By Dr.K.V.Chaubal


The Indian doctor is worshipped. His merit is not assessed by pure medical achievement. The most intricate, difficult operations fail to beget acclaim. The petty ones raise you high! It is not a happy scene viewed from this side of the table. What starts as a matter of "full faith and confidence in you, doctor" turns to doubt, anger, neglect, cheating, behind the-scene enquiries—if complications arise. The doctor has to be infallible. The years of hard training, the physical grind as a House Surgeon, the hours of continuous reading through the night for examinations, the night-through operations to save a life, are all discounted. Nay, the making of a surgeon presumably, is hardly known to the patient. A delay at the consulting rooms is not excused—why? The appointment was made weeks ago! The doctor must understand the patient! How long should a doctor continue working? I do not know.

This was a baby-merely four months old. Accompanied by the mother and the anxious grandparents. What is wrong?". "Doctor, have a look the legs - can you do something? We have been advised an operation "I am afraid I can do precious little. No one can operate on this child".

Three faces fell. Tears in the eyes of the mother and grandmother. "No one can operate" I said, "because there is nothing wrong with the child!”

All smiles, with tears now rolling down the cheeks of two mothers - a mixed expression, with a lump in the throat-a ‘Thank You'.

I feel I had a supreme human experience—though through a cruel joke. The day was done.

As long as I remain sensitive to such emotions, I shall practice medicine. Perhaps that is why I would choose to be a surgeon all over again!


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