As the world is reeling under the unprecedented outbreak of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the spotlight of hope is largely resting on the medical fraternity. The highly communicable virus has unleashed alarm and affected almost every aspect of human life. Information in terms of precautionary measures and some ungrounded speculations are proliferating across all social media sites and WhatsApp groups. In the same vein, the more positive thinking people are trying to allay fears and spread hope and cheer by sharing the accounts of people who have been successfully cured (and the numbers are actually heartening). Needless to say this feat would never have been possible if the doctors had not upheld their Hippocratic Oath- dismissing the possibilities of incurring the disease themselves they have held and healed many a patient.
House of Doctors, a book authored by Dr Tripti Sharan a senior gynaecologist based in New Delhi is a riveting account of the various dynamics which characterize the academic years that precede the medical profession. The book is largely anecdotal and based on the real-life experiences of the author and her fellow doctors (across departments and specializations) at the Gajara Raja Medical College in Gwalior. Medical students in government colleges have to implement their knowledge against a slew of practical odds. Sometimes amusing and at times heartbreaking, the incidents in the narrative unveil these very odds. However, this book is not about despair and complaints. On the contrary, it is about the pleasure that the doctors take in their work and how easy they make even the knottiest operations seem.
Always in the line of fire from seniors, teachers, administrators and patients: " we laughed freely and fought back fiercely.' This line from the book encapsulates the broad spirit that gets inculcated within a medical school. In this sense, the narrative is an inspiring read for future medical aspirants. In my view, it is an apt read in today's times when learning medicine has progressively got more expensive and with the increasing propensity of the current generation to take up less challenging and more lucrative paths, fewer people are taking up the challenge of this demanding profession.
Doctors need to be accepted as humans as a whole in the society and cooperation from patients can help to mitigate several problems that plague the medical practice.
The reader can easily sense the unabashed candour of the author and gets invested in the personal and professional growth of the author-doctor. Dr Tripti has not just penned down her successes and triumph but also her frustrations, regrets and failures. There is no gloss over her shortcomings. On a parallel vein, House of Doctors is packed with patients' anecdotes and also highlights how religion and social taboos get in the way of medical procedures. Gender bias and how women struggle to hold forte in a competitive market is also amply highlighted. The reader also gets intriguing insights that accompany medico legal cases. Essentially a tale about an obstetrician /gynaecologist in the making, House of Doctors touches upon everything, from casual sexism to domestic violence. If you are a Grey's Anatomy fan this book will probably appeal more to you. Simply because set in the late 90s Gwalior, it is more relatable for the average Indian readers.
The most heartbreaking parts were the many women who lost their lives in the course of the narrative, due to things that could have been easily avoided. It wasn't even about finances in most cases, just a sheer lack of concern for their well-being and health. House of Doctors also exposes the shocking mindset of several patient attendants and even a section of the hospital support staff in relation to the female anatomy and intercourse. The apparent nonchalance with which profanities are pronounced to describe gynaecological issues is testimony to this.
This book through which the author takes the reader on a fascinating journey that marks the transformation of an anxious medical student into a life saving doctor has a simple yet profound message- doctors need to be accepted as humans as a whole in the society and cooperation from patients can help to mitigate several problems that plague the medical practice. This is a pertinent message in the backdrop of the fact that the medical profession has both been exalted and reviled, more so the latter in recent years, with the increasing costs of medical treatment due to commercialisation of healthcare and complex administrative protocols of hospitals.
House of Doctors shakes us out from some prejudices and presumptions and shows us the reality. It is a telling reminder that doctors are but vulnerable and ordinary human beings, capable of feelings, emotions, dejections, disappointments and hurt who relentlessly strive towards the health and wellness of the same society that at times unfairly hurls accusations and brickbats at them. To someone who has actually travelled this journey for themselves, House of Doctors would offer many chances for reminiscing their own medical college days. For others, it is like reading a journal of a medical student.
The book is a light yet engaging read about life in medical colleges. In a sometimes jocular and sometimes poignant tone, it tells the readers about how vulnerable really the conscientious medical fraternity is. It portrays doctors and healthcare workers in a human light and tells us that they are fallible too.
Fit Northeast Rating: 4.0