TODAY -

Fool's Paradise (A True Practical Joke in Life)

Dr. Konsam Suken Singh *



It was at a time when I was working as a medical officer in the department of Surgery of Nazareth Hospital, Shillong, just few months after I joined the Institute. It was a very clear morning, though a chilled one being in the middle of December of Shillong's climate, when everyone was in the Christmas mood.

I woke up that very beautiful morning with a prayer to the Almighty not to bring "unsual" cases that day in the Casuality (emergency) ward because it was my on-call day.

My prayer was heard only until about 10AM when I was called by the doctor in the casualty (emergency) ward to attend to a case of road traffic accident. I hurried to the causality ward; there I saw a young man of about 25 years old lying in one of the beds in the ward with a big incised-looking laceration (fresh wound) on the left side of his face.

Blood was oozing from the wound, and the wound extended from the middle of his forehead, crossing to the left side of the bridge of his nose and going downward to the lower cheek, the lower end being about 7 cms below the lateral angle of left eye (the description of the wound is just approximated to show the severity of the wound).

From the smell of his breadth, it was obvious that he was drunk and he was moaning and shouting in pain and intoxication. As per the history, he was knocked down by a truck from behind when he was travelling on his bike. Anyway, this was a short introduction to the case.

On seeing the wound on his face, I almost fainted because it was one of the most unusual and dangerous injuries I had ever seen until then; but I tried my best to control my feelings (Izzat Ka Sawal hai, being a Medical Officer in Surgery).

I could hide my fast pounding pulse, my uneasiness and my apprehension; however, my 'suddenly profusely sweating perspiration' could not be cheated. Had anybody near the vicinity of his (patient) bed (including his relatives and the staff nurses attending to him that moment) seen my sweating, they would have easily recognized my 'cowardice'!!!

However, again I tactfully pretended (I hope so) it to be due to my 'hurriedly taken steps' to attend to him. Then, another problem emerged again, they were waiting for me to give surgical stitches to close the wound, but I suddenly realized that it was beyond the capacity of my 'the then experience' as a medical officer and it had to be done in OT (operation theatre) under short GA as was usually done by Second-on-call doctors (who are MS in surgery).

So, I informed the second-on-call surgeon of that day. He instructed to me to explain about the procedure to the patient and the party concerned, take the consent of the patient or his relatives, to inform the on-call anesthetist and that I should inform him (the second-on-call surgeon, SOC for rest of the story) after completing these preliminaries. So, I started explaining about the the procedure to the patient and his relatives.

No sooner did I start explaining about the procedure than the young man on his ill-bed (the patient) started shouting at me and his relatives that he did not want to get stitched on his face at any cost (because he knew that it would leave scars on his face) and that he should be treated without any stitch (lame excuse on his part).

I tried to persuade him repeatedly along with his relatives till I ended up in frustration. So, I called up the SOC again to enquire as what to be done. He (SOC) angrily replied (angry to the patient's attitude, not to me) that he would come and see the matter. It was around 10.20 AM by then.

Before I could persuade him (the patient) again, the SOC arrived at the scene and started talking to the patient in a very cool and soothing manner. But, received the same response from the patient,..shouting and crying " ..no stitch means no stitch...do whatever you think so necessary but I say no stitch.. "

Atlast, the SOC also got frustrated just as the way I got after my best or worst efforts. So, finally, he explained the consequences of not getting the wound stitched to him (the patient) and his relatives, got their signatures signed on the case paper and left the causality ward in frustration and anger after instructing to me to get the patient admitted in the ward and to inform him immediately in case the patient changed his mind anytime.

Time had passed by....11.30AM, ..12.30PM..,1.30PM..............then came 5.30 PM, and with diminution of his intoxication, the patient slowly came to his senses and ultimately he, being awared of the consequences, agreed to the surgical treatment. But it was already dark being a winter day in Shillong; so when I informed the SOC, he replied in an annoyed manner (annoyed to the patient's untimely response) " ok, shift him to the OT and inform the on-call anaesthetist also,..I will be there in 10-15 minutes."

So, atlast, the procedure which could have been done/finished in the early hours of the day had the patient been a bit rational, was finally getting ready to be done at that late hour of the winter day just because of the patient's irrational refusal. This fact annoyed and irritated everyone in the OT the anaesthetist, the SOC, the attending nurses and even me.

Anyway, the procedure started smoothly though we all were annoyed mentally. Under the effect of the anaesthesia (short GA), the patient was talking deliriously now and then....... "Oh I am this...I am that..!!!!" This further ignited the already burnt fire; it sounded like an intolerable noise to everyone of us, being so much annoyed from before by his irrational attitude.

At some stage of his delirious talk, the young man (patient) just murmered (without any sense of what he was uttering) "..Oh,..I am in Paradise !!!". None of us in the OT paid any heed to what he was uttering. However, already getting so much annoyed, the SOC suddenly replied with his mind on the surgery in which he was engaged with and without giving any heed and attention to what he was replying to the patient, - "

Oh..yes,..you are in FOOL's Paradise !! " ( It seemed and was obvious that the SOC, out of his anger, referred the word 'FOOL' to the patient himself; but, fate has destined the Contrary...) Even before the SOC completed his words,..the young man in his delirium simply continued his utterance (again out of his sense)....

-"..Yeah,..I am in NAZARETH HOSPITAL !!!!!"


* Dr. Konsam Suken Singh writes to e-pao.net for the first time. The writer is a Senior Resident Doctor, Department of Forensic Medicine at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong.
The writer can be contacted at drsuken(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
This article was webcasted on January 27th, 2010.




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