Thanks for providing an opportunity to reminisce!
I remember going to one of the ward rounds at 10-30 AM in RS's unit (R. Saratchandra). I, like others, did not usually miss RS ward rounds during surgery rotation. This one as usual was crowded. Being relatively taller I was on the periphery. The patient was on the table in the center of the crowd with swollen lymph nodes of the neck. The discussion eventually gravitated towards lymphoma. RS took off on Burkitt's lymphoma. "Uganda" was followed by "Denis Burkitt." He then stated that recently a virus has been implicated. I am assuming he was aware at that time EBV was involved (Nature, 1978). He then asked how that virus was spread. He appeared amused when he asked this question probably because as you all know infectious mono can spread by kissing and therefore termed “kissing disease.” But then he always appeared amused so who knew what he was thinking. He did prompt us by asking if a vector was involved, after all this was in the middle of Africa. There was a pause after this question. I still remember VT Anand who was standing to my right stretching his neck with his chin up say confidently and loudly,”not known, sir.” RS said his usual “yes, yes” turned his head slowly to the right with a toothy smile and then another “yes,yes” and slowly moved his head to the left, and then suddenly snapped back, looked directly at VT and said, “not known to you or generally not known.” Classic RS!
Another time talking about the dangers of using instruments immediately after removing them from the autoclave in the OR, he said,” when the nurse hands you the proctoscope from the autoclave it may feel nice and warm or comfortably warm on your gloved hand but when you insert that into the patient he may have a completely different opinion.”
Always “common sense” points. One always felt that he thought that we would learn about surgery anyway and therefore decided to teach us about a whole host of other things and open our minds. As Mark Anthony said on Brutus’ death,”His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, ‘this was a man’.”
Dr. Murali M.D.of MMC Batch 1976
Clinical Service Area
Pediatrics - Hematology and Oncology
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
American Board of Pediatrics, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Texas Children's Cancer Center and Hematology Service Texas Children's Clinical Care Center 6701 Fannin St., 14th Floor Houston, TX
Alumni Association of Madras Medical College