A Doctor Must Care

Omar   May 30, 2011   3 Comments on A Doctor Must Care


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It was 11 years ago today. The time was around 3 pm. In the blistering heat of the Lahore sun, a small crowd of us hopefuls gathered at King Edward Medical College. We were there to get our result for the Final Professional examination. This would be the day we would find out if we had become doctors!

And then it happened. Clutching a sheet of paper in his right hand, one of our class fellows emerged from the clerk’s office. Pushing and shoving, the crowd gathered around him as he read aloud the contents of that fateful results sheet. One by one he would read out a roll number and then the marks scored. Every once in a while, the total marks would be followed by the name of a subject, thus delivering the crushing news of a failed examination to the person in question. One by one he read out the roll numbers. Unable to wait, I climbed over someone’s shoulders to try to see my result for myself. I caught a glance of my roll number, and on the second attempt I saw the result as well. I had passed! I was a doctor! A student no more! The rest of that day is a foggy memory of celebrations and ‘mithai’ and parents crying with joy.

Looking back, that unceremonious announcement of the MBBS exam result was in fact quite appropriate. It is clear to me now that becoming a doctor is a journey and not a destination. That day, when the result was announced, we were only just beginning on our own individual journeys of house jobs, qualifying exams, night calls, specializations and even more exams. What’s more, we were yet to feel the immense burden of a patient’s hopes and expectations.  Experience teaches many lessons, and we had plenty to learn. Today, a decade later, many of the young doctors from that day have met with professional success.  They are spread all over the world, with a varied and impressive collection of post-graduate degrees. Some are working towards their post-graduate degrees, and some, who decided not to pursue post-graduate degrees, have built busy general practices.

All of this would be great, except for one tiny detail. Somewhere along the way many of us developed an attitude of entitlement. All of that suffering, all of those night calls and 30 hour duties should count for something after all. Unfortunately that entitlement and the arrogance that ensues is often the beginning of the end. The most important lesson, the one not taught often enough in medical college, is that more than all of our qualifications, the thing that matters most is that we actually listen to our patients. The degrees decorating the walls of our offices mean nothing to our patients if they are not accompanied by attention, compassion and care. It is this bond of trust between the doctor and the patient which must be built and strengthened with every interaction. Only then can we expect our patients to give us the respect that we think our qualifications and hard work entitle us to.


3 thoughts on “A Doctor Must Care

  1. dr samia

    Truly Agreed with your blog of 30th may .. doctor must care ..We cant forget our older days of MBBS,hectic internships& especially tiring residencies.. but its amatter of pride that we r Doctors…We serve people.
    Infact i have read your profile & your efforts towards patients & your qualification. very nice . i really appreciate it. Its written that u r a visiting faculty in TEXAS so r u in US or in Lahore Pak.

  2. Asmaa Yousaf

    Dr. Omar Bhai

    the thoughts u have shared in the blog are very touhing but do u think that the doctors here in Paksitan seriously think the way u hvae mentioned. do they really care for any serious or less serious patients?

    what u have said above should be the case magar HOW? when will we achieve it? DOST profession koi bhi hoe we all work hard to achieve a certain rank, be it army, banking, medical or engennering. its not that, only doing MBBS is a big deal? but why the arrogance? what for? we are all humble servants of GOD and we have to go back to HIM?

    I have the privelage of knowing ur father and have a very high opinion of him as a humble man (being the neighbour and marriam’s friend). magar saray doctors aaisaye nahi hotay. we need to work on our nation mind set on teh whole.

    all the best for ur future assignments


    asmaa yousaf


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