Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Addiction of Bitching Allopathy

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Allopathy is like a beautiful, gorgeous, much desired woman out of one’s league, you know. Those who do not get her keep raising questions about her character.” said Dr. Sen.
Dr. Sen is a specialist in heart diseases. Known for his witty and acid remarks with bitter accuracy, he was admired by a few who did not mind such remarks about themselves. Most others were scared of his sarcastic humour, and the weak minded hypocrites with bloated egos maintained a safe distance, lest he expose them.
My Bangla friends have always enriched my life with a class of academic excellence, superb literature, supergenius class films, exotic food and that sweet speech with the cute accent where even quarrels sound like speaking to an infant in a cradle! Of course one does not want to face an angry Babumoshai or his sister, for they can kill only with words. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
A middle aged patient had come to Dr. Sen with many heart related complaints: breathlessness, fatigue, chest pain, palpitations and swollen feet. He was found to have heart pump failure. If the heart does not pump blood forwards correctly, the impure blood stagnates backwards. If not treated in time, this can turn fatal. This patient already had diabetes blood pressure, but for many months now had chosen to avoid allopathy for the fear of side effects. He had been through almost every other proven and fake pathy.
Dr. Sen gave him standard medicines, and asked him to return after two weeks. The patient came back after a month. He appeared near normal now. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“How are you now” asked Dr. Sen.
“I am feeling quite alright, doctor. Just after I visited you, I also went to Dharambaba’s ‘Health magic’ healing center. His medicine helped me immediately, I feel far better now. But I continued your medicine too. I have come to tell you that I want to stop your medicines now. I asked the assistant of Dharambaba, she told me I can continue the allopathic medicines along with their treatment”.
Dr. Sen removed his specs. He took his battle position.
“Do you know the contents or names of those medicines?” he asked the patient.
“No, but it is written that they have no side effects. The only problem is that they are very costly. Baba does not charge anything, he is divine and treats patients for charity. Even the western yoga is free, american yoga experts teach it at his center, I only had to buy their kit for clothes and music”.
The total that the patient spent there was more than five times the fees of the heart specialist, but the well qualified heart specialist was still “inferior” to the unqualified methods because he charged upfront! Not to count the expenses of some grievous side effects that the patient was going to face in the future, never knowing that they were related to some unknown medicines in the past.
And if the patient faces an emergency during such unknown treatment, it is not the Baba that they rush to, but the nearest allopathic casualty. It is not surprising that no medical negligence/ medicolegal cases are heard of about the umpteen existing alternative pathies in India!
The level of superstition and defamation that allopathy faces is only comparable to the torture of prophets and saints all their lifetime. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“I cannot tolerate any allopathic medicine” is one of the funniest and stupidest sentences a doctor gets to hear from some superstitious patients. Most doctors choose not to answer that.
Dr Sen flared up each time he heard this sentence: “This is like saying all computers are only used for pornography, and all smartphones for only sexts! Do you know how many medicines are there in allopathy? Do you know how they are studied? Just because you had some side effects to some medicines, don’t blame the entire science”.
Well, the least you can do if you do not believe in allopathy and do not tolerate medicines, is to not go to an allopath at all. Almost all allopaths are too overloaded to have to listen to superstitious analysis and criticism crap from those who aren’t even enough qualified to do so.. But if you do choose to visit and try allopathy, have enough sanity of intellect to not start any other pathy at the same time. Allopathy is so scientific that it has to mention the side effect of each medicine used. We cannot lie, hence we cannot compete with those who lie. Even minimal common sense tells us that many plant products are also poisonous, there are allergies to almost everything. How can someone claim an unknown medicine to have “no side effects?”© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
If your son / daughter is an engineer, try telling him / her about the rockets made a thousand years ago and listen to their response. Will you sit in a five thousand year old airplane flying upon faith and mental power? If yes, do not try allopathy. If you have a scientific mindset, you are the right person to benefit from a scientific medical practitioner.
Once a ruling party MLA came to visit Dr. Sen, with all his flaccid human paraphernalia. Very ill mannered, very obese, but his arrogance was the first worse thing to be noticed. Dr. Sen checked him up and wrote a prescription, explained him the condition, diet and precautions.
“You must visit Dharam baba once” said the MLA to Dr. Sen, “he cures so many patients of heart disease. You know, allopathy medicines have too many side effects. I am going to visit him soon.” © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Is it, Sir? Very good. Please stop my medicines when you start any others. These medicines are not to be taken with any other pathy medicines, there may be severe side effects. Please convey my Namaskar to Dharam baba”.
“When should I follow up with you again?” asked the MLA.
“Oh it is not required. Please continue the treatment under Dharam baba. In the rare event that you do not benefit from Dharam baba, try the famous Hakeem of Kanpur or the Vaid-Guruji in remote Maharashtra who cures everything by dropping some yellow liquid in your nose”.
“Doctor, you seem to be making fun of me” said the MLA.
“No, Sir”, replied Dr. Sen “You are making fun of your own health and life. You have no right to bitch what you do not understand”.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

