Tuesday, 14 August 2018

part 16 : To Err is Human

RECAP: As they ran past the open field, they heard the hospital ambulance sirens…..THEY KNEW TROUBLE WAS HERE!

"RIDDHIMA…..KRIPA…SIMONE….FOLLOW ME TO THE EMERGENCY!" Dr Gupta yelled at the top of his voice.

The women changed directions and headed for the Emergency Room. An ambulance rolled into the driveway of the hospital.

With the sirens still flashing, the rear doors slammed open.

"AAP SAB HATH JAAIYE….ZAKHMI LOGON KO ANDAR JAANE DO!" An ambulance staff member moved the onlookers aside. A number of kids got off and headed inside. The kids were drenched but in a state of shocked silence. Most parents had gathered in the lobby and ran to hug their precious ones.

"SAB THEEK HAIN….INHEIN KUCH NAHIN HUA HAI!" Josh climbed out along with Prithvi and gathered the kids around their parents, "INHEIN BAS THODA CHECK KARKE….AAP LOGON KE PAAS WAPAS BHEJ DENGE." He reassured the parents and walked with them towards the ER pods.

"SIMONE….KRIPA….RIDDHIMA!" Josh hollered, "yeh sab camp ke bachche hain….we all got caught in the storm….please check them out thoroughly and let them go with their parents."

Dr Shashank Gupta sat with the parents to allay their fears, "aap sab shaant rahiye…sab theek ho jaayega…hamare doctors check kar rahe hain sab bachchon ko."

"Where are the other interns?" Simone looked around. Kripa and Riddhima's hearts galloped anxiously as their eyes wandered for the three missing interns.

"They are on their way…..in the other ambulance," Prithvi calmed their fears, "pehle bachchon ka laana zaroori tha."

"Are they fine?" Kripa asked. For some reason, she had a premonition that everything was not right. Were the three missing interns- Angad, Armaan and Rahul- in trouble?

"They will be fine…don't worry ladies….please take care of these kids as their parents are very anxious," Josh helped the kids settle and rushed out as soon as the sirens of the other ambulance approached the ER.

"Prithvi! Are you sure the others are fine?" Kripa looked up as she took care of minor cuts and bruises on one of the kid's arms.

"Haan…haan Kripa….we were just caught in the storm….the kids panicked…..some fell down and hurt themselves….that's it." He bandaged a child's foot as he talked.

"Where are Ishaan and Prateek?" Riddhima looked around. The two handicapped boys were missing.

"Wo..wo shayad Angad aur Armaan ke saath the…hum log ambulance mein aa gaye the…Rahul unko lene gaya tha," Prithvi answered.

"Lene gaya tha?" Simone was surprised.

"kahan se?' Kripa asked.

"Well…Ishaan, Prateek, Armaan and Angad wanted to go mountain climbing….hum baaki log nahin gaye the….Josh sir, Rahul aur main neeche hi the……in sab bachchon ke saath," Prithvi replied.

"Josh! Josh!" Simone shook her head in frustration, "aise mausam mein kyun jaane diya unhein….sab ko apne jaisa adventurous samajhta hai."

"Mountain climbing with Ishaan and Prateek?" Kripa was shocked.

"haan…Ishaan was on Angad's back and Prateek on Armaan's," Prithvi replied.

As they tended over the kids, they heard commotion in the hallway.

"SISTER….IV…OXYGEN….....FLUIDS…..GET IT ALL READY!" Dr Gupta ran ahead as a stretcher was wheeled in at lightning speed. Armaan, covered in mud and dirt from head to toe ran behind the stretcher as Rahul followed him.

"ARMAAN!" Riddhima screamed as she saw his blood soaked arm under his ripped sleeve.

"RIDDHIMA! I AM OKAY….DON'T WORRY!" Armaan looked back at her and then disappeared into another room with the stretcher.

"LADIES….TAKE CARE OF ISHAAN AND PRATEEK! I NEED TO BE WITH DR GUPTA!" Josh placed the two boys on a bed along with the other kids and headed for the other room.

"SIR! ANGAD….ANGAD KAHAN HAI?" Kripa ran after Josh. Her fears were not unfounded- it was Angad on the stretcher!

