Life has never been challenging for Mr. X.. ( I don’t put names because people add faith to names). Mr. X has been a brightest student of the class. He was punctual, obedient, assertive & curious.
Aren’t those the quality which makes a perfect Doctor?
In final years of his MBBS, he knew exactly knew what he wanted to do… He wanted to be rich & famous.. There is nothing wrong in it… I mean that’s what is being taught to us today.. right? After completing his studies, he was forced to serve in a village during his initial years of practice..
He was appointed a practicing surgeon of a small village in a not known town of central india.
The day he reached the village, he cursed his studies.. he could have easily opted for Engineering & gone to America ( When you go from India it is America, but when you come back it is US) & settled abroad. The village Head was a good man. He made his arrangements in a guest house & helped him settle down in the village which did not have electricity sometimes for days..
In few days the only best friend X had was the Sarpanch..Every day was the same routine of Mr. X. The clinic timings would start at 9:00 a.m. & close at 9:00 p.m.. After clinic hours they would sit at Chaupal, lit the cigarette & discuss about anything & everything..People would respect him not because he was the only doctor in the village, but because he was honest…
X never lied to his patients. He would be blunt enough to tell the patient that he would die no matter what would done…Villagers would come to him in the last hope of life.. just wanting to hear the lie .. but they got the truth.. the bitter truth..
It has been 2 years now & everyone knows Mr. X.. he does not charge them anything for consultation..& give them the truth..
One night when X was trying to sleep with sweat dripping through his forehead & the noisy generator was trying to run the fan which was as adamant as the heat of the summer.. suddenly the door banged..
Who is this? The doctor asked..
The message came from Sarpanch house… He was critically ill & was not responding..
X grabbed his stethoscope & ran through the door.. & why not… Sarpanch was the only friend he had in the village. It took less than a minute to reach the house. Reaching the bed of sarpanch.. he placed the stethoscope on his heart & tried to get the pulse.. which was too high… Sarpanch had a massive heart attack..
X gave him medicines & injections & sat by his side.. his smallest son was just standing next to him..His looked at the doctor face.. trying to judge the answer to the question which was not asked..No one out of five family members wanted to ask the question… there was silence of death in the room.
The kid could not stop & made the daring..he grabbed the coat & asked the question which no wanted to ask..
The doctor did not reply… He knew that Sarpanch would not survive…& he could not lie..He was supposed to tell the truth.. but how could he.. He just did not reply..It looked like everybody knew the answer..but no one wanted to ask..
It was past midnight & sarpanch was stable now but X knew that he will not make it through the night..
Sarpanch opened his eyes & with all the wrinkles on his face & tears in his eyes he asked the question..
Will I survive..?
X was not ready for this question.. he knew people trusted him.. his words meant everything for them..Today his professional & personal opinions were fighting with each other.. trying to convince each other..He had spent every evening with this guy & today he was on his death bed.. waiting for the answer from his GOD.. The Doctor.. yes.. he was a GOD for him indeed..
The Doctor gathered all the strength & said “YES”.. & suddenly tears rolled down from tears from all the people standing in the room..
Sarpanch was at peace… but X was not.. he lied for the first time in his professional carrier.. He knew he betrayed himself.. he betrayed the only promise he made to himself.. The betrayed his ethics..
But today he did not have strength to say the truth.. he just sat next to sarpanch with his hands in his hands…
It was 4 in the morning & the sleep was nowhere in the room for anyone except the sarpanch who was having the most peaceful sleep of his lifetime.. He knew that his GOD said that he would live to see another day..X wanted to go.. but he could not.. as if the room was locked from outside by the guarding angel.. As if, if he would leave, the sarpanch would die..
At 5 the dawn was still playing hide & seek with night.. X felt sleep near the bed..& then there was this voice…
Doctor.. r u there…?
He suddenly woke up in hurry as if the truth was revealed.. the truth that he lied yesterday night..But he saw sarpanch awake still trying to keep his eyes open.. he survived.. he survived the heart attack..
This was miracle.. not in the medical history but in the eyes of X..He knew medically sarpanch could not survive.. but he did.. The medicine worked..The medicine of lie worked.. the hope of life with the lie helped him survive.. he was stable & recovering..
Was it not miracle? What his truth could not cure.. his lie did..
Was the doctor wrong his entire life?
Was being truthful a mistake?
He could have saved many lives….