The Morphine That Killed a Hospital

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“He fell down while checking the patient”, said the panicked Dr. Mrs. Sane about her husband, “and became unconscious”.

Dr. Sane tried to maintain his calm. A sick doctor has the curse of knowing the worst of everything, and has a perpetual feeling of sitting upon a ticking time-bomb. It was a sad feeling to see this middle aged brilliant general practitioner fighting tears.

“Sir, the OPD numbers have shot up because of these epidemics, especially dengue. I see over a hundred patients every day. The Inpatient beds are full. There are daily problems: medical, administrative and medico-legal.. those I am used to. But now there are too many politico-social and press-related issues that worry me”.

Dr. Deshmukh, a senior practitioner and a common friend, accompanied Dr. Sane. He cautiously poked him “You must tell the doctor what happened the day before”.
“Oh that’s a part of our profession” Dr. Sane replied.
I insisted that he must tell me.

Reluctantly, he disclosed: “Some goons came in with a municipal councillor and threatened to waive off the bills of a dengue patient. He was in the ICU for five days, quite bad, but went home walking. Till the time he improved, they kept on threatening us to break the hospital and thrash us if something went wrong. Upon discharge, they didn’t pay a single rupee. There’s nowhere to complain, as the hospital requires many municipal permissions”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Dr. Mrs Sane lost her cool. She started sobbing. “No one blames those who dump garbage, keep their surroundings unclean. No one is blamed when epidemics spread and thousands die. No one is held responsible for failures of almost all preventive services and lack of basic facilities at government’s healthcare institutes. But the already overworked general practitioners must bear the brunt of everyone’s anger: the public and press are always free to bash the last face they see: the doctor who is actually helping every patient,.. Dr. Sane has not had a proper lunch, not spent a full day with kids in months.. That hospital has become our curse“ She broke down.

It was so logical! The offices responsible cannot even be reached. The court does not see any of these system failures that cause millions of deaths all across India, happily ordering lakhs and crores and imprisonments for doctors, for trivial mistakes.
Whom to blame? Oh yes, the doctor who has studied to treat the sick!

Anyway, in a country fond of muscular heroes and billionaire godmen, who expects a brainy analysis? © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“I had a dream of making best health facilities available for my area. I have taken a big loan. We treat poor patients free anyway. Many rich are sent by local politicians, leaders, administrators with instructions to attend immediately and free too. Paying patients are mostly suspicious because of all the negative things publicised by press about all doctors., they also expect immediate and positive outcomes. I have not slept for many a nights. “

I examined him.He had obvious features of being fatigued mentally and physically.. A syncopal attack, where the BP drops down suddenly and makes the patient unconscious, was likely. I advised him tests and told him to take rest for there days.

“Not possible, sir! Even now the OPD is waiting” he replied. An angry Dr. Mrs Sane requested me to intervene.

