January 19th, 2016
Source: Humans of Bombay
“I stood first In Mathematics in my college and I was confused between pursuing engineering or going in for medicine— so I decided to leave it up to fate and chose medicine based on a coin toss. After I studied medicine and went on to become a surgeon, one thing became increasingly clear — that my primary goal was to get into a field of surgery that had the maximum uncertainty and where tremendous research would be required and that’s why I chose Oncology. You could call it a personality trait where I wanted to practice the known, but had the desire to tame the unknown.
Over the past 30 years I have either overlooked or performed over 60,000 surgeries and being in such close contact with death has given me a very different perspective about life. An instance that comes to mind is of a child who came to the Tata hospital with a tumor in one eye, in which he had no vision. Upon closer inspection, we realised that the eye which had vision had a very large tumour which would need to be removed — in essence the surgery would leave him blind forever.
When I told the parents they need to admit him, they agreed but later that night when I went to check on him – I realised that they had left. I thought they wanted to think over such a big decision, but the next morning they were back. I asked them if they had changed their mind…but they said – ‘We decided to go forward with it then and there, but since it was the last day our son would be able to see the world, we took him out to see Bombay for the last time.’ That day, I sat next to the child and cried because I felt so helpless… but such is the profession.
Another such incident was when a young girl of about 23 came here with a bone and lung tumour. There was a boy who accompanied her when she got admitted…and she was almost on her deathbed so chanced of survival were low. That boy called a priest to the hospital and married her before she went into surgery…which she didn’t survive. It’s heartbreaking to see these things and while it makes it easier for me to deal with the other ups and downs in life, it also makes me determined to fight cancer even harder.
My work will not stop until I have a 100% cure rate in India. As of today we’re far superior than any other country where we have maybe 1/4th the cases that even the U.S has, at significantly lesser prices. Our doctors make sure that every patient is attended to, even if we have to extend shifts by 4 hours…we do it. People have come to our hospital inviting us to their marriages, because we’d cured them as children and those are the days we work for… for a 100% cure rate all across India.”