Walking out proud from the Medical College with a post-graduate degree in Internal Medicine I had the Government job waiting for me in my home District.
Did I had any second thoughts in joining the service?
Many of my friends were trying to pass the exam to get admission for further specialisation.
But by then I wanted to taste real work,not more and more knowledge about less and less[as sub specialisation is rightly termed].
During my post graduate days, watching the endless number of patients referred from peripheral hospitals to the Medical College, I realised that there was a serious shortage of quality hands in many Districts,especially in my own. Also I was a strong believer of equity in health and always raised my voice for more Government spending in health care. The right to healthy living free of illnesses is a fundamental right which should be ensured by the Government,that was my motto.
With all this background it was natural that I never entertained second thoughts on my decision to join Government Health Service. The low salary structure did not deter me from my decision.
The hospital where I started working was a Taluk [sub-District] Hospital. It had bare minimum facilities,was under-staffed and always overcrowded with poor patients. Being an Internal Medicine MD, the patients I looked after where mainly having chronic Lung diseases,Tuberculosis,Cardiac diseases,all kinds of fevers including Leptospirosis and Typhoid, Gastro intestinal infections,all complications of Diabetes,suicidal poisoning etc.In between I also had to do suturing of minor wounds,conduct deliveries when Gynecologist was on leave and do Post mortem in case of uncontroversial but unnatural deaths.
The crowd was not knew to me[as I faced similar crowd in Medical College OP] but the lack of facilities and inability to consult a senior member of my speciality was problematic in the beginning. Soon I settled down and took my work as a challenge. To come to a working diagnosis with barest possible examination time,do the minimum but essential and affordable investigations,and treat with least expensive but effective and available medicines is always a big challenge for any doctor working in Government Hospital in small towns and villages. I was up to the challenge and did reasonably well.
I was pleasant to patients, looked up to their face and tried to listen to their complaints. I tried to practise what I learned in Medical College. The ques of patients in front of me began to grow. I started my Private practise at my place of residence [as per the Government rules]. There also patients began to flock. Money started coming in and I was overall satisfied with my decision to join Government service.
I took part in many free medical camps during holidays serving the needy in remotest part of the District. I was given training in many subjects varying from HIV/AIDS to Torture Medicine.I also imparted training to my co-workers in many subjects.
Being a doctor in Government Service gives the satisfaction of serving the poor. At the same time one can earn more money in a legal way with our hard work through the private practise. I felt only happiness and satisfaction during those early years.
Then why did I left the Government service? That I will tell in my next post.