MY CHILDHOOD, MY DOCTOR

Medicine can just cure a disease, it is the healing touch of a doctor that treats the patient; how aptly it captures the relationship between a doctor and a patient. Doctor is not just a practitioner of medicine, he is a healer. Dr Amarjit Singh Sethi, legendary paediatrician who passed away on 8th April, was a healer. I know it, and my childhood is a witness to it. He was ex HoD paediatrics, GMC Srinagar and first Paediatrician from Kashmir to get his degree from All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

I have known Dr Sethi ever since I was five months old. He has been my doctor all my life – my healer. As a grew up, and my childhood years were now behind, my mother still took me to his clinic whenever I was unwell. He too treated me as a small baby, always.  And would often say, “You are still the same little child for me who used to be so afraid of injections.’

He was not only a great doctor but also a wonderful human being. His radiant smile and gentle touch would do miracles. I remember one day my sister fell seriously ill. It was around 11 in the night, and she was trembling with fever. My mother called him and he was kind enough to ask her to bring her to his place. When we reached there, he examined my sister and gave some medicines and even refused to take fee.

I believe being a paediatrician is the most difficult task because one has to deal with patients who cannot speak or express themselves. But, Dr Amarjit made it seem the easiest job. He was so precise with his diagnosis that he could pin point the problem by just looking at the child.

He is the most humble doctor I have seen. He was so diligent, so knowledgeable, and so hardworking that he continued to work until last year. He has been a doctor for over five decades and yet he never let his tiredness reflect in his work. He was dedicated to his profession and he never worked for money. His patients mattered to him the most. Even in his old age, he worked more than many young doctors we have. Dr Sethi conducted his practice in his small clinic at Lal chowk. It was also his father Dr Mohan Singh Sethi’s clinic. Each time I visited his clinic, he used to remind me how I cried and screamed just at the sight of an injection; and would jokingly say,’ Ruk  tere liye mai  abhi injection lata hun.'( Wait, I’ll just get the injection for you).

I met him in November, last year. Never in my wildest imagination I could have thought that it would be the last meeting. When my friend informed me about his death, I just couldn’t believe. When I saw him last, he was perfectly alright.

There are so many people in your life who may not be related to you by blood but they are still a very important part of your life, and it’s hard to believe when they are gone. Dr Sethi was a part of my childhood. I never got a chance to express my gratitude to him and it gives me immense pain to think that I’m writing for him when he is not there to read it.

Although, he has gone, but he had left behind thousands of fond memories for me to cherish all my life. I will miss him very much. May his soul rest in peace!