The Doctor Paradox (or Ramadan Diaries: Day 5)

soooo. I wrote this for my college magazine, which is also why there is a excess of quotes (in a bid to make it more interesting) and language that I might not necessarily use otherwise. :p I know I’m somewhat deviating from the spiritual today, but that’s allowed a little bit, no?


And to, The Hospital, grey, quiet, old, where Life and Death, like friendly chauffeurs meet.
-William Ernest Healey

Isaw a person die the other day.

Whats more, I was left shocked; not at the event itself, but at my own indifference to it. Having seen cardiac arrest sensationalized on television, in cinema and in books so often, I seemed to have been desensitized to the actual thing. Indeed, everything did seem to slow down as the flurry of action began to build up. The doctors and house officers, running to the patients side and the nurses ushering out the family members so they would not have to see the ordeal; these are two of the most common images. The beads of sweat accumulating on the medical staffs foreheads, as their efforts became increasingly futile. Finally, as the beep, beep, beep of the cardiac monitor gave way to the monotonous beep when it flat-lined, as uniform as the crestfallen yet hardened expressions on the medics faces.

Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can.
-Yann Martel

Having chosen medicine as my professional, occasionally I cant help but think that Ive signed up to fight a (eventually) losing battle. Dont get me wrong, I mean it in the least morbid sense possible. Its common knowledge that, in this world, only two things are certain; firstly, that everything must change, and secondly, that ultimately, everything must come to an end. As a vast majority believe inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun and indeed it is our beliefs on death that greatly effect how we live.

Its undeniable though, that professionals of the medical field fight vigorously to improve the quality of life of their fellow human beings. The Declaration of Geneva states I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity and I will maintain utmost respect for human life; and the Hippocratic Oath, to which medical practitioners are bound, uses similar wording. All life is sacred, on a religious as well as a humane level. Scientifically speaking, it is primal instinct of survival, to push death and deterioration as far away from us as possible.

The physician should look upon the patient as a besieged city and try to rescue him with every means that art and science place at his command
-Alexander of Trailes

Coming back to the inevitability of death, it fascinates me how nobly doctors struggle to win those battles against disease, when they know the war was never in our hands. Its an interesting point that:

Medicine is the only profession that labours incessantly to destroy the reason for its own existence
-James Bryce

The efforts of these dedicated individuals, allow them the reward of satisfaction that though life will eventually end, the patient can live it to the fullest while possible. I guess, we have the innate desire to be fully spent by the time we come to the end of our time on this earth. So that we may be truly ready to go.

And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, as equals, they departed this life.
-The Deathly Hallows

I remain in awe at the sheer devotion and the painstakingly compassionate attitude of those in the medical profession, and sincerely hope to be like them one day.


Author: emphadiate

Med student, chai lover, avid reader. Daydreamer extraordinaire. Slightly imbalanced.

5 thoughts on “The Doctor Paradox (or Ramadan Diaries: Day 5)”

  1. That’s how it is. I saw my first CPR being done on a 70 year old man with a brain tumor who was technically dead for over a minute. Nothing was as horrifying. But the fact remains, we have to face this everyday.
    Well done on the post!

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