Doctor Diaries: Dr SM Bose's story of sticking to your values and doing what's right
M3 India Doctor Diaries Oct 02, 2018
As the first entry in the Doctor Diaries section, today we share a story by Dr. SM Bose, former senior professor and head of surgery, PGIMER, Chandigarh.
Doctor Diaries is M3 India's new blog section where we encourage our doctor members to share stories and anecdotes from their professional lives that may have made a deep personal impact. If you have a story to tell, write down your story and the lessons it left you with and share with us on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.We will give it the audience that it deserves. Read more about Doctor Diaries here.
A young lady, about 19 years old, a non-resident Indian student, was admitted under Prof. Santokh Singh Anand, the Head of Surgery and Director of the Institute. She was admitted in the private ward for surgery of Pilonidal Sinus. I was the resident in charge of the patient.
She was accompanied by a prominent political leader, who used to be a cabinet minister in a neighbouring state. The minister was her local guardian and he had brought her to Prof. Anand for operation. The patient was operated upon and was making satisfactory progress following surgery. Three or four days after the operation, when I was taking evening round, I found that this young lady, who usually used to be a jovial person, was very upset and was literally crying. I was surprised and asked her if she was having pain? She said no, “Why are you crying? Feeling homesick? Missing your hostel?” , i enquired but she denied. I persisted with my question and finally what she revealed was very surprising and also quite disturbing. She told me that her local guardian, the politician, was trying to take liberty with her, trying to physically touch her at odd places giving an excuse of comforting her. Because of surgery, she mostly used to lie on her abdomen and I could very well imagine the meaning of her complaint.
She asked me if I could help her to avoid him. I did not know what could be done. Finally, I thought of an action plan but that required my patient to have the courage to give in writing a complaint against her local guardian in case it becomes necessary. She promised to stand by her statement. She further informed me that she was scared as the gentleman would be coming after a little while and I made up my mind to tackle the issue that very day.
After some time, I saw the gentleman in the corridor of the ward, walking towards the room. I was waiting in the corridor of the ward, walked towards him, stopped him and told him that my patient did not want him to visit her. He knew me and asked, “Do you know that I am her local guardian and I have got her admitted over here?” I told him that I was aware of that fact, but as he was misbehaving with her, she did not want him to enter her room. He looked disturbed and angry but before he could say anything, I told him that in case he entered the room then I would inform Prof. Anand, the Director of the Institute, and he would have a tough time in getting out of the allegations. He looked at me, thought for a minute or two, and then walked away out of the ward.
I went inside the room and informed the young lady about my confrontation with her local guardian and the outcome. I told her that her worry was over and she need not worry about him. He had gone away and would not trouble her in the hospital.
This was sometime in the end of 1967, PGI had started 1962, it was under Punjab government. The institute was administered by eminent medical persons who were honest, hardworking, very disciplined and did not care about politicians. The cabinet minister was aware of this and did not dare to confront me and quietly walked away. I am sure that the present generation of residents or even faculty member will not dare to confront a politician for anything.
Dr.SM Bose is a former senior professor and head of surgery, PGIMER, Chandigarh, former President of Association of Surgeons of India, President of Indian association of surgical gastroenterology and Chandigarh surgical society. Recipient of two Dr.B.C.Roy National Awards and one National award by Department of Science and Technology. He is credited with a number of innovations and modifications of surgical procedures.
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