Silence had befallen the auditorium after the thunderous applause died down that had accompanied Dr. Zutshi, the world famous doctor of prosthetic sciences. Students had been waiting for his lecture since the beginning of semester and soon it was the most talked about event in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
The doctor looked at the gathering with blank expression on his face. He wondered as to what should be his words to the students at his Alma mater. He had his speech ready in front of him but it didn't seem right to him to brag about his achievements in a subtle way and then bore the students with his case studies.
Taking a deep breath he uttered, “This doesn't feel right. Another lecture by another old man with very little to offer to the future. I don’t want to talk about cases and complications, you will have a lot of them in your career. If there is something that I can say to help you fellows in your future endeavours, then it does not lie in any of the books I have written or lectures I have given.”
Murmurs started among the crowd and faculty members looked at each other with disbelief.
“Today I would like to talk about a patient of mine whose treatment gives me more joy than all of the awards that I have received. It is a story about my daughter’s pet, Scott”.
Whispers grew as people were shocked to hear the confession of a man held in highest regards in his field. Prosthetics in endangered animals was not legal in the strictest of terms and recently rumours had started that Dr. Zutshi was involved in experiments on animals and if proven right he could be stripped of all his awards and a possibility of jail wasn't out of question.
Taking a sip from the glass of water in front of him he continued, “Scott belongs to an endangered breed of which only twelve specimen survive currently. Now when an accident took place at our house, Scott lost a forelimb and found it difficult to move without help.
“We availed services of the best vets we could manage and most of them suggested that the only way of to rid Scott of his pain was to have him put down.”
He looked around and noticed that he had the attention of most of the students whereas the faculty members were confused as some of them contemplated the consequences of Dr. Zutshi’s utterances on the dais.
Overlooking them he said, “But I did not agree. Scott had been with me for a long time and it did not seem fair to do this to him because of the mistake someone else committed. I looked at his wound and it occurred to me that it was not very different from the human injuries that I had treated hundreds of times. I did what my heart said, and operated on him. I designed a prosthetic limb and integrated it to his body in a more permanent fashion unlike humans because in Scott’s case we assumed that he could not make the decision on his own.”
“I am a doctor and all I know is how to save lives, and that’s what I do. I don’t care if it is a human or an animal and I don’t believe in any law that stops me from doing my duty.”
The students rose to applaud a man they had known to be a great doctor but today turned out to be a great human as well.
As the cheers and clapping slowly died down, he spoke again, “I am not presenting my case or pleading mercy today. Actually it was today that Scott started walking for the first time and my family took Scott back to our home since the accident.”
The clapping started again but the surgeon’s face did not bear a smile or even a hint of glee. He raised his hand to stop them and continues, “On their way back home, some unknown people attacked the car in which they were in an attempt to maybe mug them. As it turned out,” he took a pause and let out a sigh of pain, “Scott attacked the criminals and my wife and daughter escaped without realizing that Scott was injured badly and by the time any help could reach, Scott was no more. He had given up his life trying to protect them. So to people who call me unethical I have only one thing to say, treating Scott was an honor. One that maybe they will never be able to have.”
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