An apology

A doctor’s world is very small. Before I became a doctor, I could go around anywhere, meet relatives and stay with them, travel or just do whatever I wanted. I had time and people.

It is almost 25 years since I started practice. Ever since, life has been different. My world was shrinking. It became smaller and smaller. My life was full of patients and colleagues and nothing else. With no time left , there is almost no social interaction. There are only those who come to us for pain and suffering. No one ever has walked in to my clinic to say a simple hello. Never, even those who got better.

It is not surprising, that the world, for me has become so small. Naturally, life become full of stories related to patients or colleagues. I had tried to avoid many personal details in my blogging, except on one occasion. That was when I mentioned a colleague of mine. But, with all sincerity, I can still say, like I had written, that he is probably one I still respect as a good physician among colleagues. I had clearly written that he had set examples for me in life and career .I had mentally accepted him as a teacher and secretly admired him. The only mistake was that I mentioned the use of some words by him. With so much of good things said, I thought this was nothing important and I had also clearly mentioned that he didn’t mean anything bad about those words .Still, I shouldn’t have mentioned it.

I learned another lesson from him now and I will not forget it too. From deep within my heart, I am begging him to forgive me, if I have hurt him in any way by my words.

In my entire career, I never tried to butter up people to get things done. Naturally I might not be called very friendly with senior colleagues. Along with such friendships come many obligations.

The most important thing for a physician is his professional reputation. And the best judge to know his capabilities are his colleagues. Every doctor thinks so high of himself. It is very unusual to hear good things about a doctor from another one.

“He is such a kind hearted doctor. He is so good to patients and talks so well, but he doesn’t know medicine. I hear all his patients die”

“Oh…him! He is a very tough guy. He is said to be rude and arrogant. But people are crowding because he is very good professionally. They say he is the best around”

It is hard to get a perfect combination. Given an option, I would like to hear the second.

In life, there is no perfect situation. No perfect person too.


  1. person is perfect..and its hard to please everybody also///Doc you seem to be clear hearted and true to urself...I admire this quality of urs which is very rare to see nowdays..Doctors have a bsy life,,,but everybody wants their kids to be a doctor..or earn like DOc..its hilarious thou..
    But to me this is a very noble profession and I always have lot of respect for people in this profession!

  2. Hi @Doc! Just stopped by and say hello. At least in the virtual world...


  3. The second option was you listed ;I knew one person who was like that..My general medicine professor who was a practicing physician too.People used to feel scared to go to him,.because he literally used to scold his patients if they tried to do manipulations with dosage of medicines or cross question anything;but nevertheless he was the best and people used to go to him!

  4. No person is perfect but we can be better day by day....

    Sushant Jain

  5. The sincerity of your words and the fact that you are admitting a mistake, makes me feel more respect and admiration for you, as a person and as a professional. And if your colleague doesn't seem to care about your apology, I'd say, take a breath and let it go :-)


  6. Doc, I guess your statements puts you apart from the many others who after a few years and a degree to boot ( be it a MBBS or an add on MD) claim to be Doctors.
    Yes the profession is quite unkind.But I feel that a person should not be a physician unless he has "it" in him. If money is the motive well there are other avenues. If vanity is the reason , then one can only pray for the poor patients who venture to him.

    I knew a doc, a renowned Cardiac physician in Thiruvanathapuram. He was perhaps a leading name in MC here in the seventies.He was from a very Spartan background and dug his way up the education ladder and carved a niche. He did not practise in private. He was strict and uncompromising. He was in fact a providential doctor. But he never smiled. Patients were virtually trembling when they went to him. His countenance was tough , but no patient of his lost hope or were let down. He did not run after wealth. He was so sure of himself and he did justice to his profession.
    He is retired , but does occasional practise privately.
    From what I knew of him - his lone fault was absence of smile.And that option I vote for.
    Perhaps a little smile would make the medications he prescribed unnecessary!

  7. nothing like being treated by a doc who is both. competence and compassion can work miracles, particularly for a person battling with diseases in the cure of which the mind plays a major role.
    i have kbown a few doctors like that.i really wish all docs were like that.what effort does it take a competent doctor to smile?

  8. Someone once commented to an aspiring teenager,' You must have rocks between your ears to want to be a doctor'!! I must say it takes a certain kind of person to be a doctor as it's sick people who come looking for you!! Doubtless tho, being a doctor is a noble profession. A smile is also part of the medicine.

  9. Its tough to be perfect but we can sure work towards perfection. Ya, it can be a crushing feeling if one has offended the person whom one adores. Try talking to him if the damage can be repaired.
    Take care!

  10. I don't know any doctors personally but suspected they have no life of their own. Until I read this I did not know just how deprived they are of a social life. I admire you for sticking with it and I can tell you are a doctor with feelings. I have run across some very rude doctors in my time. Thank you for coming by.

