinions, advice and care to people who want it- regardless of race, language, caste, creed, ability to pay or education. Create a system, a service and a company, Navya, that makes human biases obsolete in this mission. My resolve to ensure that everyone has access to the world’s best medical minds has just doubled. For that, I will thank our president elect, Donald Trump. 


-Dr. Naresh Ramarajan

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