That day was really unforgettable and the most inspiring day of me. I was filled with pride when I think of that day. It was in 1970 when I was working as a house surgeon at Christian Medical College, Vellore. I was posted in M II unit. Dr. T.S.Koshy was the unit chief, Dr. Lilly John, was the assistant professor. Within short period of time, I could earn the love and affection of them.
A Tamilian boy, aged 14 was admitted to the general ward. He was very poor. His mother was with him as the bystander. There was no one else. The condition of the boy was very critical. He was suffering from acute Pulmonary oedema. The left Ventricle of his heart has failed and fluid has accumulated in his lungs. He could not breathe properly. Froth was coming out from his mouth. His whole body was oedematous. He was also a case of congenital heart disease known as PDA. Few months ago, he got infestation of Scabies. Later those lesions got infected. He did not get any treatment for that due to lack of money. Hence he developed a kidney disease named acute ‘Glomerulonephritis’ as complication. This disease was also not treated and he developed this condition.
Dr. Lilly John asked me to attend to this patient. I spent one whole night with him. He underwent peritoneal dialysis repeatedly. At last he recovered completely. Everybody including Dr. Koshy was happy.
It was decided to present and discuss the case at the next clinical meeting. Usually the case discussion was done by the assistant professor or by the lecturer or by the MD student. The case discussion reflects up on the status of the unit. Dr. Koshy looked at every one with a smile and said “Let Mathew do it”. It was a great shock to me. I thought that I was a house surgeon only. How can I face the whole professors of the hospital ! I became very anxious. That night I could not sleep. But I put my faith in Jesus. That faith made me courageous.
That day the auditorium was full with doctors. The senior professors sat in the front row. I took the patient on wheel chair to the stage. I drew a graph on the on the black board placed on the stage showing comparison between the blood urea level and the cardiac function of that boy. I started talking. My hands were shivering. All my friends were staring at me with anxiety. The spirit came in me and I could complete my talk. The presentation and discussion took about 25 minutes. During the speech I developed confidence and happiness. When I was about to finish my talk, I found Dr. Baker, who was sitting in the front row, asking Dr. Koshy about something. Dr. Baker was an Australian and the chief professor of Christian Medical College, Vellore. He was also the director of Wellcome Research Centre and a physician of international repute. As soon as I returned to my seat after the talk, Dr. Baker went to the stage and told the audience “Wonderful presentation and discussion. This is how to present a case. I am so much delighted. It should be an example to others”. My eyes became wet.
© Dr. K. K. Mathew