  11. In a doctor, I would prefer the second option to the first one anyday.

  12. Well Doc you brought in an important point. I have come across few doctors who are strict and as a rule of thumb never smile at patients. I wonder if its a stigma attached and that a smile would bring their status down. A little care and warmth would work wonders than medicine prescribed isnt it?

  13. May God increase your tribe Doc...We need doctors like you, with or without the smile.

  14. "In life, there is no perfect situation. No perfect person too." Amen to that:).
    If the issue still bothers you,a little talk with the 'person' could work very well:)

  15. You apologized; I hope he accepts it, for we all know that you only mean well.

  16. All will be fine. There's no alternative as in such instances. Intent is more important.

    Many of us have interesting stories of doctors, mostly warm and humane.

    Like Anilkurup mentioned, I know of one doctor who rarely ever smiles, and the day I saw a hint was most unexpected.

  17. Thanks for leaving us with such a great ending. My mind is now debating kind hearted but you are likey to die or arrogant, the best around? And at the moment I'm going with the first as to me being arrogant means that this dr cannot possibly be the best around. Or is that just me having had more than my fair share of arrogant doctors?

  18. Noone is perfect not even doctors but a doctor who speaks wells to patients do make them feel better. but as you said the choices you gave later would be better.

  19. I completely agree with wat Talha said. Half of the problems fade away when a patient comes across a Doc with a smile on his face [personal experience :-)]

  20. Dr Antony,

    Sorry I am slightly confused. Did you write this post for a specific person? Is he/she reading it and come back to you?

    You may like this person and respect him/her too much. But on the same token if you enough rapport with the person, some loose words should not spoil the relationship.

    I agree for a physician it is best to be in second category. But for my profession, it does not matter how good we are, but how good we are liked by is wrong but I suffered because of that.

  21. Forgive and forget....

    If your intention was good then dont worry about the consequences. If your colleague cannot understand you then that friendship is not worth it...

    Sooner or later he will realize the truth ....

  22. You have written very sincerely and I hope your colleague is gracious and accepts your apology.

  23. @Harman
    What you said is right. With all the complaints about the profession,most doctors force their own children in to the same career.Money and social acceptance are the main reasons.But the sad thing is that many of them do not make good doctors.

    Hi, that was good.Come on in !
    Anil mentioned a doctor like that.I know him very well,being my teacher.Bit old fashioned style,but better than the modern!
    We can try.We all have some things different in us.Changes are within limits.
    I wish so,Doris.I feel relieved.

  24. @Anil
    I know this doctor very well.He was my teacher.
    He was unique in his style.No hi tech stuff and he would stick to basic medicine and principles.He never showed the style of having educated abroad.
    He is respected for what he is.
    The new kind of doctors are too friendly.But don't get misled by the smile.They often do not listen to half of what you tell them.Their smiles are empty.They only show they are friendly.
    Yes true.But the combination is hard to find.If at all you find them,it is all part of the business.But we are all different,aren't we? The basic nature shows up,thats it.
    Many doctors are unhappy, due to many reasons.In the middle of their own problems,they try to find solutions for others.That shows off.
    Yes,In the rest of the world,where there are better options,only those who really love the career,would take it up.That is why we see many good doctors among them.

    I feel better after I apologized.The beginning is to know one has done a mistake.
    I have seen many,among colleagues.I had been badly treated by some,being a doctor my self.

    Me too. Like many wished,a combination would have been better. But,where is a perfect concoction !
    I agree with you totally.But,is it possible for you to deal with all your clients the same way? Are all the days the same?
    The basic nature and personality reflects on to everything we do.
    Many doctors are unhappy due to so many reasons.They all work in the middle of so many stressful situations.
    @Happy Kitten
    Those were real kind words, thank you.I am just an ordinary doctor trying to do my work within my limitations.

    Isn't it the truth?
    Yes.I know he didn't mean a thing too. Like I said, I have learned another lesson.
    @Anil P

    Yes,like the windy skies !

  25. @Petty
    I am sure you would have personal experiences to share.We get easily influenced by what we see.

    I had a teacher who was very popular among students.He was the best student in his days and was very energetic and friendly to the medical students.Naturally,this attitude helped him to earn a reputation in no time.While I worked with him,I realized he smiles and laughs with everyone for nothing,and never even listened to what they said. In fact, his patients had to go around the whole hospital departments,because he didn't have the time to examine them properly.He had a long wait list.

    Medicine is a difficult path.It needs constant updating and commitment.If we don't read for one month,we get outdated in subject.Many doctors do not reach where they wanted to, and end up in frustration.Many have family and social problems,and in the middle of all this,they should smile and work.
    It is all part of one's personality.Being kind hearted is a virtue we inherit.Sentiments and responsiveness come out of that kindness.


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