Dr.K.S.Hande is a general practitioner like me and also like me, has gone through difficult times in the early years of his practice. When patients are few and far between, one has lots of idle time. This time sadly has to be spent in the clinic, as one cannot afford to be elsewhere for the fear of losing even that occasional patient. While my pass time was reading, his was to stand outside his clinic and watch the humanity go by. One day some 35 years ago, he was indulging in this favourite pastime of his, and to his surprise saw one of his patients who had visited him a few days earlier pass by cheerfully waving a greeting.
This patient really had no business to be walking so cheerfully because when he had visited the doctor he was a very sick person with X- ray confirmed pneumonia. How then he got so well? Why did he not turn up the next day as advised? Did he go to another doctor and got better? Did I do anything wrong? Was my fee too much that drove this man away from me? These were the worrisome thoughts that the doctor had. He got the patient to come in and asked him what had happened to him and why did he not turn up the next day? ‘What saar[sir], you gave magic injection that day, next day my fever went, second day my cough went and yesterday I ate well and felt fit and now I am on my way to work. I did not come because your one injection of that magic medicine cured me, thanks’ the patient said. A quick examination revealed complete clearance of his lungs!
Dr Hande had given the patient 800,000 units of crystalline penicillin. That was how the drug acted in those days!
We have now made a mess of treatment of infections by indiscriminate use of antibiotics and the germs have developed resistance to most commonly used antibiotics and the society is paying a heavy price for the physician’s folly!