Hippocratic Oath and the story of a Neurosurgeon

Hippocratic Oath and the story of a Neurosurgeon

This one is an abridged version of one of my short stories.
My fiancée Sudha and I completed our MBBS form the same LT College located at Mumbai in 1975.We fell in love from the First year itself and continued the courtship until we graduated. Since I scored better, I was able to get the admission for the Neurosurgery course, which was my favorite subject. I had another reason to opt for it. My father was also a Neurosurgeon. May be the subject was in my blood.
Sudha wanted to pursue her MD in General Medicine, but could not get the admission on merit. The College was willing to admit her if we paid a substantial amount of donation. Sudha refused to go off the track. Even I was against it .Two of us were known as very principled creatures who always lived as per the rulebook. They nicknamed us as "Mahatma Gandhi pair'.
No hanky- panky, no lies, no bribe. We always took the Hippocratic oath very seriously. No deviations, no compromises with the profession, at any cost was the promise we made to each other. Whenever we visited the temple we read the oath before the idol.
This is what my father always did. He would say “In college we took the oath on the name of the Greek healing gods, why not reaffirm it before the Gods we believe in !”
Although, she could not do her MD, she started her practice as a GP after we married. We had a son whom we named Ankit. Somehow, when Ankit was around 10, I fell in love with a MS assistant of mine whom I married. I was the HOD in the premium Institute of the country at that time. After knowing this Sudha willingly gave me the divorce without asking for any alimony and we departed like good friends. She refused to stay with us.
“Take full care of Ankit and be loyal to your profession, always!” she insisted.
“Yes dear, I will!” I said, hugged her for the last time, kissed her on her forehead ,apologized profusely, and departed.
She shifted to Delhi where her parents stayed at that time. Somehow, the relationship was limited to a few telephone calls and a solitary visit by her to my house.She had opened a NGO and spent her time energy and money for service of the poor and down –trodden- not only in India but also all over the globe. She worked very hard.
******************************************************************************** How can I forget the fateful morning when my PA stood behind me, kept her hand on my shoulder, while I was in my surgeon’s gown. I stood at the entry of the OT.
“Yes” I turned and asked her annoyingly. “What is the matter Sheela ?”
Everyone in the Hospital knew that I could not be disturbed once I was in gown, until I completed the surgery at hand. It had never happened before.
She told me about some emergency telephone call.
“Please handle the situation, whatever it may be, as you feel fit. Let me do my job.” I said and entered the OT, banging the door behind me.
The surgery was successful. On my return, I was told that there was a call from the LT Hospital and that my son had met with a road accident and was hospitalized. A junior surgeon from my Hospital was already sent by Sheela to attend to him,
I ran to the Hospital and was pleasantly surprised that he was being properly taken care of. They took him to the Hospital I had graduated form and my ex- student who was actually on emergency leave, and who worked there as a Surgeon was summoned from his home for attending to the emergency. I had made a point to ensure that all my students took the H oath very seriously, what come may.
They took the oath upon the God they believed in. My student (who had lost his father late night on earlier day ) bound by the H oath left the cremation ground, immediately after burning the pyre. No, at that time he did not know that Ankit was my son.
It was only a little later (when I met her) that I realized that Sudha my ex- wife had picked up Ankit from the road. She said she was on a round to meet the patients in the LT Hospital when the NGO Volunteers reported to her about the Accident. Since the site was not very far, she rushed there in an Ambulance and picked up Ankit.
She said she could not identify him when she was picking him up, since she was seeing him after a lapse of about 5 to 7 years. He was bearded and mustached. He was about 18 years at that time. She as a volunteer and a Dr. just did her duty, got him admitted and attended to immediately. "That is what it was !", she told me.
******************************************************************************* The story doe not end here. The same night when Ankit was still in the Hospital, my 2nd wife Kamini’s driver Ganpat came to see him. I found him drunk. Normally, he did not drink. I knew the last time he drank was about 2 years ago. He drank only when some disaster struck him. That time he had lost his wife in an accident.
Something serious happened that day too, I thought. I took him out. Patted his back to make him comfortable. He drew out a 1,000/-Rs. note from the pocket of his pant and gave it to me.
“Dr saab, please accept this and pardon me, kill me if you want. I am so much ashamed of myself!” he said
“What happened Ganpat !” I asked him
“We passed through the road, this morning when Ankit was lying there un- attended and bleeding badly. I saw his bike too. I told madam to let me stop the car, but she refused saying she would be late as she had to attend an emergency case.”
“She said she would phone for an ambulance after she reached the Hospital. I asked her to go to the hospital in a taxi so that I could take Ankit to the hospital, but she refused. She gave this note to me after we reached the Hospital and asked me to keep mum.”
“She said she never wanted Ankit to get your property. She promised me more money.”
“After I left madam at her hospital, which took me about an hour, I rushed back to the accident site. But Ankit baba was not there.” ********************************************************************************
I am 60+ now, so is Sudha. I divorced Kamini and remarried Sudha. I am paying a huge amount of alimony to Kamini . Sudha subsequently received the Magsaysay award for her services. Ankit is also a Neurosurgeon at the same LT Hospital where I studied.
Life is almost the same. He too visits the temple. He too is a strong believer of the H Oath.

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  1. nmod

    If this is an excerpt from a story about your life . I’m afraid it seems to have lost a lot in the editing process .
    It reads like a script from a movie …it has the good guy , the bad guy , the loyal servant , a tragic event and a happy ending .
    I’m sorry … I’m lost . It’s not the words that I don’t understand ,but the concept of the story .

  2. Abhilaaj Post author

    Thanks, true enough, your views are welcome.
    Yes, attempting to prune a test match to a 20-20 game was tough ! My onus was on the importance of the H. Oath on human life.

  3. roseinbloom

    Abhilaaj, In the west, we put a lot of importance on the marriage oath, You don’t even explain why you thought it was ok to just dump a blameless woman and take her son. Both horrendous wrongs to a wife and mother. Your culture is very different evidently.
    Maybe you could share the marriage vows with us.

  4. Abhilaaj Post author

    Thanks for frank comments, bloom. It is,although written in 1st person, it is not my personal story. These issues were discussed by me in the original story, but were removed during editing.
    The Dr. gets in an affair with his assistant and the first wife always wanted to visit places for doing medical charity and social work. She declines the charge of the son.
    In fact as the title would suggest the importance was on following the H.oath in Toto and on how it can do wonders when followed and vice versa. That’s why I removed some portions such as those pointed out by you.

  5. Abhilaaj Post author

    It is an act of fiction. I had to cut down the volume. May be the editing was not appropriately done. There are missing links, agreed.
    Thanks for pointing out to me, Tania and Bloom !