After being on the staff of the J.J. Group of Hospitals for some years I was asked to officiate as its Superintendent on Dr Sethna's promotion as Surgeon-General. This was a temporary appointment for me but I continued as Superintendent for over six years. Within the first week of my taking over the assignment, I found over 2,500 children of the 800 Class IV employees roaming all over the place. I made an urgent issue of setting up a school. The children then started attending classes and we made it compulsory for children to come to school. I told the employees that their children would go for higher studies; I also promised to get them scholarships. I contacted philanthropists so that money would not be a problem. There were a few wives of doctors who were not working; so we started various classes. My wife very willingly agreed to teach mothers sewing, cutting and preparing dresses. Managing Directors of various Bombay mills gave us cut-pieces free of cost. Some of the boys later went on for higher studies in colleges-some have become doctors, lawyers etc. I taught the parents, the importance of not having more children. My smallscale experiment in this direction is worth replicating by others.

One day, my Resident Medical Officer Dr Patil rang me and said there was going to be a strike in our hospital. I reached J.J. Hospital at 8.30 p.m. and called the oldest Class IV employee whom we called Mama. I asked him whether he wanted to go on strike. He told me that as long as I was the Head, they would never go on strike and that no union could persuade them to strike.

I remember another incident vividly. One day Dr Patil came said: "Sir, an operation theatre boy has a complaint, but he refi me. He insists on seeing you."

I called for the O.T. boy and when he came in I got up and said: "Maruti, come and sit down." Initially, he refused to sit down but I told him that I would not hear his complaint unless he sat down. Finally he sat down and said he had no complaint.

He said: "You have treated me as a human being. How can there a complaint?.”

I learnt a lesson from this that respect for another human being is essential, howsoever 'low' his vocation may be. Could we run our hospitals without sweepers, orderlies and ward boys? Each individual is important in the machinery of the hospital and he should be treated on par.

Another such instance I recall is of the time when the RMO told me that one of the theatre boys had stolen a pound of butter from the pantry. He was one of the oldest servants. When brought before me, he cried and said that his wife was suffering from TB of the lungs. "Why did you not come to me?” I asked him. And I said: "I will admit your wife, she will be treated and given all nutritive food and I will condone your action”. The matter was dropped and no action was taken against him.

Maintaining records is very important and could be of immense help in medico-legal cases. One fine morning around 5.15 a.m. a patient was brought to the J.J. Hospital with a stab wound. At the Casualty Department, the time of his arrival at the department and the time he left for the ward was written down. The Sister at the ward also noted the time of his arrival there, the time when the Registrar was informed and the time he came. The case sheet record had the time of the surgeon's arrival and the time he left for the operation theatre. At the theatre, the arrival time of the patient, the time the operation began and got over and the time when the patient was taken out were recorded.

I had insisted on this procedure in 1931 when I told the Superintendent that this would protect him in medico-legal cases. I had seen the same procedure at the St Bartholomew's Hospital. The employer of the patient was a well-known society lady who had great influence. The patient had stab wounds on the chest, left leg, diaphragm, spleen and stomach. He was discharged after a while. However the lady wrote to the Governor Bombay that her Chowkidarhad been stabbed and the J.J. Hospital had neglected him. The Governor asked the Health Minister who, in turn asked the Surgeon-General, Col. Vajifdar who then asked me for my report. Wrote to the Governor: "With reference to the complaint by Mrs so andso. I am quoting herewith the various records kept in the hospital. The timings have been mentioned in them. But let me add one word: that I was there in seven minutes after receiving the telephone. Eleven minutes after the phone call, the patient was on the operation table and I had begun the operation. Let me assure you, Sir, there has been no neglect. If you are convinced, will you request her to write an apology and let me have it? She has complained against a government servant".

The Governor was in a quandary as the Superintendent had told that I was a tough man. The Aide-de-camp to the Governor rang me up and asked me to have dinner with the Governor. I went there and found the Surgeon General, the Health Minister, Col. Vajifdar, the lady, the Governor and his wife present at the dinner. The Governor introduced me to everybody. The lady then expressed her apology over what she had given in writing. I then requested Col. Vajifdar to go out for a while and told the Governor that some other person, who took over the hospital in the future, would believe I had 'neglected' a patient. Her complaint had been in writing, so I wanted an apology also, in writing, I argued, so that I could keep it as a record. The Governor, Lord Brabourne, had no option but to yield. All this was only possible due to the timings written in the various registers. How many hospitals in India maintain such records?