28 July, 2021

...And the Hippocratic Oath in Action

It is the dedicated medical corps at AIIMS that offers a counterpoint to the "health is wealth" lobby

Tribhuvan Tiwari
...And the Hippocratic Oath in Action
At 7.45 am in Delhi's killer winter cold, when the world is still rising from its slumber, Prof A.K. Mahapatra strides to his room in the Neurosurgery opd at the capital's premier government hospital, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). Outside, a sea of ailing humanity waits to be attended. Many have travelled hundreds of kilometres to avail of the super-speciality treatment they can afford; for others, it is their last hope for survival.

Mahapatra knows this well. For 28 years, he has been doing what would brand him as a lunatic to most of his tribe: working for 14 hours non-stop per day, living in a small government apartment and earning a paltry government salary. All this when there is a permanent queue of India's best corporate hospitals and international medical institutes offering 20 to 100 times the money he carries home at month-end. But Mahapatra does not feel the pinch.

"I may not drive a luxury car, I may not afford to eat at a five-star but I am a very satisfied man. If we fall to monetary temptations, there will be no one to cater to...

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