Long before SMS (Short Messaging Service) became a household word, SMS was in usage as the popular acronym for Sawai Man Singh hospital in Jaipur – capital of the state of Rajasthan.
Sawai Man Singh hospital is the important and a reputed hospital. People from far and remote villages of Rajasthan visit this hospital daily in hundreds. It is a big referral hospital nursing to poor masses. What is AIIMS, Irwin Hospital (Lok Narain Jai Prakash) and Willington Hospital (Ram Manohar Lohia) to
, SMS is to Jaipur. Delhi
Dr. Vashishth, the Senior Medical officer, a middle rung medico on duty in the second shift was about to wind up. His wrist watch showed nine thirty p.m. It is difficult to say whether wintery nights in Rajasthan are more lonely or are more cold. Two p.m. to 10 p.m. is the second shift. He was anxiously waiting for his reliever. Suddenly, his flush door thrust opened. A young man in his late twenties appeared. He looked more disturbed than sick. Doctor was wondering he has done the only postmortem case of the day and autopsy report of that medico-legal case has long been drawn by him in quadruplicate. What does this young man want ? He was in no mood to overstay his shift: that meant not able to go home and a sleepless night in the squeaky spring metal bed in the Duty Room. Doctor asked him “yes’? The Youngman asked “ Dr. would you be in this shift tomorrow also”. Dr. “Why, yes!” The Youngman was exhausted and appeared pale, almost lifeless like. “Poor man” Doctor Thought. “Yes, I will be in second shift tomorrow. Why are you asking all this? What do you want? What is your problem? Go and show in OPD, or, if it is urgent, you have to show in casualty. It was not uncommon for patients or their attendants to stray and intrude into this autopsy ward. The Young
man said “Dr.! Tomorrow a case will be brought to you for postmortem. Please give truthful report... just report what is factual and not some wishy washy ‘doctored’ report. Doctor was surprised not sure whom he is talking to. These days all sorts of ‘intelligence’ and ‘vigilance’ people go around eliciting and trapping you for pittance. “Why on earth will I do that - give false and fabricated report? I won’t” But why do you ask who has died and where ... Are the papers complete? I mean clearance from local police, if it is accident.. You know what I mean” On hearing this, the Young man said “Dr. I assure you it is no hanky-panky but on your part please ensure you give objective report. The Young man went away. Dr. thought it is just one of those ultra sensitive relatives who feel disturbed at the death of their near and dear in hospital, often rushing to label it 'death due to negligence' or 'lack of proper medical attention'. Dr. dismissed him and he went away as swiftly as he came. Dr. was to rush back home. He did not give a second thought to this incident.
Next day, another monotonously busy day in the life of a Medical officer of autopsy ward. It was eight p.m., another two hours to go before Dr. Vashishth could go to the warmth of home and have his late supper. Suddenly, a stretcher was ushered in for autopsy. Postmortems are normally not conducted in night, so Dr. was not moved. However, paperwork at place, he just thought to see and record those external marks of any obvious injury fatal or otherwise. He removed cover from the corpse... and almost fainted. His temples were wet with the perspiration. It was the same young man who had visited the Dr. last night.
PS: As ascertained from the viscera, the undigested food gave probable time of death around seven thirty in the previous evening. Dr. Vashisth till this day wonders who had visited him at nine thirty p. m. previous night.