“Your duty to the society does not free you from the duty towards your own health and family” I requested him. But Dr. Sane agreed only when Dr. Deshmukh offered to send over a junior doctor to his hospital to take care of the OPD.

“How have you been, Sir?” I asked Dr. Deshmukh. He is one of the most respected and busiest general practitioners in town, with a big hospital. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Dr. Deshmukh smiled.
“I had an angioplasty three months ago. The only risk factor was high BP and stress. There is no use fighting or explaining our situation to the society, government or press. I have closed down my hospital. I only see OPD patients now. Anyway many patients thought that I worked day and night for earning more money. Let them go to the corporate or government hospitals.”

The death of his hospital was not a surprising news, many small private hospitals and nursing homes are either closing down or converting into profit-making franchises. Many doctors are suffering high BP, cardiac and neurological problems and even dying due to excessive stress.

The meaning of this nightmare will soon unfold upon our society.
Till then, this is a heartfelt appeal to all the over-stressed doctors to rethink about their priorities, rearrange life and make sure stress does not kill.

For the morphine of “medical social service” is only good in small doses, it kills when overdone!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Dr. Anna

Dr. Anna
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
He picked up the knife and started cutting the brain. A pinkish-buff coloured real human brain.
Those nerve fibres which may have conducted zillions of thoughts every day: of love and joy, pain and sorrow , grudges and pride, wisdom and fun during an entire lifetime, gave away to the sharp, cold, scientific cruelty of a steel knife.
Three real human brains were kept in the tray in front of us. Seven of us sat near that table. Dr. Adi, the professor who secretly regretted being an Indian, was all prepared to show others their place. One lecturer, who had gathered enough medical experience to shut up, and four of us resident doctors eager to learn but scared by its vastness sat on one side of the table, facing Dr. Adi.
Dr. Aasha was the incharge of this brain cutting session, once every month. The brains from difficult or undiagnosed cases were preserved after a legal post-mortem / autopsy, and the whole case was discussed from onset of the disease till end. Then the brain was cut open and studied.
Anna, my co-resident from Kerala, was unusually disturbed that day. It was his first session. He did not answer any questions at all, and patiently digested the taunts, including regional bias comments, by Dr. Adi. As we finished and came out, Anna went to his room and slept. I woke him up at about 8 PM, and we went for dinner together. He was not himself yet.
Tall, hefty, dark, bearded. Reddish eyes. Clean, dry, well groomed. Slightly imposing personality, but very aloof. He never spoke about his home or family. People were either shocked or scared whenever he spoke. His whole basic thinking process was out of the box. Something mysterious stood out about him: he never became emotional. His speech was almost robotic, devoid of any feelings. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
That night, we went for our customary rounds after dinner.
I didn’t know what to say. He lit his cigarette. We sat on the huge staircase in front of the OPD complex. “Are you missing your family?” I asked.
Fixing his red scary eyes upon a faraway streetlight, he replied:
“I did not want to tell this to anyone. But my father was killed by a local rebel group in front of me when I was 12. They tied our family to the trees and killed him with swords. I saw my own father’s brain then. That helplessness took away all my life’s feelings. I don’t know who they were. My mom never talked to anyone again, she passed away shortly after that,. Whenever someone speaks with feelings now, I think it is no use. Whenever someone talks of great things in life, I feel that no one can predict life. We forget the obvious. We keep on running mirage after mirage, losing what we have right here. I so much wish I had spent a few more moments with my father!”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
I had no answers. Stunned, I kept him company. As we started to walk back to the hostel, he said “That is also why I have decided not to marry. Why should someone suffer the blackhole of pain I carry in my mind?”
This bombed my already insomniac night.
So many dreams, so many ideals. Am I living the right life, giving up too many small available pleasures in search of something unattainable? I meet most people having too much, still running after too much, still blaming others for their stress, and worst, making their families pay the price of their greed for more.
A few days later, during one of the sessions, Dr. Adi taunted Anna again: “Weren’t you an all India entrance top ranker? There are so many students from your state who joined this year! Did you all give up studies after admission?”
Calmly, Anna looked straight in Dr. Adi’s eyes. In his scarily robotic tone he said: “Sir, you are cutting the brain and teaching us every time that all the brains are more or less same. You of all people should know that if our brains end up in this tray together, it will be difficult to tell which one belongs to you or me. I respect your knowledge and want to learn. Your sarcasm does not help students like me”. Dr. Asha, with the hidden feminine ability to douse fires, started to describe the already cut brain as if nothing had happened. Never again did we hear Dr. Adi being sarcastic. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande.
Anna continued to study hard, helping others. He regularly donated blood for admitted patients. He spent most of his time in the wards, even when off duty.
I continued to be affected by his story, worrying how can one overcome what he had seen? One day, when an old patient said to him “You are like my son”, Anna held his hands for a long time. The old man did not know the context, but kept on patting Anna’s back, just as a father would. For the first time, I saw Anna becoming emotional.
Later that night, as he lighted a happy one, he came out of his shell: “I know this memory and its pain will never go away, it’s like a forever knife in my heart. No amount of money can relieve me of it. No enjoyment upon earth will erase it. The only moments when I forget myself are when I treat a patient: I have to stop thinking about my own problems to understand the patient’s problems and solve them”. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Like most doctors, I knew this well. The only way to dilute one’s own pain is to share someone else’s. So what if some people think all doctors work for money! So what if every other patient suspects the doctors to be tricksters, and less ethical than themselves!
Anna has a small hospital now, named after his father, in his own village. Right where his father was killed. He has chosen to live exactly at the spot of maximum pain, like at the epicenter of a perpetual earthquake. I had heard many stories of immense agony, suffering and bravery, but none like that of Anna. Many ask him why he didn’t avoid that particular location. His answer is just like him, stunning!
“If I don’t have guts to face my fears, I don’t have a right to live”.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Faster