"Kripa…..go back to the kids…..we will take care of Angad," Josh slammed the door on her face and joined Dr Gupta and his team as they slashed his shirt and pants to get better access to his injuries. Kripa wanted to barge into the room and see what calamity had befallen Angad, but she knew her orders were to take care of the kids. She could not neglect her little patients even though her heart ached to be by Angad's bedside. She reassured herself that Angad was in good hands- he needed Dr Gupta and Dr Josh more than he needed her at that crucial moment.

An unconscious Angad lay listless on the bed as someone inserted an IV into his vein, cardiac monitor leads on his chest as someone drew blood from his veins. His body was badly bruised with scratches and cuts everywhere.


"Sir Blood pressure…..patient ka blood pressure bahut low hai," the nurse looked at the monitor.

"Sister….1 liter normal saline! Jaldi se fluids de do patient ko…IV is in place….come on FAST!" Josh ordered.

"Dr Armaan….you have a wound on your arm…please take care of it first!" Dr Gupta glanced through the corner of his eyes.

"It's nothing major sir…..I need to be here with Angad," Armaan listened to his friend's chest with his stethoscope as the others resuscitated him.

"Dr Rahul and Josh are here…..please take care of yourself first!" Dr Gupta's stern voice filled the already tense room.

"Armaan….just cover that wound with this gauze….and you can stay here," Josh overruled Dr Gupta's orders. Josh was aware how close Angad and Armaan were to each other. Josh was kicking himself for permitting the two young doctors to climb the mountains with the young boys on their backs. He knew that Angad had saved Ishaan's life after his foot had slipped by falling face forward on the rocks so that the boy on his back would not get hurt.

"Thanks sir," Armaan covered his gash quickly and rushed to Angad's bedside.

"Dr Rahul….what should we do next?" Dr Gupta asked after inserting a tube in Angad's mouth to help him breath.

"Sir…I think Angad might have hit his head…we should order a CT scan of his head….I think he has a major head injury," Rahul answered confidently.

"No sir….I disagree," Armaan intervened, "I was with Angad…..his foot slipped on the mountain…..he tried to save Ishaan who was on his back…and in that process….fell flat on his abdomen (tummy) on a rock….he did not hit his head….he was conscious the whole time…..mujh se ambulance mein baat karta aaya hai…..I think he has an internal injury in his abdomen sir….not in his head." Armaan knew that challenging Dr Gupta and smarty pants Rahul was probably a no-no but his best friend's life was at stake and he was ready to face anyone at that moment.

"You might have a point Dr Armaan," Dr Gupta nodded, "his blood pressure is still falling…zaroor internal bleeding ho rahi hai….Dr Josh….please check."

"Rahul….please hand me a syringe and needle….I need to do a peritoneal tap," Josh asked. (peritoneal tap is a procedure in which a needle is inserted into the abdomen to see if there is any internal hemorrhage inside.)

Rahul gave Armaan a dirty look and handed Josh a syringe and needle. He was obviously unhappy about Dr Gupta giving Armaan-the duffer's idea the precedence over his brilliant diagnosis. Rahul was sure the tap would not reveal any hemorrhage (bleeding) and ultimately the two senior doctors would agree with Rahul's idea.

"Yes sir…Armaan is right….Angad is bleeding inside….he has either injured his liver or his spleen," Josh removed the blood filled syringe and sighed anxiously.

"OK…LET'S GET THE OR READY! WE CAN'T WASTE TIME!" Dr Gupta yelled, "Armaan….make sure the blood bank arranges for at least 2 units of blood ASAP!!" Armaan was happy that his diagnosis was right but a little disappointed that Dr Gupta never acknowledged the fact. But that was not a time to think who was right and who was wrong- what mattered was only Angad's life!

"Yes sir," Armaan nodded and suddenly remembered the incident from the bathroom a few weeks ago……rare blood type hoon yaar….O negative…..badhi mushkil se milta hai……zyaada beh na jaaye……

Armaan froze for a few seconds at the quirk of fate…..their little joke while shaving could turn out to be such a cruel reality one day. Armaan swallowed hard and recalled their conversation while shaving. He wiped his face and promised to himself, 'Angad…main tujhey kuch nahin hone doonga….tu rare hai tho kya….koi na koi raasta zaroor nikal aayega.'

Angad was wheeled into the OR as Drs Josh and Gupta scrubbed for the surgery. Armaan called the blood bank and rushed back to assist the senior doctors. He was shocked to see Rahul scrubbing in along with them.

