A freak thunder storm had gripped the city of Indore and held it captive the past couple of days. The city was slowing limping back to normalcy as uprooted trees and toppled electric poles were cleared away.
“Trring, trring. Trring, trring!” The insistent ring of the mobile woke him from a deep slumber. He picked up the phone and mumbled an incoherent “Hello”.
“Dr Thakur?” this is sister Sheetal calling from the government Nursing home in Sanawad. We have a woman in labour. She may need an emergency C section. Can you please come?”
Dr Thakur sat up in bed. The clock dial read 2:30 am. It was a bitterly cold, dark and stormy night.
Sanawad was a village about 50 kilometres from Indore. The district highway connecting Indore to Sanawad was a single track road, dotted with potholes. It was a rough commute.
Parting the curtains Dr Thakur gazed at the play of nature evident from the window.
“Sister, it’s raining heavily in Indore. In this inclement weather it will take me more than two hours to reach. Can’t the village midwife or resident doctor handle it?” queried Dr Thakur.
“Sir, the midwife is sick and our doctor is away on call to another village. It will take him longer than you to reach. You are on our panel of doctors so I called. Both the mother and child are in trauma & I fear we may lose either or both of them. We need you here, please”
“Okay sister. Prepare the OT. Start the woman on a saline drip & monitor her BP. Stay with her, keep her calm. I am on my way,” instructed Dr Thakur as he hurriedly dressed in the dark & grabbed his medical bag.
“What’s wrong? Who called at this hour?” His wife’s sleepy query halted his steps.
“It was the hospital in Sanawad. They have a mother & baby in distress. I need to leave immediately”, replied Dr Thakur.
“What? Are you crazy! Have you not seen the weather? You are seventy years old. I absolutely forbid you to drive to Sanawad alone at this time of the night. The rains could start up any minute” ranted his wife.
“Shobha, I am a doctor. My work ethic demands that I go. I’ll be back by morning, I promise. Don’t fret, go back to sleep”, reasoned Dr Thakur as he slipped out the door.
The rain broke cover & pummelled down as he drove to Sanaward in low visibility. It took a little over two hours for him to reach. As he dashed in, the tiny government hospital was resonating with the screams of the belaboured mother.
“Thank God you reached in time sir. The baby’s head is stuck and his heartbeat is dropping rapidly. We need to do a C section immediately”, frantically yelled the sister wheeling the patient into the OT.
Two hours later, Dr Thakur smiled as he checked vital signs of the new mother gratefully holding her baby daughter.
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