Dr. A is the Hero in this compilation of short stories inspired from a real life character. Let me introduce him first. Dr. A is a knowledge freak. He took ten and a half years to complete the MB; BS course which most of the Doctors finish in a hurry within five had a half years. He did his own experiments with drugs and narcotics during this period. He attended all exams at least twice and was a 30 year old veteran by the time he was completely satisfied with his stint at Calicut the Medical College.
His first job was with a Cooperative Hospital. He worked for a whole of two months there and was a self proclaimed pet of his Boss. A senior Physician from that hospital called up our hospital recommending Dr. A for the post of Junior Registrar in the Department of Cardiology or in Medicine. It was believed to be a technical problem with some of the seniors that was responsible for his resigning the job there.
He joined us with a lot of fanfare. Three days into his job with our hospital, Dr. A had surpassed all expectations. My senior colleague Dr. V told me, "Hey GR, Now I know why those b-s-a-d- shunted him out. This is a Moron !". Without any more elaboration, let us move on to the stories.
This was almost a dozen years ago. Every single morning during rounds, Dr. C our Boss used to indulge in some interesting talk with the three of us; Dr. V, Dr. A and myself Dr. G. One day he said, "All of you are 30 now and must know the importance of exercise to keep yourself healthy. Do you people walk at all ?".
Dr. V said, "Yes Sir, both myself and my wife are members of a health club here and we do at least 4 days a week". I said, "Sir, I have a manual treadmill at home and do it 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week". Dr. C was pleased and said, "Good, very good. Keep pushing at it and avoid gaining weight and eat healthy. Well, Dr. A, how about you ? To be honest you look a little too overweight. So what do you do about it ?"
The gem of a reply from Dr. A: Sir, I like to exercise. I really love to. But I find very little time to exercise because of work. And I also get terrible sweating when I walk. I really hate this sweating. Much worse is the problem that I become hungrier after walking and eat quite a lot. That is why I don't exercise. But I am planning to start walking as soon as I find a solution to this sweating problem"
I was wondering which was more funny; the blank look on the face of Dr. C or the smirk on Dr. V's face. Then I settled for the absolutely clueless grin on the face of Dr. A !
The 'Final' Diagnosis
I was in the Stress Test lab on ground floor when I had a frantic call from the Intensive Care Unit on the second floor. It took me three minutes to finish the ongoing test. I rushed to the ICU wondering why did they call me in spite of the fact that Dr. A was there on duty.
As I huffed into the ICU, I saw Dr. A cooling himself under the fan and in front of the AC. Seeing my urgency, he said with a cool assurance, "Nothing to worry. I have seen the patient. Taken a complete and detailed history and done thorough clinical examination and come to a conclusion that the final diagnosis is Non-Cardiac Chest Pain". Since the nurse on duty gestured me towards the bed, I went over and found out to my utter dismay that the ECG monitor showed a straight line. The patient was dead !
The nurse's version of the story: Dr. A had examined the patient who came with chest pain and then went to cool himself before the air conditioner and under the fan. He promised to to see the ECG after recovering from the ordeal of detailed examination. He found no need to call anyone else saying, "It is alright. I can manage this. No need to disturb Dr. V or Dr. G. We will comfortably handle this".
The ECG showed evidence of an Extensive Anterior Myocardial Infarction [Massive Heart Attack]. I cursed myself for those three minutes, but I was helpless. We decided that day that Dr. A will not be left alone in charge of ICU anymore.
Certificate of Conduct
Dr. C, our Boss was extremely upset after the 'Final Diagnosis' and wanted to get rid of Dr. A. Right opportunity came calling when Dr. A decided to get married. A girl 11 years younger and doing LLB in Kochi was to be his bride. We all did attend the after wedding party at his residence and wished the girl a great future.
Dr. A came back after honeymoon a month later. By this time, Dr. C had made up his decision and he politely told, "Dr. A, I don't want to hurt you but I think we don't have a place for you here. You will have to find a suitable hospital for yourself and work in the wards and Casualty to gain enough experience before you can aspire to work in an ICU again. I wish you all the best for your future as well as married life. Thanks you".
