Forty eight hours had passed since she was home,twenty four hours since she had a good night’s sleep,eighteen hours since she had a meal,ten hours since she had a gulp of water and here she was in the emergency department living the life of a doctor,her childhood dream.The casualty section of any hospital is pretty much like a sad fair where people come with a multitude of illnesses.To expect the unexpected is what every doctor learns here because this is one place apart from the labour room where 'anything’ can happen.
With all eyes and ears she stared at the six patients in the room.Each one of them was in a distress of a kind.On the first bed was an old lady with a missed dialysis and renal failure gasping for breath,on the second was a girl with low platelet count suspected of having dengue,on the third was a child who had swallowed a coin from his mother’s purse,on the fourth was a lady who had consumed a toilet cleaner,on the fifth was a middle aged man with a sneeze or two in the past four hours but extremely sure about his self diagnosis of swine flu.While the chaos in the room progressed with the other casualty doctors attending these patients,on the sixth bed in the corner was her patient.A young man in his twenties too drunk to wake up.He had arrived a minute ago with a lone accomplice who was too drunk to answer any question.The man’s entire left lower limb was packed in gauze rolls soaked completely with blood.His friend tossed a bundle of sheets to her hand when she rushed to him and said”Do something,save him”He walked away to the waiting lounge and fell asleep.
According to the papers the man’s name was Thimma.He had met with an accident in the morning.Dressings were done at a local clinic but bleeding did not stop and hence he was referred to a higher centre for further management.It took him visits to three other hospitals on the way and a
good bad long eight hours to reach this one.Little did he or his friend know that this would cost him something.The bones were fractured at multiple sites,the nerves severed,the arteries torn and every muscle crushed.The orthopedician then decided to do an amputation.Being posted as one of the junior doctors in the orthopedics department she got all his preoperative work up done,arranged for blood and booked the operation theatre for surgery.
For the next two hours a team of three doctors including her were in the operation theatre battling winks of sleep trying to save the limb length as much as possible.The amputation was done because the injury was beyond repair due to poor handling elsewhere,any delay would have brought more complications like rhabdomyolysis,shock and even death.By four in the morning the surgery was over,she stayed with him in the post operative room monitoring his vitals and later got him shifted to the wards.
When she was in the changing room she heard her cellphone ringing,it was her mother.She picked up and said ”Hello,Maa!”.Her mother spoke”Morning!Are you coming back today?What shall I make for breakfast?”and then is when she realized that a good two days ago she was home!She rushed back after the duty.Sleep that night did not come easy.She had cut a limb for the first time,the thought and sight stinged her from within.But she had saved a life.That was the only reward,and for her that was enough.
The next day before the morning rounds,while every intern was running around the ward examining patients,collecting investigations and quarreling with the nurses she walked towards Thimma’s bed to check his status.She called aloud”Thimma!”.He pretended to be asleep.She wished politely”Good morning,how are you doing today?”In a split of a second he yelled”You butchers!Why did you chop my limb,how much did they pay you?”Not any surprised she stood right next to him hearing every foul word that followed,watching every tear that dropped down from his eye.She did not deserve to hear all that, but Thimma needed her to listen to him.He had lost his leg and she was one among those who had seen it for the last time.It was her responsibility to stay.Thimma’s concern was for his family,more than the relief of surviving an accident.He was a driver.”I can never drive again” was his thought.He feared that more than death.
She came back to him that noon.This time Thimma was awake,he was staring at the stump every other minute.She looked into his eye and said”Do you still think this was done for our good?”He did not reply.She explained to him the condition he was brought in,the things that ensued and the things that might have happened otherwise.After some realization he said“Doctor I am sorry for the morning, thank you for saving my life”.
Obliged by his gratefulness despite his grief she smiled and said”You know what Thimma,once your stump heals and the seniors tells me,I am going to call the prosthesis centre for measurements”.
He gave a puzzled look and asked”What for?”
“For all you know Thimma,we will get you another limb and you will learn how to walk with it,who knows you might even fly a plane after that!Will you take me along?”she added.
For the first time Thimma smiled.
She was happy for more than just being there for a stranger.She walked out of the room all content.There were many such 'Thimmas' waiting.
Not everyone gets to show kindness so very often.Even such acts are misinterpreted or considered unnecessary these days.With all commercialization health care is changing in two completely opposite ways.The fear among patients is more than justified.Every 'dutiful’ doctor would have gone through this phase of test or more.What everybody must understand is that there is no stereotype among doctors,good or bad.Each individual is different with his/her own strengths and shortcomings.It is just that their mistakes can cost somebody something and that is never pardonable.Every good doctor lives with this fear.
Doctors do not see only diseases,they see people.People who face grief,people who break down,people who fight and people who smile despite everything.They challenge adversities of others layering their own.It may even cost them their personal feelings and stands.It is difficult to draw a line for every emotion,but doctors do it and treat their patients to the best of their knowledge and capabilities.They lead not one life but many.Before we forget lets remind ourselves-A doctor is a human first who strives to save lives,hopes and prays like everyone else!