Dr. Saxena came back to his chamber after checking on the patient, 65 years old Gurpreet Singh who has been on life support ventilator for last seven days on bed no. 421 on the fourth floor of Super Specialty Nursing Home. Every effort is being made to keep him alive and Dr. Saxena felt hopeful…
As he entered his spacious spanking clean room, a lady got up and said, “Sat Sri Akal, Doctor Sahab.” Dr. Saxena was little irritated seeing a woman sitting in his chamber. He made a mental note to admonish Inderjeet, his front office Executive. Keeping a stoic face he returned the greetings and said, “I can’t recall having met you. What can I do for you?”
The lady said, “My name is my name is Inderpreet Kaur. My husband Gurpreet Singh is on ventilator for last one week. I want know about his health condition.” As it is Dr. Saxena was upset now he simply burst out on the lady, “Why are you here? We have a defined time slot for meeting the patient. You should come at that time and check with on-duty doctor. This is my OPD time and there is long queue outside. Please go now.”
“I am sorry, Doctor but I do not have time to come back again. So, can you please tell me his state of health?” Inderpreet Kaur said in a low tone to calm down the otherwise charged atmosphere.
Dr. Saxena decided to cut short the conversation and said in an even tone, “Frankly, I do not see much hope of his survival. His brain is partially dead but we are doing our best to revive him.”
“But how long?” asked Inderpreet.
“That is difficult to say, we are hopeful as long as he is breathing.” Said Dr. Saxena nonchalantly.
“But is he still breathing?” asked Inderpreet in a strange voice looking straight at Dr. Saxena.
Dr. Saxena was not expecting such a query and the initial irritation came back in his voice when he said, “What do you mean?” Inderpreet without flicking her eyelid and looking straight at Dr. Saxena said in husky voice, “Please let him go. He has been dead for last five days. Please free him up from all those wire tangles.”
Dr. Saxena was now visibly upset and roared, “If you know so much about treatments, why did you bring him here, should have treated him at home only.”
“I would have done that only, if I could. Now, please tell me how I can take him back.” Inderpreet said in an even tone.
Dr. Saxena was very angry now at this kind of impudence of the woman. He almost shouted at her, “Please sign the No Obligation Bond and pay up Rs.12 Lacs, the hospital expenses as of today and then only you can take him back.”
A faint smile appeared on Inderpreet’s face when she said, “My husband died two days after being admitted here and you have put him on ventilator since then to fleece money from us. The legitimate amount for those two days is Rs.1.25 Lacs which I am paying you now.”
Dr. Saxena was extremely agitated now; he shouted again, “Look, I have never seen you earlier. His son came to admit him here. What is proof that you are his wife as you are claiming? I do not want to continue this conversation with you anymore. Please go from here at this very moment. Otherwise…” He couldn’t finish his sentence, his phone was ringing. He picked up the phone, “Hello, Dr. Saxena speaking.”
“Good Morning, I am Sandeep Singh speaking. My father Gurpreet Singh is admitted in your nursing home. Bed no. 421.”
“Thank God, you called Mr. Sandeep. Your mother is creating ruckus here. How can we treat your father if your mother continues to interfere in our affairs? She is behaving as if she knows more than the doctors! I am telling you now, if she doesn’t go from here peacefully, I will have to call in the security.”
“What are you saying Doctor? My mother passed away five years ago.” Sandeep said on the other side of the phone. “What do you mean? She is still sitting in front of me” retorted Dr. Saxena. “Don’t listen to her, she must be a fraud. I am coming just now” pleaded Sandeep from the other side.
With smirk on his face, Dr. Saxena addressed Inderpreet, “You wait here now, your son is coming. We shall decide the course of action on his arrival.”
“I will go away before my son comes. My husband is waiting outside. Although you have kept his body on the ventilator, he has been with me for last five days. You want to meet him? See, he is right there.” said Inderpreet in a plain voice.
Dr. Saxena turned towards the examination cot in the room. Gurpreet Singh was sitting on it and smiling to him. Dr. Saxena couldn’t believe how the dead body that he had seen some time back on the ventilator in bed number 421, has come down to his chamber on the ground floor of the nursing home. He started sweating and blurted out “What is this? Are you playing games with me?”
This time Gurpreet answered, “What did you gain by cheating my son? He is a simple guy working like a donkey to meet the needs of his family. You have practically made him bankrupt. Are you a doctor or dacoit?”
“Don’t you worry, doctor. We will pay you the amount that you actually deserve. In this cash crunch time, we do not have the cash but here these gold bangles will surely fetch you more than Rs.1.25 Lacs.” Saying so, Inderpreet moved towards Dr. Saxena.
Dr. Saxena moved away from her but there was no place to hide. He shouted, “No, no, I don’t want your bangles or money. Please go away.” Inderpreet along with Gurpreet closed moved closer to Dr. Saxena and said in unison, “Why doctor? You don’t want to make more money? Please take these bangles.” Dr. Saxena shouted, “No oooo….” He went complete blank.
After a while Dr. Saxena realised there were other people too in the room. People who were his patient whose dead bodies have been on the ventilator unnecessarily while he continued prescribe expensive medicines to fleece the families. All of them were asking “Why Doctor?” Dr. Saxena tried to speak but couldn’t as he suffered a massive heart attack.
Dr. Gupta checked the pulse of Dr. Saxena and realised he was dead. Straightening up he thought, well it’s a right time make some money for myself. He instructed the nurse, “Put him on the ventilator and inform his family. The patient is critical.”
Once Dr. Saxena’s dead body was put on the ventilator and the family advised to make the hefty deposit towards the treatment, Dr. Gupta returned to his chamber.
Dr. Saxena was waiting for him there and asked, “Why Doctor Gupta?” Everybody outside the chamber heard the sharp shrill of Dr.Gupta and loud thumping sound of his body falling on the floor.