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Why "Baap-Dada"?

Window Surgery

Why Baap Dada, let him remain Mr. patient !

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 charge."

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 two minutes.

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.