Club of fifteen
40 years ago, the conditions of medical practice were very different. The support systems that have developed over the years were nonexistent then. There were no ambulances and to transport a seriously sick patient to a hospital was a night mare and I was witness to many a death occurring for want of timely help. Adding to the many owes, the doctors worked in utter isolation and there was no communication at all, even among doctors working in the same area. They often faced the same problems but were unable or didn't want to get help from others. Was it fear of loosing patient to the other doctor, or a innate complex or lack of confidence or combination of all of these? I didn't know. There was a local association of doctors and this was dominated by hospital based doctors whose ethos was very different from that of us general practitioners.
I set out to remedy this. I went around and met doctors who were running solo practices like mine and got five of them to agree to meet once a month over a cup of tea. The first meeting was held in my house, some 30 years ago. This was a success. Then others joined and we limited the number to 15 as we found this number manageable in our homes. The group became so popular that we found a waiting list. The new one could join when one of us left the group, This generally occurred by death and rarely by resignation. If the members of this group are considered good and well informed doctors, a lot of credit should go to the club of fifteen and the members have remained close friends over the years. The once a month meeting has gone on nonstop in all these thirty years!
An offshoot of this core group is a larger organisation called Family Physicians Association, Bangalore.
About this group, I will write some time later.
But my first love remains the club of fifteen!