Being a doctor is not a joke, though there may be many a joke themed on doctors.
Being a doctor is not a joke, though there may be many a joke themed on doctors. Listening to the experiences of my friend, a leading pulmonary specialist in Chennai, I do agree that the life of a doctor can be deadly.
A woman patient who frequented his hospital would always come with a long handwritten list of symptoms associated with her illness, hearing which any person, let alone a doctor, would swoon. She kept the list in her handbag, and on entering the doctor's cabin, would pull it out like a magician's rabbit and read out every single symptom from the list.
To disarm her, the doctor made an offer of a hundred rupees incentive to his secretary, if only she could hoodwink the 'symptomatic' woman and manage to take out from her bag her dreaded list. Next time the patient entered the doc's cabin and realised that her list was missing, she became restless.
The doc smiled and asked her, "Tell me, ma'am, what are your symptoms?" The woman took a deep breath, pulled out another list from her dress, and said, "Thank god, I always keep a duplicate, should the original go missing," shattering the doc's peace.
During my friend's initial posting in government service in a rural area, he was in charge of an infertility centre. He administered an injection to 20 women patients who couldn't conceive post marriage. Soon, four of them got pregnant. This drew admirers and more patients to his hospital.
The villagers said, "There's a young doctor who has come to our place. He's able to make our women pregnant." This sent shock waves in the doc, who promptly sought a transfer from his assignment that was pregnant with ominous signals.
In yet another rural assignment, a man came to his clinic and requested him to issue a death certificate to his 98-year-old grandma. "I can't issue it without seeing the body," the doc was firm. So he was taken to the dead woman's house where the body was in a lying-in-state and folk music for the departed soul was played out by a specialist 'dance at death squad' in full throttle.
The doc went to the body and placed the steth on the chest. Beats were heard and he was baffled if they were from the dead oldie's heart or from outside. He checked again. The old woman was very much alive, but in a sort of coma. The shocked villagers started crying. "This young doctor doesn't know a thing about medicine. Let's call another senior doctor." The senior came and he too declared the woman alive, saving my friend's skin. The ceremony was halted and everyone disbanded.
The next day, the same man came to the clinic and said, "Today she's really dead. But we'll commence the ceremony only if you give the green signal, doctor." The doc placed the steth and declared that the old woman was indeed dead. Like a priest announcing for auspicious moments in a marriage, "Band and nadaswaram, please," my doctor friend said, "Drums and dance, please," and left the 'deadly' scene in a hurry, mentally typing his transfer request yet again.