To me, Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children is a very sacred place. I visit it daily with the same fervour and religiosity that my grandmother displayed when she visited a temple. It was and shall always remain a temple of learning for me. It is there that I learnt about the joys and sorrows that parents experience on account of their little ones. The people who throng the hospital premises of this esteemed institution really amaze me. They do not belong to the economically privileged class and yet they display exemplary civil behaviour. They are ‘ordinary people and they express their gratitude with a gentle, hesitant smile that speaks volumes. After a two years training stint in Paediatric Surgery in the United States, I joined the Wadia Hospital for Children as an Honorary Paediatric Surgeon. It was then that I made a very conscious decision. Any patient from Wadia Hospital even if perchance were to express a willingness to get treated outside, would not have to be worried about monetary considerations.

There have been a couple of occasions in the past when I have lost patients even if I was not directly responsible for their death. Being a surgeon or for that matter, a doctor, carries a tremendous responsibility and one has to be man enough to accept and acknowledge defeat and failure even when your junior surgical colleague or some member of the nurses staff is directly responsible for a particular death.

To me, every inadvertent death represents a profound failure, a dreadful reminder of personal inadequacy and yet I shall take this opportunity to inform my readers that it is humanly impossible to carry out sing handedly all the required procedures necessary in patient care. Some amount of responsibility has to be delegated to the other staff-whether surgical, medical, nursing or para medical. We have the junior trainee doctors nurses who are the backbone of our medical system. In fact, they have be delegated as much responsibility as possible after proper training, so that they learn to make independent and correct decisions in any emergency situation. Inadvertent errors of judgment are bound to occur occasionally during this training period.

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