Faster
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Faster, faster, I must feel the force of wind pushing my hands back” she said, stretching out her hands. Tightening the grip and bending still forward, I squeezed the accelerator grip.
At 2.30 AM, there were no vehicles on the roads. We had completed the rounds on Worli Seaface, and were now scaling the Marine drive. The police chowkies had enough light to spot them from a distance and slow down near them.
The red Yamaha RX 100, that bike which many bikers will know becomes one with the rider’s brain and body, and picks up human feelings better than most humans can, was doing its best spell that night, purring like a wildcat only happy to be tamed. The only noise it made was the silent pleasure it infused into the riders, not the loud firing that begs for attention.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“I want to spend every moment of my life at this speed” she said, shouting in my ear, her joyous face lit up the rear view mirror. “I don’t want to ever slow down. I don’t want to take it easy. I want my life to be like the massive eruption of a tremendously powerful volcano and then I will be happy to not exist. I cannot simmer.”
I understood.
Not everyone is fond of a laid back, slow, long life of collecting candlelight moments. Repetition of the same still ignites many. I am in love with fast myself: speaking, working, achieving, reacting and even forgetting! The faster I am, the more life I live. More is not synonymous with longer when it concerns life. I really dislike slow. I hate repetition.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
The huge dark blue sea had the long white wake of moonlight upon its surface that reached the shores, and appeared like an invitation to walk into it. The Sea-moon combo of blue and white is the liveliest example of ‘cool’ that we all search within us.
We stopped at Nariman point near the chaiwalla on his cycle. I feel one of the greatest social service possible in this world is making tea and snacks available for the night owls. We had the hot chai-shots fast, speaking nothing. The ocean roared and hummed pleasantly. The feel of speed was still upon our skins.
An old banarasiya spotted us together, and offered his best “Paan”, probably an ultimate gesture suggestive of romance for some past generation! I politely declined. He smiled cunningly, as if he knew we were out on some immoral trip. Looking at my embarrassed face, she asked: “Why are you concerned about what people think?”
“I am not. I am irritated when someone presumes” I replied, my anger reflected in the kick that restarted the Yamaha.
“Oh let them be! Not everyone understands that they cannot understand. Everyone can criticise, but few know they should not even analyse.”. I suddenly realised that this is what I needed to imbibe, if I wanted to live a different life than a drab set routine.
“Thank you”, I said, happy that the night had dished out a lifetime nugget of wisdom.
In my future life I met many who are far ahead of the world, far more brilliant in everything, and still far away from people: they are happy because they know they are beyond the need of certification from the slower , repetitive, attention and fame seeking mediocre hypocrites. Besides their stunning achievements, they also live a stunning, magical life. The earlier they realise that they must overcome analysis and criticism by others, they start living.
This wasa new beginning for me.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“Chill and Speed up, angry doc!” she said, her glorious face in my mirror again.
At the highest speed, when the bike and us became one with the road and the wind and the sea. I felt her close to my ear. I could not afford to even look into the mirror, we were that fast.
She was close enough not having to shout now.
“This alone matters”, she said, “Neither us nor people”.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Justice Undone: A head full of S*** speaks again!

