The outgoing batch of Bangalore Medical College said these words in unison –
At the time of being admitted as a member of the medical profession:
- I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity;
- I will give to my teachers the respect and gratitude that is their due;
- I will practice my profession with conscience and dignity;
- The health of my patient will be my first consideration;
- I will respect the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;
- I will maintain by all the means in my power, the honour and the noble traditions of the medical profession;
- My colleagues will be my sisters and brothers;
- I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;
- I will maintain the utmost respect for human life;
- I will not use my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;
- I make these promises solemnly, freely and upon my honour.
These were the words adopted by the World Medical Association in 1948 and were universally accepted as the modern equivalent of The Hippocrates Oath. It was a declaration of the physician’s dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine.
Sitting in his room in the Nightingale Medical Center, Dr Ravi Nair looked up at the framed words in the oath and read and re-read all the bullet points slowly, carefully, so that the words seeped into his subconscious.
Although he had read the oath before and he knew it by-heart, the words took on an entirely new meaning given the situation he was in today. He had to force himself to take a decision and act accordingly.
The mental dilemma he faced was not an easy one.
It was a battle of his heart against his mind.
He had to make a choice between retribution for being a bad son versus his guilt of being a bad doctor. The choice was not an easy one.
Ravi Nair was the topper in his batch, studying for exams and cracking question papers was something that came naturally to him. But he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and pretty much had things come to him without any real efforts. His impromptu biking trip from Bangalore to Sakleshpur and Hassan clashed with the dates announced for Campus Placements at college. But he didn’t care.
Ravi thoroughly enjoyed the trip, the nature trail, the company of fellow bikers and the overall experience, but it meant that none of the well-known hospitals recruited him. He was left to find a job on his own despite being the batch topper.
This situation didn’t disturb him much as he always had the St Mary’s Hospital in Kochi where his father, Dr Sudheesh Nair was the Chief Doctor and he had almost always taken it for granted that he would get a job there as soon as he completed his MBBS. Sudheesh however had different plans for Ravi. Since he had struggled with financial difficulties during his medical college days and believed in the benefits of hard work over ‘pushing favors’, he refused to recruit Ravi.
While this led to some bad blood between Sudheesh and his son, he stood his ground and asked Ravi to search for a job purely on the basis of his merit, refusing to support him in this regard.
Finally one of Ravi’s close friends managed to get him an internship at the Nightingale Medical Center located in the picturesque hill station of Kumli, situated on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. For somebody like Ravi who was used to the big city, a large friend circle and frequent partying, this was a sea change of atmosphere, but at least he had a job which he got based on his own achievements.
He didn’t need his father’s reputation to back him up this time around.
Disclaimer: This novella is based on a popular movie, the name of which I am not going to disclose here. I have taken a couple of the plot elements from the movie, modified them, added some background of my own and penned down this novella. Advance apologies for any fans of the movie who might be reading this novella, the intention was not to dilute the movie in any form or fashion, but to reinterpret some plot points using my imagination.