This happened back in 2010-2011 and it was my early days of practice. Junior doctors were assigned to take cases and then to sit through the consultation with the Senior Physicians. We were also responsible for guiding the patients about Do s and Don’ts and also medication dosage instructions(unlike modern medicine, where you have tabs/caps/syrups/Injections, Ayurveda medicines have decoctions, Oils, Paste etc. to be taken internally) Few medications, based on the condition were advised to be mixed together and consumed for better effects. This required clear instructions to patients to avoid any confusions arising later and we junior doctors were held responsible if we failed to perform this task correctly.
One such day, there was a case that came to me for screening. We would get to see plenty of cases each day so we hardly remembered their faces and the case, unless they were admitted for further course of treatment or made frequent visits for follow ups.
Back to my story, this particular case remained etched in my memory even to this day. This man was in his early 40s and he was accompanied by his wife and children. The moment I saw him entering my consultation room, I could guess what the case was. His children were still in primary school, unaware of what their father was going through and they were happily giggling and playing around in the consultation room. On the other hand the suffering that the couple was going through, was written all over their face.
I let them take their seat and settle before they begin the conversation. The patient had run through couple of tests and he rest all of those reports on my table. I went through each one of them and noted down in the case sheet. He began to explain. He was an accomplished professional, ( I think he was a businessmen if I remember correctly) and had all materialistic comforts that life could offer.
I carefully listened to every word he spoke, it looked like he poured out all his agony that he was going through because of his health issue. Okay okay I know, you eagerly waiting to know what his issue was all about. Well, it was a case of Dilated Cardiomyopathy(in medical terms), which means the heart’s pumping capacity reduces, because the walls of the heart chambers are stretched causing enlargement. He looked like he had shed few kilos and his hands and legs appeared to have just skin and bones.
He had visited couple of hospitals, taken opinion from many renowned cardiologists and all had given him same answers. The answer was, he needed a heart transplant!! This was disheartening. I didn’t know what to speak after having heard the word “transplant”!
He looked like he had accepted his defeat and approaching Ayurveda was his last straw. Since I was a beginner in my practice, I was not sure if he can really count on us. However, our classical text has references about many such cases where the modern medicine has a limitation. This does not mean Ayurveda has a cure for every health issue. Our text also talks about cases that are impossible to treat, so limitations exists for Ayurveda too. Also I have many patients coming to me to say they want to avoid surgeries and hence prefer to take Ayurveda. Well, there is no such easy way out for certain cases. Rishi Sushrutha himself has stated in his book Sushrutha Samhita that cases that cannot be treated through medications, requires surgery. Allow me to state few examples in support of this. The very common condition of Cataract, Sushrutha has clearly stated that Surgery is the answer for this. I have had people asking me, is there any eye drops or medicines in Ayurveda that can simply help you get rid of it without surgery? My answer is, clear “No”. Another such example is case of Hemorrhoids(Piles), such cases also treated with Ayurveda medications only to certain extent, after which surgery is the only option as per Rishi Sushrutha!! People feel Ayurveda is a miracle!! Am sorry to say, it is NOT..
Coming back to his story, I did not assure him anything since I had no power to do so. All I could do was just listen and tell him to clarify all his queries with his treating physician. I couldn’t sit with his treating physician(my senior doctor) that day to know what had happened of that consultation, as there were other patients waiting to be screened and required my presence there.
The day got busy and I didn’t get to have a word with Senior Physician that day about his case. Later that day, I got to know he is been advised admission. Once the patient gets admitted, there was another elaborate procedure of case taking and this time it was not me but another Junior doctor who was assigned to work under this particular Senior Doctor. However, I still had not confronted his treating doctor to understand his line of treatment. However the patient was treated by him for few weeks(I do not remember the exact number of days) and then discharged.
Days later, his treating Physician(my Senior doctor)met me near the ward corridor as I was just returning from my morning rounds. He looked happy. I was curious to know the reason now:).. He initiated the talk. He asked” You remember that Cardiomyopathy patient, who was advised a Heart Transplant?” ” Yes” I answered. He continued” He had been for a follow up today with his cardiologist.”
“and” I replied, looking straight in to his eyes, curiously waiting to know what answer I would receive next!
” Doctors have advised him against the transplant for now, seeing his improvement.”!!!!!!! I just couldn’t believe what I had heard!! Now I was speechless for few seconds!! I was trying to visualize how the patient must have been rejoicing after having heard this from his cardiologist!! So, Ayurveda breathed the hope in him!! Hope to live life all over again!!
I congratulated the senior doctor for sharing the pleasant news with me and I was also proud of him and his expertise. I also realized that am blessed to be chosen for Ayurveda, to make this world a better place to live!! My obeisance to Lord Dhanwantari for choosing me for this mission..
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