Justice Undone: A head full of S*** speaks again!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande.
The way you have always spoken fearlessly, Ex-Honourable Mr. MKatju, I believe you will appreciate others who do so. Your recent criticism of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was, to say the least, a crass display of jealousy.
If you think that by using great names like Marx you can fool the semi-intellectuals, please be advised that there are better well-read people in this world, even in India, who know when to shut up rather than begging for publicity by making controversial statements. Wasn’t it you who had to retract his comment about 90% of Indians being idiots? Well you proved who was an idiot then.
In the drab lives of middle class Indians like myself, it was Mr. Bachchan who ignited the fire of fighting against injustice, not the narcissist sissies in the judiciary who turned a blind eye for 50 years as the country was engulfed by corrupts, murderers, rapists. If any common Indian stands up to fight against Injustice today, it is far more likely that he is influenced by Amitabh Bachchan, NOT by an MK. Have you heard of any common Indian influenced/ motivated by any Judge? © Dr. Rajas Deshpande.
Your quotes about the literature and philosophies (which you seem to think that only you can understand) are as much a “Drug” as the films by the legendary actors that you have chosen to criticise: probably because you can never achieve what they did. They made masses forget their woes for some time, happily dance and sing. Many a suicides may have been averted because some entertainer helped someone smile, motivated to fight back and win! © Dr. Rajas Deshpande.
It seems but natural that you never were introduced to the concept of “Entertainment”, which you seem to believe is some form of Governmental conspiracy to keep the masses engaged by fielding the likes of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. What a shouting, glaring poverty of thought!
Mr. Bachchan is respected over the whole world. The money he earned is not your donation to criticise. He does nor teach philosophy or give sermons because he has a twitter account or a blog, he speaks in answer to what people ask him. If he writes a diary and millions follow it, you have no business to criticise it.
We learn from Mr. Bachchan the rare qualities like humility, respecting others and especially elders, charity, and cultural values. From his screen persona we learnt how to be an upright fighter of injustice. We learnt nothing from you: nothing, as anyone who is busy only criticising others is not worth learning anything from. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande.
You have written: “Apart from being a good actor, what is Amitabh Bachchan?”
He is Amitabh Bachchan! What are you?
You have written: “Does he have scientific ideas for solving the country’s massive problems?”
Well, what scientific ideas did you come out with, in your entire lif, that helped the common man?
Even the people in your own field are not unanimously fond of you!
Mr. Bachchan contributes to many ads to spread awareness about Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Cleanliness etc., and the govt . uses him to reach out majority because millions will do what he advises. You cannot even qualify to be used for such awareness campaigns: who knows you besides a few educated and controversy lovers?
Mr MK, you have proven one thing: that someone has a head full of S***, so much so that everyone else appears to them lesser: intellectually, morally and every which way.
Legally I wonder what it means when a responsible retired judge calls someone else’s head empty. Medically it at least proves a psychiatric disorder in the former.
Shame upon you, and it gives me shivers to think that a person so cheap ever was on such a responsible post in the past!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande.

