'Rajesh Khanna-starrer Anand inspired me to become a doctor'

Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan in AnandDr Vijay SuraseOn the occasion of National Doctor's Day, celebrated to commemorate the birthday of legendary physician and ex-CM of West Bengal Dr B.C. Roy, Dr Vijay Surase, renowned interventional cardiologist tells us why he chose to become a doctor.

In the early '70s, when we used to live in Aurangabad, I saw a Hrishikesh Mukherjee-directed film called Anand starringAmitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna in which Amitabh played a doctor. The medical diagnosis of Rajesh Khanna's character in the film (lymphosarcoma of the intestine) fascinated me and I kept on repeating those words without understanding what it meant.

Also during those days, my mother was very ill and was suffering from chronic paranoid schizophrenia. She had acute intermittent attacks and was on heavy sedatives, had to be restrained and was also given electric shock therapy (ECT Electro Convulsive Therapy). I saw my father completely helpless as she was bedridden. Being the eldest of three siblings (all my three brothers are doctors now in different fields); I decided that I would become a doctor to treat my mother's ailment.

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Back then, I was a very good boy who was always punctual and took care of my mother's nursing care, cleaning her up, washing her clothes and feeding her and everything else! Most of my neighbours and relatives started saying that I should become a doctor. So I pursued medicine, did my MBBS and MD and went on to super specialise in cardiology (Doctorate of Medicine, Cardiology). So I became an interventional cardiologist and my younger brothers followed my footsteps and studied medicine. Now we actually have six doctors at home, and even my mother is healthy and doing well.

Travelling through blood vessels!

Most people brag about travelling across the globe or the countries that they've seen but I travel inside the vascular tree of the human body and have been doing so for the last 15 years! To use a sporting analogy, just as The Little Master Sachin Tendulkar perceives a cricket ball to be as big as football (which allows him to play it with finesse), we interventional cardiologists travel through tiny blood vessels using our wires, balloons and stents. If all the blood vessels and capillaries in the human body were put in one straight line, they'd be 60,000 miles long. Over a period we start perceiving these tiny blood vessels as roads to travel! And on my journey, I've traversed different vessels of the heart, brain, kidneys, stomach and other organs to treat various ailments.

The best thing about being a doctor

Doctors are revered next to God by people and we must not forget that we are involved in an eternal and sacred job. Doctors are respected by default and the reverence goes up with age and experience. We must never forget that our main purpose is to save lives. There's absolutely nothing in the world that compares to the satisfaction you get when family members thank you for saving a loved one's life.

If you want to become a doctor

To all the youngsters who want to become a doctor I would like to say that while wanting to earn money is not a sin, youngsters shouldn't do things to make a quick-buck. Have patience, stay composed and always try to deliver the best in every situation. It's important for doctors not to be commercially driven.

Being a doctor's not easy. You'll tell others to avoid stress, while you yourself get stressed working for 12-14 hours every day trying to save lives! The sad reality is that India has a critical shortage of good doctors so it's important that you strive to become capable individuals. Don't forget that as doctors your duty is to protect your society, to serve your nation and to be honest in everything you do.

Also read: Why I became a doctor

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