A 65 year old female was brought to my Emergency Department yesterday with a history of sudden collapse and breathlessness just outside Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.
She had been recently diagnosed with a tumor of the thyroid gland with metastasis to the lungs. Unfortunately, the tumor was also pressing onto her trachea (wind pipe). She had gone to Tata Memorial to get few blood tests done as advised by the oncologists. Since the doctors there informed that due to heavy patient load, they might have to wait for a while before emergency treatment could be initiated, attendants decided to get her to our Emergency.
After all life saving measures and stabilising the patient, I called for the attendant to take a detailed clinical history. Unlike the patient who looked extremely poor and frail, the attendant was a very well dressed, educated middle aged male.
“Hi, Good Morning, I’m Dr. Mohit. How are you related to her?”, I asked.
“She has been working in our office as a cleaner for the past many years and has no family here in Mumbai. She only has a distant cousin, but he stays far off in some place in interior Maharashtra”, he replied.
“Her initial blood work is not good. There is acid build up in her body, she’s on high flow oxygen and will need ICU admission for further workup and management”, I informed.
“Doctor, please go ahead with whatever is best for her”, was the reply.
“Do you wish to find out any hospital charges before we proceed ?”, I curiously inquired.
“What has to be done, has to be done, at whatever cost. I cannot abandon my employees in such testing times, especially when we are dealing with such a life saving decision”, was the reply I got, and he proceeded to get the admission formalities completed.
I reason I write about this is not only to appreciate people like the employer in this case, but for all readers to contemplate. How many of us would do something like that, for any of our lowest level employees including peons, drivers, cleaner, and others? Lending money is one thing, but to be physically present when someone is in need, is something I have not seen often, and especially not during this COVID time when everyone is facing financial crisis.
I feel that the world would be a better place if we all yearn for a sense of meaning and purpose in life. Every single thing we do with the intention of ‘doing good’, no matter how small, does make a difference.
This incident has also reinforced my belief in Sir Richard Branson’s famous quote, “Clients do not come first. Employees do. If you take care of the employees, they will take care of the clients.”