Today is my son’s 25th birthday and it’s a day to be extremely happy, but hidden under all the happiness and merriment is guilt. This guilt is what I will carry till my last breath and it boosts up every time I see my son.
This darkness in my life is the result of the night of 12th October 1991 which was the most depressing night I have ever spent. It was about midnight and my duty hours at the hospital had ended. All senior doctors had left the place and I was at the exit door. As I was walking towards my car I felt some sharp instinct that I must go back to the hospital, I could not figure out why, I said to myself, “Maybe I forgot something inside.” I walked back and entered the hospital; I was walking towards my cabin when I heard some nurses shouting, “Emergency! Emergency! Doc, there is an emergency!”
I realized it was because of this that I had come back into the hospital. As I turned towards the nurses, I saw two people lying on stretchers. There was a middle aged man all covered with blood and I ordered the nurse to take him to the operation room immediately, but as I turned towards the other stretcher I saw my son 10 year old son lying fainted and with bruises on his dead. The people who brought them said that my son was with this man, my son’s friend’s father, who was driving the car to drop him home. I decided I had to take care of my son first.
He was taken to the operation room where we treated him, the bruises on his dead were cleaned and I myself put stitches on my son’s forehead. I could feel tears coming to my eyes. Even though I knew it was not a life threatening situation, I was extremely tensed. In the next few minutes my mind starting working again and I realized about the other man on the stretcher.
“Doctor, he is dead”, said the nurse. I could feel something dying inside of me. I had forgotten that I am a doctor first and then a father. Delaying my son’s treatment would not have threatened his life, but this man I left lying on the stretcher and to the responsibility of nurses, lost his life. He was my son’s friend’s father, who had three other siblings. They were already facing a lot of difficulties financially and this man was the only earning member of the family. His four sons and his wife were left alone to battle these problems, and all of this happened because of me.
I decided I was no more capable of being a doctor and from that day onwards I did not return to that hospital. The memories associated to that place are such that I have lost all confidence I had in myself and my profession. While becoming a doctor I had taken the oath that my first duty will always be to save lives, and I could not return to my profession now that I had violated the responsibilities associated with my profession, because I chose to a father and not a doctor.
Today, even after 15 years have passed by, those haunting memories are stored in the corner of my heart. Every time I see a doctor, every time I go to a hospital, every time I see that little irremovable scratch on my son’s head and every time he gets a year older than before, I realize I am the reason someone died. This guilt will be with me forever, and I have never even had the courage to go see what that man’s family is like without him, another guilt which makes my life more depressing than ever.