The hospital staff called him, Kris. His full name was Krishna Murthy, MD, FACOG. He started his obstetrics and gynecology practice when the forty-bed Riverville hospital opened its doors for patient care 30 years ago. – @Siliconeer #Siliconeer #Fiction #Literature #DrRaghavendraRao
As the time passed, many physicians in various subspecialties joined the hospital and it prospered. Now the hospital, known as, Riverville Medical Center stood on the Main Street providing healthcare to half-a-million people.
Dr. Kris made ward rounds early at 6 AM and by seven was in the operating room, commonly called the OR, scrubbed and ready for surgery. Delivering babies was child’s play for him. Under his dexterous hands, a Cesarean was completed in 15 minutes, and even a complicated cervical cancer removal was over in an hour. He earned the honor of becoming a doctor’s doctor. Some of his colleagues admired him for these activities and a few envied him.
It was late in the evening when Dr. Kris was paged STAT to the OR. A baby had gotten struck horizontally in the womb of her mother in labor. Dr. Kris proceeded to the OR as fast as he could and tried to turn the baby head down. Failing, taking more than an hour, he did a Cesarean section and extracted a healthy baby. He was washing his hands when the OR nurse approached him.
“Dr. Kris, the administrator, Mr. Johnson called. I didn’t want to disturb you during the operation so I took the message. He requested you to meet him in the Board Room. He said he’ll wait for you.”
Dr. Kris, still in surgical scrubs, slowly walked to the Board Room. He was surprised to see the chief of medical staff and chief surgeon, Dr. Edwin Smith, and three Hospital Board of Directors with Mr. Johnson at the table.
“Doctor, you must be tired. Let me get you some coffee. It’s fresh.” Mr. Johnson got up and poured some in a cup. Dr. Kris sat across the table facing the administrator, sipping coffee.
“Dr. Kris,” Mr. Johnson began, “You may be aware, we’re facing problems in the OR schedules.”
“You did operations quite fast, three major and seven minor ones in a day usually. A C-section just in 15 minutes. The hospital financially benefited because of you.”
“Now, you’ve slowed down and do hardly five operations a day. A simple Cesarean takes an hour and a half. Your surgical colleagues are saying that they had to wait and wait for the OR to clear. We’re not utilizing the OR to the fullest extent and losing money.”
Dr. Edwin Smith, the chief surgeon, spoke now. “Kris, the OR is like an airline industry. As long as the plane flies, it makes money. If the OR is not used efficiently…”
“I know, Ed.”
“There is another issue. The OR nurses say that your hands shake a little now and then.”
“Long hours and lots of coffee.”
“The other day, the nursing supervisor was chatting with me. I heard that you cut one of the major arteries in the abdomen.”
“Ed, show me one surgeon who hasn’t inadvertently cut an artery in his or her career. I took care of the bleeding and repaired the artery.” Kris raised his voice. “Didn’t the supervisor tell you that?”
“Easy, Dr. Kris, no offense. We’re investigating a few allegations.”
“Okay, spill the beans.”
Mr. Baker, one of the hospital board of directors, spoke. “Dr. Kris, we reviewed the various reports from the Ob-Gyn committee, spoke to OR nurses, and analyzed how much money you made for our hospital during the past two years. It doesn’t look good. We feel that the OR can be better utilized without you operating and concur with Dr. Smith’s recommendations. We have to revoke your surgical privileges. Sorry.”
Dr. Smith took over. “Kris, we appreciate your services for all these years. If we decline your surgical privileges, it is bad publicity for all of us. If you voluntarily decline, it will curtail a lot of gossip.” He placed the privilege papers and a pen in front of Dr. Kris.
Dr. Kris silently looked at Dr. Smith and the application for a moment. He picked up the pen with a shaking hand and marked the “Decline Surgery Privileges” square and signed the application. He slowly got up and walked out of the room.
Outside, he leaned on the rails of the wheelchair ramp. The sprinklers were on and the rays of the setting sun splashed golden beads of water across the lawn. Crows roosted on the nearby mulberry tree cawing the end of a hot day. A couple of nurses walked by carrying paper plates of dinner from the cafeteria toward the surgical ward. Life was moving as usual.
Dr. Krishna Murthy went home.
“You look exhausted.” Anupama, Kris’s wife inquired.
“I’m tired, Anu. Bad news. I was fired from my job. I don’t bring enough money for them. This is it, the end of my career.” He collapsed on the sofa.
Anupama brought a cup of coffee to Kris and sat close to him. While sipping the coffee, Kris briefly explained the day’s events.
“They forgot all the good things I’ve done for this hospital. I’ve become the ‘Old Yeller.’
They killed me, Anu, they killed me.” Kris cried like a child.
Anu held his hands. “Kris, my love, you’ve saved hundreds of lives and delivered thousands of children despite your Parkinson’s disease. Let God be the judge of your service, not these hospital people. Your mind is sharp. You can be a lecturer in the community college and teach anatomy. Go to the women’s shelter, help them and educate them. Do voluntary work in the library or in the local Church. There are many things you can do.”
“You’re right, Anu.”
“The hospital may not have a place for you in the operating room,” Anu kissed and hugged Kris, “I’ll always have room in my heart for you.”