Stories about doctors’ heroics, with them ‘playing God’ and weaving miracles are dime a dozen. As doctors, to treat strangers in the controlled environs of a hospital is one thing. But to treat their own kith and kin, that too in emergencies, far removed from healthcare facilities is quite another. Such situations can arise in remote places, where emergency medical services are nonexistent. For that matter, even one’s own home could witness the last breath of the person.
I know two colleagues of mine who saved the lives of their dear ones, quite recently, earning accolades and appreciation of lesser mortals such as I (who, as a young naïve doctor failed to get my father, who suffered a massive heart attack in the early hours of the morning reach the hospital alive to avail timely treatment), in the process. They held on to their nerves admirably. They did not lose their poise and composure, and, more importantly, presence of mind. In situations where even the ‘bravest’ among doctors, lose their poise, and more crucially, ability to decide and execute the right course of action, they held on and could save their dear ones.
One of them is an anesthesiologist who, a few days after her post-graduation found her father in some degree of uneasiness at home, when she returned from work. She took him to the hospital smelling trouble. He collapsed at the hospital. Without waiting for other doctors’ arrival at the scene, she decided to act herself. She instituted CPR, and connected her father to the ventilator and captained his treatment and brought him home herself, giving him a new lease of life. The second one is an oncology surgeon. In wee hours one night, she found her husband, a prominent and an eminent oncologist in considerable chest pain. Sensing trouble, she did not wait for the ambulance she had called for. She placed herself in the driver’s seat literally in her own car. With one hand on the pulse of her sweating husband, and with the other on the steering wheel, and praying aloud, (as narrated by her husband who survived to tell the tale). She entrusted her ailing husband to the cardiologists, who stented a clogged coronary through an angiogram—veritably, a stitch in time!
After a few days of recuperation in the hospital, the oncologist was restored to his family, society, and more importantly his dear patients, none of whom could afford to lose him.
These stories stress the quality doctors need to possess—a lion’s heart, when crisis strikes in its worst form. Noticeably, both these doctors were women. Whoever said that women constitute the “weaker sex”?