Dr. A was crestfallen but pleaded with Dr. C for a certificate of experience and conduct. Dr. C, a man of extremely immaculate principles replied, "Again I am sorry Dr. A. But what kind of a certificate do you want ? I can't give you a glowing certificate about your exploits. I don't want to issue a false certificate. If I give you a truthful certificate, that would hurt your future rather than help you. I believe you'd be better without a certificate from me".
Dr. A came and talked at length to me and Dr. V and wanted to know why Dr. C didn't want him in the department. He wanted to know what was the meaning of a certificate hurting his cause rather than help him.
Dr. A never liked Dr. V and Dr. V too never missed a chance to reciprocate the same feelings. So Dr. V decided to write a copy of a certificate for him inspired from Richard Gordon's Doctor series.
The CertificateTo whomsoever it may concern or may not:
This is to certify that Dr. A claims to have worked in the Department of Cardiology of this Hospital for some time between 2 January 2000 to 1 April 2000. He believes he has gained enough experience during this period to manage any emergency in the Intensive Care Unit. We are yet to understand his real capabilities because he hasn't shown any of that as yet.
Dr. A is quite an overconfident young Doctor who believes he knows everything and that should help him if not his patients. His conduct and character during this period were entirely satisfactory to himself.
We wish him all the luck in future and more luck for his patients.
Catheterization on the first day !
Dr. A replied, "Oh my God, do you really think I should try that and that too today ? I can't do Cardiac Catheterization on my first day. I don't have the experience. Give me about one week and I shall do all that"
Now it was the turn of his senior colleague to be shocked. He said holding back his laughter, "Dr. A, I am quite pleased with your determination to do Cardiac Catheterization within one week. I am here for past one year and haven't done one myself. But if it pleases you, can you go and do the urinary bladder catheterization of this patient for now ?"
PS: Cardiac Catheterization is that process where a Doctor passes a Catheter into the Coronary Artery and heart of a patient to study the blood supply and other things pertaining to heart. People take a minimum of six months of observation and then two to three years of vigorous training to gain some kind of mastery over this technique.
Right man for the Right place
Dr. A had to leave the trust hospital in less than a month. The CEO called him after three weeks and handed over his cheque for the entire month and told, "Dr. A, here is your pay for the entire month. Kindly make yourself unavailable for duty in this hospital with immediate effect. And thank you". Finally we came to know Dr. A had joined a hospital claiming to specialize in 'Piles and Fistula' treatment.
Breaking this news to me, Dr. V told, "GR, our man Dr. Moron has finally found the right job for himself. The arsehole has finally landed with Piles and Fistula. It doesn't get any better than that".
Status Update: Mentally Unstable Enormous Talent !
I met Dr. A's grandfather about a year ago. He gave me the status update on his grandson. He said, "My grandson Dr. A is now working in a Government Hospital near Kasaragod. He is earning Rs. Three Lakhs now. He is enormously talented and a brilliant Doctor and that is why he got the job. But unfortunately his first wife left him with the child. They made a case of mental instability against him and they won it with money power. But God is with us. He is now married again. You are almost same age as him. Are you married ? And do you get paid as much salary now ? And why did you not try for Government job ? That is very lucrative"
So many questions ! I politely told him, "My daughter is twelve years old. Since I am not very brilliant, I was not selected for Government job. I am not eligible too because I am not from Kerala. I don't get any salary. I am a daily wages worker here and work on incentive basis. They pay me according to the work I do. I somehow manage to feed my family".
He replied, "Oh, that is alright. Even though you and other Doctors here drove him away, he is doing well today by God's grace. His wife also did a lot of harm to him. But he has recovered and living happily with his new wife. Try to be good to people in future and don't harm good people like my Grandson. God will definitely give you a better job and better life in future". Even through this sermon, he looked mighty pleased by my pathetic plight.
I had made a person happy and that is what mattered. I left him there without turning back to see further changes in the expressions on his face !
PS: Rs. Three Lakhs is the annual remuneration of a Medical Officer in Primary Health Centers who work on annual contract basis.