National Doctors’ Day is observed in India on the 1st of July every year. This day commemorates the birth (and death) anniversary of the stalwart, Dr. B.C. Roy, whose life achievements underline an illustrious chapter for medical science in India.
Dr. Deepak Ranade, a brilliant neurosurgeon, describes the profession of a doctor as an example of quantum superposition, in which the doctor has to play, much to the likeness of a photon, both God and human at the same time – God for the patient and human by all of his limitations. When I ponder upon the responsibilities shouldered by a physician, I cannot help myself but feel a touch of its weight on me. The frightful revelation that a doctor in the emergency room has a daily tête-à-tête with the possibility of death is both unsettling and awe-inspiring.
Be that as it may, is it this regular rendezvous that makes doctors who they are?
I do not think so. The profession is actually a microcosm of humankind. It is a representation of what everyone is supposed to do for each other i.e. to help another get through life. Doctors become better by being better humans. Insofar as pharmacology or therapy offers, there is a deep chasm between curing and healing a patient. From the beginning of time immemorial to the present day, medicine has been trying to bridge this gap. A good doctor treats the disease; the best doctor treats the patient. That is what makes medical practitioners who they are.
The past two years have shown us the indomitable spirit of healthcare workers in our country. Doctors and nurses, both alike, have devoted their selfless service while forgetting, forfeiting, and forgoing their own dreams and relationships. As insufferable as things appeared to be, even as their bodies gave way to weariness, the humble whisper of the Hippocratic Oath egged them on to brush past their weaknesses and rise to service. Dear doctors, we bow to your ethics of care in the face of such overwhelming adversity.
Such sacrificial service reminds one of Apostle Luke from the Bible, who earned the moniker of ‘beloved physician’. Using his clinical and objective way of recording history, he sketched out and drew much inspiration from the experiences of the Man who was God incarnate, and whom he looked up to – Jesus Christ. He observed how Jesus ran the clinic of life a yard away from the deepest valleys of death, or so I’d like to think. A ton of historical literature stands testimony to the fact which Luke also witnessed with his own eyes – Jesus healing through miracles.
It is not unheard of for doctors to have deep faith in God. The comfort of medical excellence goes only so far as the calculated guesses of man. Careful analysis of statistics gives success rates. But the meaning of statistics changes when you become a statistic yourself. That is when you need something more than just an assurance that numbers bring. That is when the mercy and peace of God step in. Color me a believer when I state that it is God who brings life through the doctor. A doctor has, is, and will always be an assistant to The Great Physician.