The Real Disability

The Real Disability
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“I heard your fees is high. So we collected money and came. Actually we are below poverty line” Kallappa said, with a big smile.
His father intervened angrily: “No, no doctor, don’t listen to what he says. We will spend whatever is required. Just please cure my son of his headache. He cannot work at all when he gets it”.
Kallappa’s spectacles were broken, but tied together with a colourful thread. Clothes were clean, but patched. The vest was more holes than cloth, the wrist watch a worn out yellow metal with an elastic band. His footwear was worse than the morals of most politicians, and as unpatched.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Feeling offended, I told him “Don’t worry about money. We have a free OPD too. You may not pay, it does not make any difference.”
He insisted on paying, and said “Doctor, I am only below financial poverty line, but we are rich at heart. I don’t want to take advantage of your service”. The big smile on his face persisted.
I wrote his prescription and asked the receptionist to collect a minimal token amount, just so that he is not offended.
In a sea of rich and affording patients who are trying to save money every which way, and claiming concessions, this was a reassurance. And it justly came from a poor man. Most people presume that a doctor must be available at “minimum or no service charge” as an open end social service.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
I remembered my Canadian boss Dr. GPR.
Travelling together in a stretch Limo which took us back from a presentation venue, we were also accompanied by Dr. Tabitha, my British colleague.
“The concept of richness is wrongly tied to money, Rjaas!” he said with a handsome smile, “the real rich are the cultured ones who know the value of every human being, of art and literature, and earn respect through their wisdom and behaviour. Taking advantage of others in any way is the real poverty, those need help.”© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Dr. GPR was brutally honest. He considered any manipulation of speech to suit others a ‘mental pollution’. “I am not ashamed or afraid of my mind” he often said, and meant it. Whether it was taboo words or concepts, a discussion about most embarrassing or difficult, he spoke plainly, without colour or guilt.
He was super rich, had three luxury cars, each one of them a dream car for most aspirants of riches. What he had was the best in the world, and what he gave was too. Dr. Tabitha, already too much impressed with him, commented sadly “but people look down upon those who are not rich, Dr. GPR”.
“They are the real challenged, disabled of this world. They do not have any understanding or acumen beyond gold and cash” he replied, “there is nothing wrong in earning money, as much as one can, through service, skill and art. But to earn by twisting someone else’s hand is as criminal as pick-pocketing”.
That stuck in my mind.
In his book “Ideas and Opinions”, Einstein has commented about money, saying “Can one imagine the likes of Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi sitting upon piles of money?”. I had once told this to a friend whose dream was ‘to become very rich’. He shrugged his shoulders and commented “I don’t want to become Mahatma Gandhi. Too tedious”. Then I understood what Dr. GPR had said: there are disabled / challenged people who do not see beyond personal financial gains.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
My childhood fluctuated between lower and upper middle-class, and my bicycle was bought via an installment plan (a tradition I continued in my later life). I considered myself lucky that I had a bicycle to go to my Sanskrit tuition everyday 11 Kms away. It built up a wonderful stamina that helped me in various curious ways, including the hard work required of a doctor. I remember laughing while searching through the drawers at my home cupboards with my mom, to find enough money to pay the newspaper and other trivial bills. Nothing stopped for the want of more money, satisfaction and happiness were not married away to money.
I wrote a note to my boss for a concession for this patient, and he agreed graciously. Of course the next time Kallappa visited, he brought a big gunny bag full of home-grown veggies as a gift for me and my boss too. So different from the many rich patients whom we had given heavy concessions, but who still went disgruntled and never even thanked in words! “Thankless Rich” is a universal medical patient category I feel. Calculated gifts are also sometimes received, and there of course are rare honourable exceptions who value the doctor’s service with rich rewards.© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
Be it Picasso or Van Gogh, Einstein or Newton, Wodehouse or Amrita Pritam and so many Nobel laureates, they had one thing in common: an inherent sense that only money is not an achievement, nay, money is not at all an achievement.
There are many in India who are legally “Below Poverty Line” because of their financial status. But the number of people “Below the Cultural, Ethical and Moral poverty line” is ever increasing, especially among the rich. There are immensely rich hearted poor still able to truely laugh and love, and extremely poor rich roaming around worried and sad in their luxury cars all around us!
I am struggling to stay above both these lines, like many others whose parents gave them the best possible training in the world: not to tie one’s happiness and pleasures with finances. I will continue to teach my children the same.
We once went for a trip to Goa during our MBBS. One of the “lewdish” guys with us decided to make fun of an old roadside dhaba owner. It was dinnertime.
“Do you get everything in this dhaba?” he asked.
Smiling, the dhaba owner uncle said “Yes. What do you want?”
Touching his nose with his middle finger, this student asked again in a twisted tone “Everything?”.
With the same smiling face, the dhaba owner replied: “Yes, beta, I can get you anything you want. There are only two things your money cannot buy: a mother or respect from others. Now what else do you want? Tell me”.
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

