“A beautiful write up about Surgeons”
What did you do yesterday?” asked my boss. It was our after rounds coffee session. Last night was busy and we were exhausted with lack sleep and our blood glucose levels were shooting down. None of us were in a mood for a pleasant chat.
We finished a laparotomy for small bowel obstruction in 20 year old engineering student around 10 in the night and were heading for our dinner after reassuring the anxious parents that he is going to be okay when we got a call from trauma. The patient was a 35 year old electricity line man who fell down from a pole while at work. FAST showed hemoperitoneum with a splenic laceration and he was in early shock. His wife of about 30 rushed in five minutes later along with a kid of about 5. She was clueless and almost went hysteric when we asked her to sign the consent for surgery. His colleagues took charge, he was wheeled into the OR and in less than an hour his spleen was waving a permanent goodbye to his body. The usual ritual of profuse thanking by the family followed when we went out and our chief resident donned the role of a smiling Krishna reassuring a frightened Arjuna. We admitted two more patients later – one with cellulitis of left leg and other with a gall stone pancreatitis and before we realized, it was time to start our resident rounds in the morning.
When we narrated the whole story to our boss, he repeated the question – What else did you do?
Irritated, our chief resident quipped “We lost one more day of sleep, dinner and good time with the family”.
Now it was my boss’ turn to play Krishna. “For you it may be a 10cm segment of gangrenous bowel and a ruptured spleen. But yesterday, you kept alive the hopes and love of a couple which they nurtured for 20 years. You prevented a young lady from becoming a widow and a small kid from losing his dad forever. You relieved the agony of patient who had to suffer for no fault of his and helped a rickshaw puller from his leg getting chopped off forever by acting early. A night’s sleep and dinner are nothing compared to what they might lose had you not acted there. We often don’t understand the influence we exert on the lives of others. When we do, we all will be much more careful in our attitudes and actions. With a single stroke of the scalpel, we can bring a family on to the roads or can extend lives by decades. By our decisions, we decide whether a person lives or dies. We are blessed to be in a profession like this.” he said, and drew the last sip of coffee.
We all got up and left to our wards, with awareness and understanding of what a blessing it is to be a doctor and our hearts filled with pride and humility at the same time.
Lesson learnt for a lifetime As long as life exists, despite all its shortcomings, this will be one of the best profession