Sunday, October 28, 2007

First patient

At the start of any venture it is difficult. Medical profession is no different. Especially true when there are so many of us competing for the same custom. The memory of my first patient is still vivid though it occurred some 35 odd years ago.
She came in wiping perspiration off her forehead. Her opening remark was that I should fix an awning in front to prevent the sun shining in. I had not even thought of that as a necessity. After this opening gambit she settled down to the business of finding out my antecedents. After confirming that I am a qualified physician who uses allopathic medications she took out a bundle and small note. Inside the bundle there were foils and small bottles of leftover medications. She said, referring to the note she had in her hand, ‘doctor these are all medicines I bought but have not used and the market value is Rs----- [this she had calculated after consulting with her chemist]. I am willing to give them for Rs--------- which you can see, is less than 50% of the value’. She sat waiting for my answer. Taken aback, I told her that I am not a dispenser of medicines and therefore these were of no use to me. She must have read the disappointed look on my face [as I realized that she was not a patient] as I too did on her face [because I would not buy her medicines].
She grabbed her bundle and giving me a rather pitying look went her way.
I sat wondering if this was what general medical practice was all about?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Unforgettable first patient.

My first patient was a newly married muslim lady with missed periods,confirmed as pregnency.
she never had periods for about 15 years,i mean she gave birth to 9 children,conceived every time during lactation.With great difficulty I was successful in getting her tubectomy done.Now six of her children are married and she has twelve grand children.there will be attendence of one or the other atleast once a week to my clinic.I am like their family member.

Dr.S.Subramanyam said...

My first patient was a newly married muslim lady with missed periods,confirmed as pregnency.
she never had periods for about 15 years,i mean she gave birth to 9 children,conceived every time during lactation.With great difficulty I was successful in getting her tubectomy done.Now six of her children are married and she has twelve grand children.there will be attendence of one or the other atleast once a week to my clinic.I am like their family member.

October 28, 2007 9:49 PM

Padmanabha said...

Very interesting experiences - reminds me of Cronin's "Adventures of a Black Bag" and "Dr. Finlay's Notebook". You should expand / ediit and publish these. Unlike Gordon's books relating to the medical milieu, these are warm human stories. I have told Ramesh too about your blogspot. Congrats - Padmanabha - one of your patients!

G.D. said...

This reminds me of my first patient in Bangalore on 12 th June 1990.The clinic was getting ready in the 1st week of June '90, which I had bought from a doctor going abroad but was kept closed for 3 years.An elderly gentleman in his early 70s entered & introduced himself & said" Doctor, don't worry, I will be your first patient.I live down this road."
On the opening day he came & got his BP monitored & paid my fee. He wished me Good luck saying these unforgettable words- " I know Doctors get discouraged on their first day as they are afraid that they may not get any patients."
We need many more such humane people.

Anonymous said...

Dear pops,
amazing isn't it i turn out to be impunctual even t put forth my comments as i am in keeping my appointment with you.At least i can pat my back as i found myself in being puntual in impunctuality.I remembered my first patient,she got her daugter to me with viral fever around 7 years back and fumed at me for not heading to her demands for an ijection.In the due course she changed over to a very popular quack,specialised in indisposable injectable techniques,but suprisingly has made a comeback on a big way, back to me.This incidence in a way lifted my positive thoughts.This lady was a constant pain as she used to compare my peanut of a consultation fees with that of others and also order me to oblige to her way of quackery treatment,but now she has changed for the better,neither does she quible about my steep hike in consultation fees nor does about the treatment i prescribe to her.I off late have an increase in such patients.Your words that i will never fade when i am surrounded by quacks, rings very often during such encounters.

vikram

Anonymous said...

The recent visit to Dr. Rao was yesterday. He was very happy that my medications were considerablly coming down and the registrations of various lab results were improving beyond expectations. When Dr.Rao called me a very good boy and wondered whether I will continue to be a good boy. I felt little sad when he doubted me because he perhaps does not realize how much amd what are my sacrifices for bringing this metabolic situation.Every good thing in life I am avoiding. I had a wrong notion that without those special comforts, life would come to an end. It is wrong. Now the mornings are very pleasant and energetic, the day passes with lots of energy and then evenings are distingly clearer that I am able to recognize even apoorva ragas at late in the night at eleven and later!!! Thanks to your silent bullets of looks, strong cautions with sugar coating and your unique ways of communications!!
God speed and Best of Luck Doc.