Having graduated from Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, I had just completed my internship. I was hurrying towards the medical superintendent's (MS) office to get a certificate for the same. For a doctor, this means you are qualified to see your patient by yourself, along with a personal registration number. Writes Sandeep S Chhatwal.chandigarh Updated: Nov 28, 2014 10:58 IST
Having graduated from Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, I had just completed my internship. I was hurrying towards the medical superintendent's (MS) office to get a certificate for the same.
For a doctor, this means you are qualified to see your patient by yourself, along with a personal registration number.
Walking with me was my father, discussing future options. Would I be doing a house job, would I be preparing for the United States medical licensing examination or would I be sitting at home and preparing for the post-graduate entrance examination? I was half ears to all these plans, for excitement of receiving the internship certificate had got the better of me.
Just then, I heard a woman call out, "Doctor sahib". As I turned around, I saw a young woman cradling an infant, smiling at us. Before I could ask her who she was, I found that the infant had been transferred into my hands with the remark, "Baccha...aapka baccha (Child…your child)." I looked at the lady aghast!
She continued, "Chalo baccha to aapne janam par dekha tha…par aap mujhe kaise bhool gaye (You're not recognising the child is understandable but how can you forget me)?"
With one hand on the pallu of her sari, she ended her monologue with the final nail in the coffin, "Main toh woh raat kabhi nahin bhool sakti (I can never forget that night)."
I wanted to slap myself to make sure I was not dreaming. Her words rang in my ears like a volley of bullets. Waves of disbelief, winds of confusion and a storm of questions, all blew over me at once. I wanted to tell her, "Well lady, you're mistaken. I've never touched a girl in my life...and what night are you talking about?" The more I wanted to resolve the situation, the more I got tongue-tied.
I stood still and was hardly able to breathe. My eyes shifted from the lady to my father, who had the look of a quizmaster waiting to bombard me with questions.
"God! What have I landed into? I never did any such thing," I thought. Dad must have realised my predicament and made a timely intervention. As he made conversation with the lady, she told us that she was admitted to the hospital for delivering her baby a year ago. She remembered me as the only compassionate doctor who had alleviated her pain that night.
The baby and the mother both seemed unfamiliar to me. But then, during obstetrics, with so many deliveries in a day, one can hardly recognise the women later. My patient, on the other hand, had not forgotten my face and seeing me could not contain her happiness.
"Mera baccha...bilkul ji, yeh mera baccha hai," I said, relieved. Dad smiled with a twinkle in his eye. Now that I had calmed down, I headed towards the office of the MS having learnt the final lesson before my degree. First look for facts by taking a proper history of the patient...and then act or react.