"Sir….I would like to assist…..Angad is my best friend…..aise waqt par mera haq bantaa hai ki main bhi uske saath hoon," Armaan insisted.

"Dr Rahul is going to assist….Dr Armaan….you stay outside….we might need your help with other things," Dr Gupta shook off the water from his arms and replied firmly. Armaan was stunned; why was Dr Gupta so biased against him? Why did he always favor Rahul? Aakhir maine unka kya bigada hai?

"Lekin…lekin sir," an almost tearful Armaan followed Dr Gupta into the OR, "he needs me…uska aur koi nahin hai sir." His voice cracked with emotions.

"NO HE DOESN'T! HE NEEDS A SURGEON….A DOCTOR WHO IS NOT SO EMOTIONAL….please Dr Armaan wait outside and as soon as the blood arrives from the blood bank, bring it in….we need to transfuse him as soon as possible," Dr Gupta placed his hands in a sterile pair of gloves and headed off to the spotlight in the center of the OR.

A stunned and broken Armaan swallowed his tears and walked out as the surgical mask on Rahul's mouth could not hide the smug expression on his face. How he hated Rahul at that moment!

"ARMAAN!" Kripa and Riddhima ran towards him as he walked out of the OR. Prithvi followed the women and patiently waited behind them. The children had been dispersed with their respective parents after their minor cuts and bruises had been tended to. Even though, Kripa had been rudely shut out of Angad's room, her heart had stayed back with him while he was resuscitated by the esteemed team of four men doctors. She had fulfilled her duty and taken care of all the other patients- that was a harsh reality she had to get used to- duty always came first!

"They…they are going to operate on him," Armaan said softly and averted his tear filled gaze.

"Operate?" Kripa almost lost her balance, "k…kya hua hai Angad ko?" she could barely speak.

"Internal hemorrhage…..abdominal injury," Armaan covered his face with his palms. They all knew the seriousness of the injury. The only gratifying feature was that he was in good hands- Dr Gupta was one of the best surgeons in the country but they all knew that even the best surgeon could sometimes not save a life if excessive internal bleeding had occurred.

"Dr ARMAAN!" A nurse walked over, "blood bank mein 2 units nahin hain available."

"What do you mean nahin hain?" Armaan asked angrily, "I thought this hospital is well equipped….kya yahan 2 unit blood bhi nahin hai? Let me talk to the damn blood bank!"

Kripa and Riddhima held each other's hands and anxiously stood behind Armaan.


"Prithvi…kahan gayi yeh dono?" Armaan asked.

"Blood bank ki taraf gayi hain."

"Wahan jaa kar kya hoga? They don't have enough blood….mera dost….Oh God!" Armaan sat down, almost on the verge of tears again. Prithvi sat next to him, "he will be fine Armaan….Angad is a strong man….sab theek ho jaayega." Prithvi felt sorry for Angad but somewhere inside there was a flicker of hope- agar blood nahin mila tho shayad Angad yeh surgery survive hi na kar sake….tho phir kya Kripa aur mere beech ka raasta hamesha hamesha ke liye?" Prithvi tried to camouflage those wicked thoughts with a distressed expression and patted Armaan to comfort him.


"Yes may I help you?" a pleasant young lady in her early 20s greeted Riddhima and Kripa, "aap yahan nayi doctors hain…haina? Mera naam Sweety Mittal hai….main yahan nurse hoon….aaj shaam ko blood bank mein duty hai."

"Jee….mujhey blood donate karna hai," Kripa was still out of breath, least interested in the boisterous young nurse's duty hours.

"Aapko? Kisi family member ke liye? Kaun hai? Kya hua?" Nurse Mittal bombarded them with questions.

"Jee….wo naye intern hain,….Dr Angad Khanna…unka accident ho gaya hai….he is in surgery," Riddhima tried to explain politely.

"Oh….wo O negative waale? Haan hamare bank mein O negative ka sirf ek unit hai….lekin patient ko 2 unit chaahiye…haina?" the talkative but friendly nurse asked.

"Please aap jaldi se mera blood le lee jiye….I am also O negative," the urgency in Kripa's voice did not faze Nurse Mittal.

"Oh really? Aap kitni achchi dost hain….aaj kal warna kaun apne doston ke liye blood donate karta hai? Family members bhi bahut mushkil se karte hain,' the overzealous nurse went on and on.

