Dr. S. K. Thakur
Professor Of Surgery
May 29 2017
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I have been in the medical profession for nearly 35 years and have not done anything extraordinary in the field that may make people curious about this special day for me. Nevertheless, I am sharing the most felicitous moment of my professional life.
It was a usual Saturday afternoon in the month of May 1999 at my hometown Darbhanga in North Bihar. I was about to leave for Patna in my car when a tall slim young man with fair complexion suddenly entered through the gate and hailed the car.
Assuming him to be a patient or an attendant, I politely told him to come on Monday. I was taken aback when he said, “Sir, I have come all the way from Kashmir to consult you.” Curiosity got the better of me and I got out of the car and invited him in my chamber. He then very politely reminded me that he was an old patient of mine and jolted my memory back to two years before when I had repaired his Achilles tendon.
I had then just joined Darbhanga Medical College as an Assistant Professor of Surgery. I had joined the Government Health Services in 1983 and it had taken fourteen long arduous years to become an Assistant Professor. I had got a call from a nursing home at around 10 PM and being friends with the owner I went for the visit. The patient was the same Kashmiri boy, who was sitting in front of me, in my chamber that day. A final year BDS student of one of the Dental Colleges in Darbhanga, he had lacerated wound on the right ankle with a torn Achilles tendon. After examination, I told the patient that surgery was needed. The boy asked me “Sir, will I be able to run after the surgery, as I am an athlete.” Refusing to give him false hopes I said, “I think it is better if you consult an Orthopaedician”. But the boy spoke with his other Kashmiri friends who were accompanying him and gave the consent for surgery. I repaired the tendon and also put an above knee slab. After three weeks, I applied below knee walking plaster and discharged him. After that, I lost touch with him.
On that afternoon, I then, hesitantly asked him whether he was able to walk properly and was expecting an answer in the negative. To my pleasant surprise he told me that not just walking, he was running too. Feeling at peace I asked the reason for coming so far. He said that he had a hydrocele and the doctor in Kashmir had asked him to go under the knife. But his mother had insisted upon getting an opinion from “the doctor “ from Darbhanga who had treated him back then. I was touched by this faith and trust from a person who had not even met me. I examined him and to my utter surprise found that there was no hydrocele on any side. Even then I told him that the hydrocele was very small and could be treated with medicine. I prescribed some drugs for his satisfaction, though it was not needed. He then opened the briefcase he was carrying, and took out a Kashmiri shawl and said, “Sir, my mother has sent this shawl for you, please accept it.” I gratefully accepted the most valuable memento of my profession life.
Today Kashmir is riddled with many misguided and mistrusting youth but once upon a time, I knew one who had faith and belief in the system that is called INDIA.