The Power Of Trust and Faith.The Life and Death Difference In a Patient’s Attitude.

The Power Of Trust and Faith.The Life and Death Difference In a Patient’s Attitude.

(C) Dr. Rajas Deshpande
She was admitted in a critical condition, with paralysed breathing. Only a few MuSK Myasthenia Crisis Cases have been reported in the world, probably none from India. I told the family so, and that not much is predictable, there are no guidelines, and some decisions may turn out to be wrong. I also told them I did not have much experience with such cases.

 “We have complete faith in you, Doc. Do what you think is correct. We cannot think now” said her postgrauate engineer husband, madly in love with her, determined to do anything to save her.

A patient is always more important than any doctor’s confidence, ego or pride. Usually doctors do not cross hospital boundaries. A patient cannot be a tool to prove or disprove one’s abilities, however skilled or confident the doctor may be.

The point is not about the doctors, hospital or the treatment. There are far better doctors than myself everywhere. The biggest thing here is that the patient’s educated husband decided to invest in trust and faith rather than google and opinion-shopping equipped mistrust directed against the doctors.He indeed kept himself well informed. 

Some decisions could have misfired, and even a tiny change could have risked life sometimes. But when the patient explicitly puts his / her faith in the treating doctor, it becomes the “doctor’s case” to worry about and do best without being affected by legal fears and allegation anxiety.

I called in Dr. R. S. Wadia and Dr. Nusli Ichaporia. They too had earlier not come across a MuSK Myasthenia Crisis. However, combining inputs and working together, supported by intensive care team of Dr. Kapil Zirpe, Dr. Sushma Gurav, Dr. Abhijeet Deshmukh, Dr. Balkrishna Nimavat, Dr. Prajakta Pote,, Dr. Deeepali Tambe, Dr. Prasad Suryawanshi, Physician Dr. Abhijit Lodha, and Plasmapheresis / Kidney Unit Dr. Abhay Huprikar, and the Nursing staff, we could all help her come out of this life threatening crisis.

Thank you, Mr. Umesh Isalkar, The Times Of India Pune.

True, faith moves mountains, and most doctors too!

(c) Dr. Rajas Deshpande

Critical

Critical
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande

“Code Blue” someone shouted.
There were sounds of rushing, muffled sobs and wails, metal trolleys banging walls and glass syringes being broken open.
He rushed fastest, asked the relatives to wait outside.
“What’s wrong with him?” insisted the patient’s brother on knowing.
“His heart has stopped. Please wait out we don’t have time”.
The nurses had positioned the patient and started the CPR.

The ugliest sound in the world: the desperate rocking of the bed during a cardiac massage, was heard outside the cabin. The high pitch beeps of the defibrillator followed by the thuds of a body due to the electric shock initiated prayers even in the hearts of strangers. The relatives of other patients in the ICU waited outside their cabins, watching the faces of those who were crying. Those who could not bear the sight went inside their cabins. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

He went on doing the CPR, knowing that the patient was young, and may still respond. The risk of this highly fatal disease to himself and the nursing staff was taken for granted: there is no time to “dress up” for CPR. He was simultaneously ordering the injections to be given. A male nurse took turns and helped him with the cardiac massage.