"Sweety Mittal…please hurry…we don't have much time," Riddhima rolled her eyes.

"Haan haan…of course of course….let me check your blood type first….and also your hemoglobin," the nurse smiled.

"I KNOW I AM O NEGATIVE!" Kripa was panicking now.

"Protocols…protocols….hum protocol nahin thod sakte Dr Kripa," Nurse Mittal pricked Kripa's finger and patiently checked the results, "blood donate karne se pehle humien khud apne tests karne padhte hain."

Riddhima squeezed Kripa's shoulder, " be patient Kripa…the nurse is doing what she is supposed to do."

"How can I be patient Riddhima? Wahan…wahan….uski jaan khatre mein hain…aur..aur," Kripa bit her lip to hide her emotions.

Riddhima held Kripa's hand and reassured her, "10-15 minute mein kuch nahin hoga Kripa….you know they have one unit already……don't panic."

"AGAR YEH HAAL ARMAAN KA HOTA THO KYA TUM SHAANT BAITHI REHTI RIDDHIMA?" Kripa glared at Riddhima. Her question hit Riddhima at a sensitive spot; Kripa was right, if Armaan was in such a situation, she would not have the nerve to sit patiently and wait for the nurse to follow protocol…..she would do anything to save her love.

"Tum theek kehti ho Kripa…Armaan ke liye tho main apni jaan bhi de deti," Riddhima pursed her lips and shut her eyes.

"Tho phir mujhey kyun manaa kar rahi ho?" Kripa asked.

Riddhima was stunned at her friend's response. So her guess had been right – Kripa loved Angad as much as she loved Armaan- it was a pity that her friend had not confessed till Angad was in this critical state.

"I pray to God that Angad survives this accident," Riddhima smiled through her tears, 'he has the right to know how much he is loved."

Kripa hesitated and lowered her eyes, "Riddhima….don't…don't say anything to him…please."

Sister mittal overheard the friends and smiled at herself, "lagta hai yeh dono pyaar ka shikaar ho chuki hain."

The nurse came back and sat across from them, "yes you are O negative too but we can't take your blood."

"WHY NOT?" Kripa shot back.

"Aap anemic hain Dr Kripa…aapka hemoglobin sirf 10.5 hai….aur blood donation ke liye kum se kum 12 hona chaahiye," Sister Mittal answered.

"Sister…yahan ek aadmi ki jaan jaa sakti hai…..aur aap mere 1.5 points ke liye mujhse blood nahin lengi?" Kripa asked.

The sister smiled and leaned over. "Ek tareeka hai,' she whispered, 'Dr Riddhima….aap inko medical clearance de do….paper par sign kar do…main kisi ko nahin bataaoongi….aakhir yeh ishq ka maamla hai."

Kripa turned red at the word –ishq

"Wo…wo…aisi koi baat nahin hai sister," Kripa fumbled, "he is just a friend."

"Koi baat nahin….sab shuru shuru mein aisa hi kehte hain…aao ab jaldi yahan lait jao…..let me take your blood warna aap kahengi ki sister Mittal bahut bak bak karti hai."

"Thanks Sweety!" Kripa hugged the nurse and lay on the bed obediently.

Riddhima squeezed Kripa's hand as the nurse inserted the needle into Kripa's arm, "aaj se hi vitamins aur iron lena shuru kar dena madam…mera sign tho le liya hai…ab mere order bhi lene padhenge…OK?"

"Jee doctor sahiba," Kripa chuckled a little and shut her eyes as her rare blood type filled the bag. It was rare indeed- aaj pehli baar koi apni zindagi ko bachaane ke liye apna hi khoon daan kar raha hai…..she smiled and thought to herself.

'Tho dil ki baat aaj zubaan par aa hi gayi," Riddhima whispered into Kripa's ear.

"Chup Riddhima….kisi se kuch kehna nahin," Kripa whispered back, "bas bhagwan se prarthna hai ki Angad bilkul theek ho jaaye."

"Aapka pyaar uske saath hai tho usey kuch nahin hoga Dr Kripa," nurse Sweety smiled after eavesdropping on their conversation.


Armaan, Prithvi, Kripa and riddhima waited anxiously. The frown on Prithvi'a face could be easily mistaken for a concerned friend, but deep down he was upset that Kripa had donated her precious blood to save Angad's life. Kripa had bitten her finger nails down to the nail bed from worrying. Silently, she had recited the Hanuman chalisa in her mind 100s of times- her mother had always told her that at moments of distress; it was only prayer and God who could help them. No medicine or surgery could match the power of prayer.

