Here are some city docs sharing their most cherished moment.
Dr Shalini Girdhar, forensic expert, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Mangolpuri
Finding a match for this 35-year-old forensic expert was a daunting task for her parents. “The idea of a postmortem conducting wife who spends her day in a mortuary didn’t appeal to many,” says the doctor who encounters rape, murder and suicide cases on a frequent basis. So, does it get unnerving for her at times? “I can’t say it doesn’t. Once I was standing in the court and a lawyer asked me some inappropriate question to break me down. But experience made me wiser. It’s the thrill of getting a criminal punished that keeps her going,” she says. “The investigating officer tells you a different story and when you conduct postmortem, it turns out to be a murder. I got an assailant arrested in a murderer case where the IO’s report claimed natural death. A feeble ligature mark proved strangulation,” she shares. The most daunting part of her job is to not let all the negative energy around her affect her spirit. “That’s when music and dance comes to my respite,” says the doctor who’s also a trained classical dancer.
Dr. Jyoti Bala Sharma, neurosurgeon, Fortis Hospital, Noida
This young woman aimed to become a neurosurgeon right from her childhood. But she hated her decision when the mother of a young girl, whose brain cells were dying, came to her pleading to save her daughter’s life and she couldn’t do much. Dr. Sharma’s faith in her profession is reinstated every time she bids goodbye to patients who enter her chamber on a stretcher and leave on their feet after treatment. “Neurology is a tad tricky. A number of diseases don’t fall under a particular bracket and the outcome is fatal. Explaining to family members that we can’t save a life is no mean task,” she says. Her defining moment came when she gave a 95-year-old man a clot dissolving drug that recovered him completely. “This drug worked wonders for him. His life would have been miserable after a paralytic attack. Miracles do happen,” she smiles.
Dr Abhilasha Pathak, *obstetrics & gynaecologist, Life Care Hospital, Noida
For Dr. Pathak, it’s a profession full of surprises and there are times when you’re not prepared for one. “Everything else can wait, but babies can’t! I had to miss the climax of Lagaan to rush back immediately for one emergency delivery case. I was greeted by a toothless smile that pumped up my spirits,” she shares. Her most interesting case was an undiagnosed twin pregnancy. “When I thought I was done, and everyone was relieved in the labour room, I suddenly spotted another pair of tiny legs. There was chaos and the mother, doctor, staff was equally shocked. But all went off well. I had a big adrenaline rush at that time. But now it seems amusing,” says Dr Pathak.
Dr Deepak Raheja, head, psychiatry, Paras Hospital
He would have happily been a theater artist had his father not prodded him to explore the intriguing dynamics of the human mind. “The seeds of that idea were sown quite early, as I grew up with a father who was a psychiatrist himself,” says Dr Raheja. For him, “Seeing people transform themselves is a joy. The beautiful thing about that is that the process inspires you too and helps you evolve as a person in tandem.” Dr Raheja can’t forget the day he came across a dehydrated, disheveled person on Sohna Road. “He was suffering from Schizophrenia and had been wandering the streets for days. I brought him to my rehab center, gave him a good scrub, arranged fresh clothes for him and put him on appropriate medication. Within a week of care, the person beneath all those layers of grime and mental turbulence emerged. Nothing can replace the joy of seeing him recover and start relating to the world afresh,” he says.
Dr Anupam Sibal, **Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals
Dr Anupam Sibal chose pediatrics for the challenges it offers. One case that remains closest to Dr Sibal’s heart is that of a 18 month old child who was suffering from biliary atresia, a birth defect in the connection between the liver and intestine. “He needed a liver transplant. The father, a weaver, decided to donate a part of his liver to his son. The arduous task was to counsel the parents and arrange for the funds too. We had to make them realize that a successful liver transplant had never been performed in India,” he recalls. After a twelve-hour long surgery, the boy was saved. “A new ray of hope had emerged for all such children in India. As I watched the child walk towards me a few months later in Chennai, my heart was filled with satisfaction that is indescribable,” says the doc who believes in miracles.* “*Miracles do happen. Nihal was born after 8 years of marriage. He developed liver failure and needed a transplant. His pregnant mother was unable to donate. The family had no money. An appeal was put out in the media. A generous donor agreed to bear the expenses. The same day, his aunt came forward to donate a part of her liver and Nihal underwent the surgey. He leads a normal life today,” he says.
Dr Rahul Gera, radiologist, Adiva & Holy Family Hospital
The doctor, who saved his father’s life on a holiday, couldn’t reach on time for the delivery of his only child as he was on 24 hours duty. An ardent believer in prayers, Dr Gera is of the opinion that “Medical science only knows fraction of the complex human body. There’s a force working up there that can make even the most unthinkable come true.” While he was suffering from multiple liver abscesses at age 12, Dr Gera wanted to be an engineer until he came across a dedicated doctor. “His devotion to his profession and the adulation he got from his little patients changed my mind,” he says.
Dr.Arun Bhanot, chief of spine services, Primus Super Speciality Hospital
Performing keyhole procedures for slip disc gives this orthopadician* *the same adrenaline rush he experiences as he slides down mountain slopes. The adventure sport junkie cherishes the moments when his patients come back to thank him. “It makes my day when a patient tells me his agony has disappeared. I thank God that I was chosen to help that person. But there are moments I hate myself for not being able to help someone who’s suffered a lot,” he says. A believer in miracles, he says, “I operated on a young girl who was on life support system. I knew she wouldn’t make it. It was a miracle that I saved her and she was walking by herself a few days later. I realized my prayers were answered,” he says.
Dr Rustam P. Soonawala, director, Max Institute of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Delhi
80, and going on strong, he’s a Padamshree awardee for his achievements in the field of family planning. The doctor, who has delivered babies for actors Kajol, Karishma and Juhi Chawla, thanks God he chose to be an obstetrician and not a surgeon. “It brings a lot of happiness to the entire family when a baby is born, and you, as an obstetrician, become a part of that happy event,” says the doctor who admires women for their strength and tolerance level.