In an era where we have career opportunities which require less efforts as compared to the age old , so called noble profession ( which is considered to have commercialised by most of the people today and that’s why I refer to it as “ so called “ noble profession) with much earlier and lucrative returns; why do I and people like me who are madly in love with the concept of being doctors and would never ever want to be anything less if ever given a chance again to be but Doctors all over again.
A small yet significant incident from my days as a Senior resident in the surgical unit.
"What did you do yesterday?” asked my boss. It was our after rounds coffee in the canteen session.
Last night was very busy and we were exhausted due to lack of sleep and our blood glucose levels were shooting down. None of us were in a mood for a pleasant chat.
We finished a laparotomy for small bowel obstruction in a 20 year old engineering student around 10 in the night and were heading for our dinner after reassuring the anxious parents that he is going to be okay......when we got a call from Casualty Medical Officer.
The patient was a 35 year old electricity line man who fell down from a pole while at work. His CT showed hemoperitoneum (blood in the abdomen) with a splenic laceration and he was in early shock.
His wife of about 30 rushed in five minutes later along with a kid of about 5. She was clueless and almost went hysteric when we asked her to sign the consent for surgery. His colleagues took charge, he was wheeled into the OT and in less than an hour his spleen was waving a permanent goodbye to his body.
The usual ritual of profuse thanking by the family followed when we went out and our chief resident donned the role of a smiling hero reassuring a frightened victim.
We admitted two more patients later – one with cellulitis of left leg and other with a gall stone pancreatitis and before we realised, it was time to start our resident rounds in the morning.
When we narrated the whole story to our boss, he repeated the question " What else did you do?"
Irritated, our chief resident quipped, “We lost one more day of sleep, dinner and good time with the family”.
Now it was my boss’ turn to play the hero.
“For you it may be a 10cm segment of gangrenous bowel and a ruptured spleen,....But yesterday, you kept alive the hopes and love of a couple which they nurtured for 20 years.
You prevented a young lady from becoming a widow and a small kid from losing his dad forever.
You relieved the agony of patient who had to suffer for no fault of his and helped a rickshaw puller from his leg getting chopped off forever by acting early.
A "night’s sleep and dinner are nothing compared to what they might lose had you not acted there".
We often don’t understand the influence we exert on the lives of others. When we do, we all will be much more careful in our attitudes and actions. With a single stroke of the scalpel, we can extend lives by decades. By our decisions, we decide whether a person lives or dies.
We are blessed to be in a profession like this" he said, and drew the last sip of coffee.
We all got up and left to our wards, with awareness and understanding of what a blessing it is to be a doctor and our hearts filled with pride and humility at the same time.
Lesson learnt for a lifetime - As long as life exists, despite all its shortcomings, this will be the best profession and we are the real heroes.
Dr. Nadeem Niyaz Jan Senior Consultant Vascular Surgery
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.