An event that is etched firmly in my memory is the case of Draupadi—a housewife with a child 11-months old—who was admitted to hospital with 60 per cent burns. Though therapeutic management was taught to us, executing it in the wards was by no means easy. I had to run to my seniors and get their help in understanding the practical aspects.

I tided this lady over the initial period of shock and toxaemia; later, regular dressings and skin grafting saved her. Her constant concern was regarding her child which was looked after by her husband, a labourer staying in hutments. Draupadi was discharged after three months. But disaster was soon to strike. Within a fortnight, Draupadi was back emaciated, crying and pleading for rehabilitation. Her husband had refused to accept her as she was disfigured as a result of the burns. He threw her out of the house and would not even let her see her child. Our social workers tried to intervene but to no effect. Finally we found Draupadi a household Job. She continued to visit us. Her husband meanwhile remarried but her child was never returned to her. My only solace was that I had saved Draupadi and rehabilitated her. But had I made her happy?

Compilation of professional reminiscences of specialists - edited by M.V.Kamath and Dr.Rekha Karmarkar.