Armaan sat with his fists folded, elbows resting on his knee. Riddhima touched the blood soaked gauze on Armaan's arm, 'Armaan…tumhein bhi chhot lagi hai?"

"This is nothing Riddhima," Armaan got up and shrugged her worries. Riddhima had never seen him so serious about anything in life. In a way she was happy to see this aspect of his personality- if he cared about someone, then he really cared for them from the bottom of his heart. Her heart melted as she appreciated the special bond between the two friends. Who would think that the prankster Armaan could forget his own pain when his beloved friend was fighting for his life in the OR?

"ANGAD IS OUT OF DANGER!" Those were the sweetest words out of Dr Gupta's mouth all evening, thought Armaan as the door from the OR opened to let the senior doctor out.

"How is he doing now?" Armaan smiled tearfully.

Kripa folded her hands and thanked God for listening to her prayers, "thank you sir….can we see him?"

"Abhi nahin….they are just closing him up…he had torn the left lobe of his liver…he had bled a lot…..he is lucky he survived…..it was a close call," Dr Gupta heaved a sigh.

Tears welled up in Kripa's eyes as the very thought of the alternate outcome sent a shiver down her spine.

"We are the lucky ones sir," Armaan replied.

"Well of course…Angad is a good intern…we could not afford to lose him…..hamari reputation ka bhi tho sawaal ho jaata…..log kehte apne intern ko hi nahin bachaa paaye," Dr Gupta nodded.

"Yes…and a good person….and great friend sir," Armaan felt offended that Dr Gupta valued Angad's life more as an intern of the SMI rather than a human being.

Kripa was stunned at Dr Gupta's comment too. She glanced at Riddhima for an explanation but Riddhima lowered her eyes out of respect for her father.

"Well….we should inform his family….any one has their number?" Dr Gupta asked.

"Sir….Angad has no family," Armaan replied woefully.

Armaan's words hit Kripa like a boulder.

"No family? I remember uski application mein tho kisi ka naam tha," Dr Gupta pondered.

"Jee Angad is an orphan…he just has a distant aunt…..but she is really distant….you know what I mean sir," Armaan lowered his eyes.

Armaan's words rang in Kripa's ears repeatedly…..Angad has no family…..he is an orphan…..Angad has no family…..he is an orphan……

The halls of the hospital swirled around her head in circles; she felt dizzy and light headed. She remembered Angad's words outside the library…..I am used to it…..zindagi ki kai raatein aasmaan ke neeche, badal aur baarish ke beech mein guzaari hain…..this is nothing…….awaara…mawaali…gunda hoon na…..hum jaise logon ko hamesha ghar naseeb nahin hota…..

She felt like hiding herself from the rest of the world….hiding herself from him…..she had been so inconsiderate and heartless with him…..so presumptuous about his character……so hateful to him …..

Kripa ran away from the hallway and locked herself in the bathroom.

"KRIPA! KRIPA!" Riddhima followed her and banged at the door, "what happened?"

Kripa let her friend in, "I am sorry Riddhima….i should have controlled myself," she wiped her tears with her dupatta.

"What happened?"

"Main bahut buri hoon Riddhima…..kabhie usey samajhne ki koshish hi nahin ki…hamesha……..hamesha usey sunaati rahi…..hamesha usey bhala bura kehti rahi…..he is so alone in this world…..i was so heartless…..I am so ashamed of myself…….I feel so guilty…..I have hurt him so many times…....." Kripa bawled in her friend's arms……Riddhima comforted her friend and wiped her tears.

"None of us knew the truth…Armaan ne bhi kabhie kuch nahin kaha," Riddhima patted Kripa's back, "chalo let's go…..ab wo akela nahin hai Kripa….hum sab hain uske saath….aur sab se badhi cheez……tumhara pyaar hai uske saath," Riddhima smiled and walked out with her friend….

Remember these lyrics from KYPH…..

bin jaane shayad kiya faisla humne,
aise nahi tum….. tumhe jo kaha humne,
shayad ye tasveer teri,
dekhi hai humne adhoori,
hone laga yakeen tujhpe,
bandhne lagi ek aas hai,
kaisa ye pyaar hai............

….to be contd………


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