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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Hippocratic Oath - Beginning


This is what was the old oath and as expected there are revisions based on the changes in times.

I SWEAR by Apollo the physician and Æsculapius, and Health, and All-heal, and all the gods and goddesses, that, according to my ability and judgment, I will keep this Oath and this stipulation — to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents, to share my substance with him, and relieve his necessities if required; to look upon his offspring in the same footing as my own brothers, and to teach them this art, if they shall wish to learn it, without fee or stipulation; and that by precept, lecture, and every other mode of instruction,
I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons, and those of my teachers, and to disciples bound by a stipulation and oath according to the law of medicine, but to none others.
I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgement, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.
I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion. With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art.
I will not cut persons labouring under the stone, but will leave this to be done by men who are practitioners of this work. Into whatever houses I enter, I will go into them for the benefit of the sick, and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief and corruption; and, further, from the seduction of females or males, of freemen and slaves. Whatever, in connection with my professional service, or not in connection with it, I see or hear, in the life of men, which ought not to be spoken of abroad,
I will not divulge, as reckoning that all such should be kept secret. While I continue to keep this Oath unviolated, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and the practice of the art, respected by all men, in all times. But should I trespass and violate this Oath, may the reverse be my lot.

Why did I remember this? I was in the cab yesterday and one of my colleagues asked me, "Doc, you must have seen some wierd cases and experienced some moments worth sharing as a medic. Can you share some with us?" As I recollected, there were some gems worth sharing with a bigger audience. If ever a medic were to read these, the person would definitely relate to many such situations. I decided to come out with a series of blogs on such experiences, titled "The Hippocratic Oath". Read on and if you are a medic, you will relate to some; if you are not, it will give an insight into a Medic's life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Summer Christmas and New Year!!!

Well, for those who felt that the philosophical trees and unanswered questions of Australia was too much, here is a toned down and more touristy way of expressing the tour experience...

Deepa and I have traveled overseas but this would be our first trip together to a foreign land. The lure of the distant shores beckoned us- its people, nature, history, and all the exotic animals (well, I was looking forward to eat some of them). So, we set off 10,000kms east to become one of the early birds to welcome the New Year in sunny Australia.

Melbourne, Australia
A city proud of its achievements and even calls itself the fun capital of Australia. This city celebrates its connection to the Brits- everything you see here reminds you of the Victorian Era. Although Canberra has the capital city status and Sydney has the famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge, Melbourne has more than its share of achievements.

What interested me was the Flinder’s Street Station (reminded me of the CST, Mumbai), Federation Square (Nandan, Kolkata), James Cook’s cottage (shipped from England and reassembled in Melbourne)- a homage to an explorer instrumental in determining sea routes to Australia, the Immigration Museum (interestingly, it had a 3D depiction of Hampi during my visit), and of course the trams (it is the only city in Australia to have this luxury).

To the east, we encountered the cockatoos, kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, platypus, echidna, Tasmanian devil, wombats, and the possums. All exotic and beautiful creatures nestled in the ranges of the Dandenongs. We also witnessed one of the most ancient rituals in nature; thousands of dwarf penguins returning to their burrows on Philip Island at sunset.

Heading west on Christmas Day, we saw the 12 Apostles (sandstone formations in the ocean) that have been standing tall as silent spectators long before any life form existed on the continent. The historic town of Ballarat, home to the biggest open air museum in the world, gave us a glimpse of what life was in Australia during the Gold rush. The highlight of the westward journey was the opportunity to drive a Prado on the Great Ocean Road- a dream comes true.

Canberra, Australia
The capital city and as described by the Aussies themselves- is a boring place. The city is full of administrative buildings and yes as much as I hate to admit it, I took a guided tour of the Parliament House. It’s also the place where I felt a sense of pride when we drove past the Indian Embassy and saw the tri-color waving on foreign soil.

Sydney, Australia
A big city, bursting at its seams and is full of life. It is as cosmopolitan as you can get. This was the place where the trip was culminated.

New Year’s Eve- we were stationed at the Circular Quay, situated in between the Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge. At the stroke of midnight, the fireworks lit up the sky and with it- 6million AUD was burnt in welcoming the New Year. It was an amazing sight!! As Deepa and I headed to Melbourne to board our flight back to India, we were happy to have been among the first people in the world to usher in the New Year. That too without giving into our temptations (I did not allow Deepa to shop to her hearts content and she did not allow me to try some kangaroo and emu pizza).

On the flight, I re-lived the entire trip again in my mind and there was one thing which came back to me. The happiness on my Nana’s (grandmother) face when she greeted us; it brings the proverbial lump to my throat thinking that this was probably the last time I would meet her in person. Rest assured, she will be around as my family’s’ guardian angel long after she is gone.

Final thoughts:

I will to go back to Australia to explore those parts which I missed this time; the outback, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru Rock, and Alice Springs beckon. And yes the land of the "Lord of the Rings" is on the cards as well.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Salute to Soldiers.

I was there lying prone on the ground with a pine tree as cover trying to locate the enemy. I aimed at something that looked like a man and shot. The ammo flew from my gun at the target. One down, good! I rolled again into the cover waiting for the bullets that were coming my way to go past or hit the tree. A 2 second break and I rolled back to shoot again. I was thinking I was good at this, but obviously, someone had seen my moves. Suddenly I could hear a couple of them swoosh past my ears. I suddenly felt a rush of warmth in my head. The thermals, thich T-shirt and jeans, long jacket made for the snow and the camo on top of it; there was a strange feeling of cold and heat. The outside temperature was -6 degrees. I was cold below the knees and in the goggles and the cap, I was sweating. The fog from my breath covered my goggles limiting my visibility. I was in a state of confusion and fear. Not realizing what was happening. Then again, one hit the fallen branch right next to where I was. I rolled into cover. My heart was pounding and a sense of dejavu told me something's not right.

My 2 seconds of silence and I rolled back into shooting position again. Before I could realize or press the trigger, BANG! Right between the eyes. Good I had a pair of goggles to prevent any damage. The paintball exploded on the goggle fibre and thats it; I was out of the game. I got up, put the rubber cap back on the nozzle and with the gun held high, walked away from the battle field.

Sitting in the sidelines in the cover of the net, I thought. What if this was a real battle? What if I was a real soldier on the border? I would be dead by now. For the 8 of us who went to Poconos (in Pennsylvania, USA) and the 60 odd people who were there, it was a game. But imagine what our soldiers go through every single day. Here there are rules. There is a time limit. There is a set target to achieve. But out there, in the battle front, there are no rules. I relived the entire moment. Yes, I was scared. But, I was damn sure that I would not die. But still my instinct tld me to fight and not get hit. But imagine a real battle. One mistake and you are gone. Our soldiers out in the borders Play with death every single day. Imagine knowing that there is no second chance. Imagine a hit between the eyes with a real bullet.

Silently I saluted the brave soldiers who fight not just the enemy but the vagaries of nature and sacrifice their lives for us to stay safe. I felt a sense of gratitude towards them and before I could live in the moment, the next field was ready. I picked up the heavy gun and walked into the playground.