It is exhausting. Giddy after some time, he looked at the watch. It was about half an hour since the event. Almost nil chances now. He asked the nurse to continue, and came out to inform the relatives.
“He has had a cardiac arrest. We are trying, but it looks difficult” he informed the patient’s brother.
“Why? How come?” the brother shouted as the rest of the family gathered. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande
“We have been informing you many times. He has been critical. His lungs were not functioning well, his brain has many TB tumors, and his kidneys have been shut due to infection for a long time. It is called multiorgan failure”.
“We don’t know all that, doctor. Save him” said the brother.

Young patient. Fever since over three months. Avoided seeing allopaths for over a month. Diagnosed as multidrug resistant tuberculosis, one of the worst and most difficult diseases to treat. By the time they reached the proper specialist through all the “money saving” channels, it was too late. Almost all Government Hospitals have experts and facilities to treat MDR TB, but somehow people think it is below their dignity to avail of services at Govt hospitals.

The ICU doctor came out after a while. “We are sorry, he could not be revived” he sadly told the relatives.

Then there was a shriek, as the patient’s brother held the doctor by his collar, and slapped him. Exactly the style of Akshay Kumar from some movie. A lady doctor tried to stop the brother, but was held by the women in the family and bestowed with blows and abuses. The security, who had allowed the relatives on humanitarian grounds, regretted it, and desperately tried to control the relatives. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

In an hour, they all left.

He washed himself. There was no time to cry, complain, register a case or go to TV channels or press. There were 22 other critical patients in the ICU, and he was in charge. He had to forgive, forget, digest it all. And then there was a perpetual expectation of the society to “understand” the misbehavior of the bereaved.

In a few minutes, another gasping patient came in on the same bed. A young girl with continuous convulsions. He rushed and intubated her, stabilised her. He talked to and pacified her panicked parents. © Dr. Rajas Deshpande

He had forgotten the slaps, the abuses and the blows he received a few moments ago. Like filmstars who slap qualified doctors on the screen and earn crores for that “entertainment”, he did not deserve a palatial bungalow and luxury cars, but as a life saver who saved hundreds every year, he was doomed to an asylum walled by expectations, criticism, abuse and overwork. Saving lives was “just a duty” not deserving respect or rewards.

The stress that comes from handling daily CPRs, saving lives and declaring deaths for years together cannot be acted by any of the Tom Dick Harrys on screen. Most of them are not even intellectually equipped to perceive the education, hard work and traumatizing effects of daily deaths and allegations that a critical care doctor faces.

While exceptionally literate and mature film personalities like Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and Ms. Lata Mangeshkar have always praised the doctors and spoken highly respectfully about them, most other “Muttonshop” artists have only exemplified their own jealousy about the highly educated doctors, trying to show them down one way or another.

I know of some friends who spend a sad, spoilt day even when they see a funeral passing by. The doctor has to face it every day, still carry on dealing with money savers, skimpy, arrogant, abusive and violent relatives reaching the hospital at the last moment. He has to garner a calm and control possible only with great effort. This tells upon the doctor’s mental and physical health. Being blamed and held responsible for someone’s death (this has become rampant now: to presume that all deaths are someone’s fault) in spite of trying hard to save them is something no film star, judge or minister will ever understand. Very few doctors are able to enjoy a genuinely stress free happiness in their personal life.

Of all the doctors suffering today because of the illiteracy, poverty and defective policy-making in India, the critical care and casualty doctors are the worst sufferers. My heartfelt tear and salute to their unending suffering for humanity. Also a strong appeal to the press, law authorities and the government to ensure that these highly stressed doctors are not assaulted, unnecessarily criticized or abused.

Just imagine a world without casualties or Intensive care services. That is a choice which doctors still retain.

© Dr. Rajas Deshpande