CME INDIA Presentation by Dr Pratik Savaj, Infectious disease physician, FID/FNB Infectious Disease, Surat, Gujrat, India.

Rare pleasant surprises in medical practice do happen. Dr Pratik Savaj shares one such emotional episode….

“God put us here, on this carnival ride. We close our eyes never knowing where it’ll take us next.” ― Carrie Underwood

So, enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence — a surprise

Prize for failure- Hope

A young girl with a severe neurological infection

A young girl came to our hospital with a severe neurological infection. She was admitted outside for a month and then referred to us. She arrived in very bad condition. She underwent lots of investigations, MRI, neurosurgical interventions and was on high antibiotics support. The relatives had to spend lots of money. With the help of neurologist, neurosurgeon and intensivist and excellent teamwork, she started showing improvement. After one month of extensive hard work finally, the day came when she was planned for discharge.

Tried all, but expired

On the day of the discharge, she became unconscious and on repeat MRI scan we found relapse of an old infection. In the next 48 hours, she went into a state of irreversible brain damage and finally she expired. Last 48 hours was not explained by our medical science that why it happened. I couldn’t explain the emotional state of her father after hearing that news. Our team of doctors discussed for a long time and couldn’t understand the reason for such bad outcome.

When father entered into OPD after one month, agony in mind swirled

After one month of discharge, her father came to my OPD. I recognized him in CCTV camera. I thought that he must have lots of questions that why all this happened and I might not answer his questions. He entered my cabin and gave me a box.

Prize for failure

It was a total surprise

I opened it and found dry fruits and sweets. It was a total surprise for me because we doctor are appreciated for a better outcome and disrespected for a bad outcome. Before I could say anything, he told me that you all did excellent hard work and we could see your motive to save my girl and the final result was bad because of complex disease rather than your failure and we have accepted the outcome. After he left, I called up my neurosurgery colleague and he also got a box of sweet and smile of her father.

The final outcome is the deciding factor for the response of relatives. The doctors are never appreciated for their efforts and hard work.

It was not the prize for failure, it was a prize for the hard work.

Usually, the mindset of the relatives when a patient is young, lots of investigations done, higher antibiotics are given, the involvement of super-specialist doctors, treatment at a tertiary care centre, lots of money spent, the chances of success is 100% but that is wrong. Despite all the efforts, there are equal chances of a bad outcome as well. Finally, doctors are normal people with a life-saving degree and their only motive is to save the patient.

CME INDIA Tail Piece

Sir William Osler
Sir William Osler

1. “Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognize in your humdrum routine, as perhaps it may be thought, the true poetry of life—the poetry of the commonplace, of the plain, toil-worn woman, with their loves and their joys, their sorrows and their griefs.” 

2. “It is astonishing with how little reading a doctor can practice medicine, but it is not astonishing how badly he may do it.” Indeed, read. Medicine is a forever changing art.

3. “The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head.”

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