I was in mid of the major surgery when I received a call on my mobile.
My anesthetist held it close to my ear. "Bhaiyya aaj kaab aa rahe
ho? " My delay in recognizing her voice made her impatient. "kyon
pahachana nahi kya?" I have made so many sisters during my 20 yrs
of surgery that my wife makes laugh of me on the day of Rakhi. Just
to impart more confidence and lessen her fear of surgery, we call all
the women bahanjee. Few turn into bahan and some of them have made the
bond so strong that they keep on calling sincerely and insist that their
name should remain in my mobile phone book. Similarly I have many mothers
and other relatives scattered around. It is a pleasure to have so much
love and regards. But there are some practical difficulties which disturbs
your life. Since there is no inhibition left in those relations, they
call you at any odd hours for a trivial problem which is not related
to surgery. They seek your guidance to select the doctor for there illness.
Further, they request you to call and tell that doctor about them. They
also expect you to ask him not to take consultation fees. Last evening
one of my patient had an eye problem. I referred him to an ophthalmologist.
My patient asked me about his fees. I told it to be 100 Rs. This fellow
says, "will he charge me even after I give your letter to him?".
I was annoyed, and said "Why should he not?"
He said coolly "But you don't". I said "see you have
become my relative. When you become his relative too, then he will not
There is problem at every stage of treatment. It is never a professional
affair. My mother was my class teacher. I was never comfortable with
her as a student. Every relation is different and has it's own sanctity.
These patients don't follow your instructions properly. They expect
you to not to write costly drugs. After you have examined and handed
over the prescription, they expect you to give you medicines from samples.
You also feel to help them and give them similar medicine in an inadequate
dose, saying, come back again, I will try to arrange the rest of medicine
from some representative. The patient feels some what better in 2-3
days and never comes back. The disease props up in 3-4 days due to inadequate
treatment. His family members advice him to go to another doctor. They
say your doctor doesn't take you seriously because you don't pay him.
When a surgery is decided they never follow your instructions for the
admission. You wait for the patient, OT is ready, anesthetist has fixed
up this morning for you but the patient does not arrive. For a normal
patient you insist admission at previous night. He gets accustomed to
the hospital atmosphere and the team is also assured. It is not a good
practice to get the patient of surgery directly from road to Operation
Theater. You make a nominal bill of surgery, but they are never satisfied.
Firstly they never expect that you will charge for surgery. We also
try to dilute our operation fees by mixing it with OT, Anesthesia and
Assistant charges, but some are blunt enough to ask about the split.
Whatever goes wrong, they blame you that since you are not taking normal
charges from them, you are not giving quality service.
In the post operative period there are thousands of "Tell me why?"
questions. You don't have precise answers to all quarries. Then you
get irritated. They feel now your behavior has changed. You were not
so during previous surgery. During his previous surgery you had less
work, so it was possible for you to give more time and make relations.
He remembers that last time you brought fruits for him and use to sit
with him during morning and evening rounds. In fact how to tell him
that you were the only operated patient, I had no other patient of whom
I would have taken round. Now you are busier, the time is distributed
in many patients; you have grown by 10 yrs, so the patience has reduced.
During the post operative period, after discharge they expect you to
visit their home. "Doctor please wait for two minutes and have
a cup of tea with us on your way back". I have full regards for
these calls but the life has become so hectic that you crave to go home
as early as possible for want of simple meals and sleep. It is never
Doctor patient relation is as such a very sweet and noble relation.
There is no need to dilute it by making the patient your Baap or Dada.
You can develop close relations, he should feel free to ask you any
no of questions, but there should always be a glass curtain in between
you and him. Never develop sentimental relations. In case of mishap,
you will not be able to continue surgery. It is not becoming cruel,
but if the surgeon becomes weak, how will he face the blood?
If the patient comes to you as a normal patient, with appointment, pays
you your normal consultation fees, gets a date for surgery, follows
your instructions properly, it is he who is benefited most. No need
to say that in turn it brings you name and fame.