Dr. Abraham Peedicayil: The stairs to success
On World Cancer Day 2019, we at Medikabazaar have decided to bring you, real and personal stories of doctors who have pushed the boundaries and tackled complex, and complicated medical cases of patients without hopes of any recovery. We want to thank them for their invaluable service to our country!
A cancer afflicted patient is not the only concern of a doctor. There are various other challenges which they face as clearly stated by Dr. Abraham Peedicayil, Professor & Head, Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Christian Medical College (CMC) & Hospital Vellore.
“When we are dealing with cancer, patients and their family want surgery within a few days. In public or charitable hospitals, this is a huge challenge, and often patients have to wait for several weeks if not months,” said Dr. Peedicayil when speaking to Medikabazaar.
It’s a known fact that Indians have to pay the majority of their medical bills as an out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure due to low insurance coverage. Echoing the same Dr. Peedicayil said, “A very distressing factor is enabling the patient's family to find the finances as healthcare costs are going through the roof.”
“One of the most challenging aspects of my work is to help patients and their families to accept and cope with complications,” he added.
However, Dr. Peedicayil - who completed his Bachelors and Doctors degree from CMC and then went on to get his Masters in Public Health from The University of North Carolina - stated that oncologists themselves “should not get discouraged with treatment-related morbidity and mortality.”
“I have a good night's rest and in the morning go out into the garden or take a morning walk,” said Dr. Peedicayil elucidating on his pre-surgery activities.
He continued, “On the day of surgery, I set out in good time and chat with the anesthetist to ensure that all is under control. In the operating room, we have the usual checklists and briefing. I say a silent prayer while scrubbing and before the incision.”
Dr. Peedicayil ensures that the pre-procedure “surgical steps” are followed where he makes sure that the “patient's co-morbidities (if any) are under control.” He also interacts with the patients and their relatives and sees to it that, essential components such as blood, and ICU are in place for the surgical procedure.
“Once the operation starts, I am fully engrossed but make it a point to talk to the nurses and anesthetists to check that all is well with the patient,” he said.
However what was interesting to know was how Dr. Peedicayil prepared for long duration surgical procedures. He said, “To physically be prepared for long operations one has to be fit. So I climb nine flights of stairs a couple of times a day in the hospital and try to make my residents follow suit.”
On the eve of World Cancer Day, the eminent oncologist had a message for young doctors who are just starting their medical journey.
He said, “Train very well not only in theory but also to have the maximum practical exposure. Apart from competence, one has to have compassion, integrity, self-discipline and above all keep the patient's interest uppermost always.”
“There is no gain without pain,” he added.