Stories about doctors

The doctor cannot see you today – he’s tired

Ever wondered if your doctor had a birthday party to attend? A valeema to go to? A bunch of kids at home wailing out in indignation because daddy hadn’t come home in time to take them to their favourite park? He would have, had he not received a call about a patient with a ruptured aneurysm. As a doctor, I have never met a surgeon who, at some point during the surgical procedure, did not envy the person sleeping soundly on the operating table in front of him. Barely more awake than the patient he operates upon, his tired mind races through the ...

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A plea from a young doctor

Dear people, I do not receive any pay, perks or privileges for my job. I have to work 28 days a month with only two Sundays off. Every week, I have to perform emergency duties at least once for 12 continuous hours, apart from ward duties that extend up to 30 consecutive hours. Who am I? You guessed it – I am a young doctor working in a public sector hospital in Pakistan. This hospital is in Punjab and I’ve been working here for some time now. There are three main departments in any hospital namely the emergency department, the indoor department and the outdoor ...

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Kidnapping culture: They show no remorse

Just like all the other crimes, this one is a part and parcel of life in Karachi. Hearing about a case of abduction did not really give me goose bumps before. However, all this changed the day one of my own kin got kidnapped. Being a professor at a medical college, lecturer of another and a doctor,  Reza* possessed all the qualities of being the perfect ‘victim.’ He was kidnapped on the outskirts of Karachi, on his way to the university along with the driver of the university car. His family did not know for hours and only tried to contact ...

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Goodbye, Dr House

As the saying “all good things come to an end” goes, “House M.D.”, the brilliantly written show, ended last week. There have been numerous television dramas over the years based on doctors and hospitals including “General Hospital” from the 60s to “Scrubs” and “Grey’s Anatomy” during the 2000s. “House M.D.” embarked on a journey to create its own presence and niche when it first aired in 2004. It is based on an ingenious but misanthropic doctor who is willing to cross all boundaries to solve a case. His actions are seen to be driven by his passion for medical puzzles and ...

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The true meaning of love

She was 78 years old; fair, tall, elegant and beautiful. She had been in a relationship with her husband for 60 years, yet their love seemed fresh – an awe-inspiring bond that spoke of young love. I first saw her when her husband brought her to the hospital for a general check-up. What a sight they were; him ever-smiling, with a tinge of pride as he pushed his wife’s wheelchair. A sense of satisfaction and contentment emanated from them. She was suffering from osteoarthritis, and was0 visiting a physician under whose supervision I was doing a research project. A few weeks into ...

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Doctors, where art thou?

Pakistan has a count of ‘athara crore awaam’ (thank you, dear politicians, for continuously repeating this in the television talk shows) while the doctor/patient ratio was a mere 1:1,800 in 2010 – that means a single doctor catered to the medical woes of 1,800 people, and the situation has not seen much improvement ever since. The constitution of Pakistan clearly describes that the state has a responsibility, “To provide basic necessities of life, such as, food, clothing, housing, education and medical relief, for all citizens, irrespective of sex, caste, creed or race.” But where does the problem lie? It lies in the fact that ...

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Saving Face: An Oscar for mediocrity?

In February, when Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Film, Saving Face, on acid burn victims won an Oscar, I was sceptical. Accolade seemed to focus on how great it was for Pakistan to have this honour – and whenever people get jingoistic, you know that the core may be hollow.   Frankly, there are two reasons why the film won the Oscar: excellent public relations work, and choice of topic that fits the western narrative of acceptable ways to talk about Muslim women – as victims of patriarchal religious violence without any emphasis on the larger socio-economic context in which this violence ensues and whether there are ...

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Your child needs surgery – come back in 2016

Here’s something interesting that happened a few days ago. I was going about my routine afternoon work when I was interrupted by a lady who walked into my office with a cute four-year-old boy by her side. The lady introduced herself as the daughter of a maid who used to work at our house a long time ago. As she spoke I could not help but notice the little boy, Rehman was his name, as he had already started fiddling with a pen that had been sitting on my desk. As my attention shifted back to the mother, she handed me ...

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The politics of doctors’ protests

Fifty per cent of the general cadre doctors in Punjab retire while still in the basic pay scale (BPS). The health department, like many other government departments, doesn’t have clearly defined requirements procedure which, once attained, put you into the next pay scale. This is what the doctors call a service structure and are fighting for in Punjab these days. The issue came in to the limelight this time when 691 new doctors were recruited by the Punjab government through the Punjab Public Service Commission. The government had to transfer around 450 doctors to adjust these new doctors which infuriated ...

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In marriage, golden jubilee anniversaries do happen

Sometimes memories of the years that have passed roll on in front of our eyes like old black and white movies. On April 8, every year since 1962, I have felt that way and am reminded each year of the day I married my beloved wife. This year is our golden jubilee anniversary, and I plan to celebrate it with my wife by my side, God willing. On this day, I intend to invite our relatives and friends, not to celebrate the day we got married, but the happy days we have spent together and how we have made an impact ...

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