Before I move on to citing case histories, I would like to dwell on some aspects of doctor-patient relationship and begin with the sound advice given in the Charak Samhita, the ancient ayurvedic classic (circa 300 B.C.) which is relevant to this day. Says the Samhita:

·         The patient who may mistrust his own parents, sons and relations, should repose an implicit faith in his own physician and put his own life into his hands without the least apprehension of danger.

·         No thoughtful man who seeks enduring life, should ever covet the possessions of the "Guardian of Life” or revile him or do any harm to him.

·         The man who does not recompense a physician after treatment, whether or not there be a previous understanding for remuneration, is beyond redemption.

·         The physician should regard all his patients as if they were his own begotten children and guard them zealously from all harm, considering this to be his highest religion.

·         Clear grasp of theoretical knowledge, clear interpretation, right application, practical experience and skills and purity of body and mind—these are the requirements of a good physician.

·         He who practises medicine holding compassion for creatures as the highest religion, is a man who has fulfilled his mission and attains supreme happiness, for there is no other gift greater than the gift of life.

·         Those who for the sake of a living, make merchandise of medicine, bargain for a heap of dust letting go a heap of gold.

The most prestigious and popular textbook of medicine, all over the world, today is Harrisons, whose opening paragraphs echo the same sentiments.

"No greater opportunity, responsibility or obligation can fall to the lot of a human being than to become a physician. In the care of suffering he needs technical skills, scientific knowledge and human understanding He who uses them with courage, with humility and with wisdom will provide an unique service for his fellowmen and will build an enduring edifice of character within himself. The physician should ask of his destiny no more than this: he should be content with no less”.

"Tact sympathy and understanding are expected of a physician, for the patient is no mere collection of symptoms, signs, disordered functions, damaged organs and disturbed emotions. He is human, fearful and hopeful, seeking relief, help and reassurance. To the physician, like an anthropologist, nothing human is strange or repulsive. The misanthrope may become a smart diagnostician of organic disease but he can scarcely hope to succeed as a physician. True physician has a Shakespearian breadth of interest in the wise and foolish, the proud and humble, the stoic hero and a whining rogue. He cares for people.”