Motivation for this post is to share with you amazing experiences that we have had with medical professionals over the years. An equally important purpose is to recognize this noble profession for their contributions.
The pandemic has generated lot of negativities for many front-line health workers. In my humble view, Cognitive Biases have only magnified these impressions. One of the pitfalls of Cognitive Biases (which all of us have) is that we, unconsciously and readily, accept the data that reinforces our beliefs. For example, if my belief is that maids coming to houses during pandemic are spreading the infection and the media highlights the same with real data, it hardens that belief. The other real data is that there are thousands of maids working across India and visiting houses while media cited just one who infected twenty people. So, those highlighted by media are statistically insignificant. Same goes for many such instances cited in last 18 months.
Experiences over many years with medical professionals that we have had are wonderful. Here we go with some of the real impactful ones.
In 2001, I receive a call from my father late evening that my mother had a fall and she will need to undergo surgery. The surgery will be performed only when I reach the hospital. I approach my supervisor early morning and inform him that I need to go on leave for a week.
“I am not giving you leaves” is his immediate response.
I am looking at his face and about to say that I will go for unpaid leave as my mother needs me. He tells me to go but he not giving me leaves as I can work from there on Laptop.
“I will be in hospital and will not be able to do so.”
“Will you be able to work for couple of hours at home during her stay in hospital”? quips my supervisor.
I say “Yes.” His concluding sentence of short meeting is: “Just go and work whenever you can.” I fly the same day from Bangalore to Indore and head straight to the hospital.
Day of surgery, my mother is wheeled on stretcher and am with her till entrance of the OT. She is in tears as it is first time in her life that she has been at hospital and that too for undergoing a surgery. The surgeon walks in at the same time, overhears our conversations and immediately says: “मां आपको क्या चिंता है, मैं आपका बेटा हूं” and holds her hand in his hands. (Translation: O Mother, why are you worried, I am your son). There is a big smile on face of my mother; am so relieved because nothing that I would have told her would have given this result.
Year 2014. We have moved to Baroda and within a month, my parents visit us. We have very little network in town. It is a Sunday and my father develops an excruciating pain in his tooth, all of a sudden. All dentists are closed on Sunday and so are OPDs in hospitals.
We search on net and locate a dentist with same last name as ours. The community is not very spread out and we are surprised to read his name. I called him and shared the issue we have. He agrees to examine my father. He opens the clinic himself and has no help. He treats my father and when I thank him for being so kind, his response in is: “इतने बुजुर्ग हैं, इतना तो करना जरुरी है.” (Translation: He is so old, have to certainly attend to him.) My father is relieved of his pain and completes his treatment within a week.
A year passes and my parents spent some time at their hometown and visit us again. Father has Varicose Veins and has been operated a couple of years ago. However, he gets swelling on his feet every day and finds it difficult to wear shoes. His friends have recommended a doctor in Baroda for consultations.
We visit the doctor at OPD in a hospital. My father undergoes a Sonography. Doctor asks me if we can visit his Private Clinic with the reports the same evening and we answer in affirmative.
After examining the reports, doctor says he will himself do the Sonography and that we should come to the hospital when he calls us. We step out and ask the receptionist for the fee to be paid to which she replies none, after a small chat with the doctor in his room.
Next day, Sonography is performed by doctor in hospital and we visit his clinic again. We are advised that surgery has not been successful and there is a problem at one place. He writes a prescription and informs me that the tablet is based on Natural extracts and if nothing good happens, nothing bad will happen either. He writes by a Fountain pen, very leisurely and it is best handwriting I have ever seen.
My father is anxious and seeks a treatment to get rid of the swelling. Doctor pulls up his trousers and shows to him that he too has Varicose Veins and asserts that he is himself a Surgeon. There is relief on face of my father.
We come out of his room and asks his receptionist for the payment of charges. She speaks to the doctor on intercom and informs us nothing to be paid.
We consulted him twice at his Clinic and he did not charge a penny. The reason he asked us to come to hospital only when he informs us is to avoid paying twice for the sonography.
I can write many such experiences. Gratitude to Dr. Saxena, Dr. Jinsiwale, Dr. Bishnoi and Dr. Bhammar for stepping out of there professional roles in exceptional manner and helping my parents and, of course, us. I am ever indebted to them and many others. My father gifted an idol of Ganesh Ji to one of the doctors whose first name translates to Ganesh. The doctor accepted it and told my father that he has a roomful of Ganesh idols at home…says a lot about his legacy.
My parents are in my heart now, as always, though they have migrated to another world.
Stay Safe, Stay Protected and Stay Blessed, always.