- Being a surgeon takes a lot of courage and determination because you have to fall in love with the process to enjoy this work.
- Keeping a tab on new technology and always looking forward to new improvement will help you to go a long way in surgery.
- Money should never be on your radar in this profession (it will take care of itself) rather well-being of patient should be of top priority.
- Patient’s mental state is always weak. Being doctor, it’s your prerogative to be aware of this fact at every point during treatment of your patient and take care to keep him/her strong throughout.
- Laparoscopic treatment, which faced a lot of criticism in 90’s, is now at the forefront. It had now become the magic process by which patient heal the fastest and surgery also is easy if mastered.
Name — Dr. Subas Biswal
Profession — Surgery Specialist, Headquarter Hospital, Bhadrak
Age — 62
Gender — Male
City — Bhadrak, Odisha
Industry — Healthcare (Government)
Where have you been born and raised?
I was born and brought up in a remote village of Bhadrak district, Odisha and finished my schooling in my native village.
I completed schooling from B.J.B. Junior college, Bhubaneswar. For M.B.B.S., I joined M.K.C.G. Medical College, Berhampur and then pursued P.G. from S.C.B. Medical College, Cuttack, which is one of the most reputable and distinguished colleges for the course.
What is your family background and who influenced you the most?
Both my paternal and maternal ancestors belonged to Zamindar lineage. My father was a Govt. servant in electricity board of Odisha. Transfers to different cities were frequent. My father being the only child of my grandparents, my grandmother took me to live with them because of this transferring life of my father. That’s how I ended being schooled in my native village.
Having spent my entire schooling life in the village, I had got a fair amount of idea about people, their living conditions, their sufferings, and their day-to-day penury. My village people were too poor to carry out their livelihood. These places were constantly affected by flood as it is right next to Baitarani River. People across our village were compelled to sell/mortgage their valuable household items during illness or any outbreak for medical treatment. They would have to sell their lands, ornament or basic things such as utensils to overcome desperate times.
Those pictures and scenarios were difficult to forget and move on. Hence, trying to bring any possible changes in the life of deplored people was one of the biggest motivation for pursuing the job.
Please give us a summary of your career.
After completion of my bachelor in surgery and medicine, I joined Govt. service at Khirkona village under Bhadrak district. Post my P.G., I joined District Headquarter hospital Bhadrak in 1995 and worked there till Feb 2018.
Which institutes are best for the education/training of this profession?
Well, it depends on the city/state you belong to. There are 3 medical colleges in my state, which are known for their academic excellence and exposure and they are S.C.B. Medical College (considered premier college around the country), M.K.C.G. College, Berhampur and VIMSAR College Burla. Odisha being considered a backward state, having these colleges of par-excellence serves as a blessing for preparing students. If we consider best colleges in the country, you may go to colleges like AIIMS, Lady Hardinge College, and RML College etc.
What are the costs associated with the education/training of this profession?
The cost associated with joining MBBS College is minimum in Government College. However, in private colleges, the cost of study ranges from 5–10 lakhs per annum. During P.G., you will get a stipend, hence the cost of education is negligible.
How can you get into your profession? What are the exams you have to give?
You can join MBBS by appearing All India Exams NEET conducted by CBSE. There are specials exams for AIIMS and JIPMER etc. A good rank in these exams will ensure your entry to the finest government college in India.
What is the range of remuneration one can expect when starting out in your line of career & industry?
5 yrs. experience – 4 to 6 Lakhs per annum
10 yrs. experience – 6 to 8 Lakhs per annum
15 yrs. experience – 10 to 15 Lakhs per annum
20+ yrs. experience – 15+ Lakhs per annum
However, the salary is basically a parameter of the service period, expertise and the location of practice (rural and metro have different earnings altogether).
What are the entry-level roles for newcomers in your industry?
After completion of MBBS, you can join any hospital as a general physician. Well, you can specialize in any stream such as medicine or surgery or go for higher studies such as M.S or M.D.
After your education, you will serve as an assistant.
Well, after P.G., there is a new trend catching up, where people are going for super-specialization in areas such as Neurology, Cardiology, Urology etc.
You can also join medical college to teach.
Please describe your work.
My normal day in hospital starts at 8 am sharp.
It starts by going on around for indoor patient (s) admitted the day before, giving them advice and arranging for their further treatment.
After a round of indoor patient (s), I generally see the outdoor patient (s) referred from general outdoor till 1 pm. After that, we have the lunch break, when I generally come back home.
Between 2pm-7pm, you will get calls from the hospital for cases related to your department. You may have to go to the hospital for urgent cases such as to refer the patient to Cuttack hospital for advanced treatment or to conduct the operation.
From 7 pm onwards, I go on the second round for indoor patient (s) for advice and further treatment process till around 9 pm.
Once a week, I have to do over-night duty. This requires, me to work from 10 pm to 5 am, or 12 am to 8 am depending on slot availability.
Then I have to be available all times for emergency patient (s) such as accidents, burns, stabs and many other situations.
What are some of the positives, which would encourage someone to consider this career/job?
The best part of this job is the satisfaction that I get after looking at happy faces of the patient (s) and their family members. Sometimes, it’s the father or son or the mother in a family who comes in ill. Regardless of who is sick in the family, the whole family comes to a standstill. But when you send them back all cured, the satisfaction is unparalleled and cannot be compared with any other luxury in life. Secondly, this job is nowhere close to boring. Every day is a challenge. You will be thrown different curve balls of different complex issues and cases every day. Well, I will let you in a secret; if you want your life to be eventful and challenging every day, then you can join the police or raw or medicine (laughs wittily).
What are some of the challenges you face every day in your profession?
It might sound cliché, “You have to put your patient and profession ahead of you always and every time”. That is 100% true. Well, being a doctor is a process and you have repeat things every day (laughs) and still be enthusiastic about it.
Secondly, many times, we are helpless. In our profession, it is a matter of minutes or those minute intricacies that determines life or death. Most of the people in my hospital come from rural areas, expecting to be cured 100 percent. They come at a stage when the condition has worsened, or it is difficult to treat as we have minimal medical equipment and medicines. In such situations, we feel very helpless.
In cases of death of a patient, relatives with overpowering emotions, become violent and attack the doctors and vandalize the hospital. Though police may rescue you, by that time damage would have been done. True to its nature, media blows things out of proportion also doesn’t help either.
You also have to deal with daily doses of work-overload due to the shortage of doctors in these part of the country.
What are the relevant trends/skills/technologies that are currently commanding a premium in your job profile?
Laparoscopic treatment, which faced a lot of criticism in 90’s, is now at the forefront. It had now become the magic process by which patient (s) heal the fastest and surgery also is easy if mastered.
Plastic surgery also has picked up pace and doctor are super specializing in this field in big metro cities.
What kind of person would be happy in your career?
Someone, who is happy to earn a little less and self-motivated. The job has the ability to drain and frustrate you sooner than the jobs in other sectors. Earning will never be an issue in later parts of the job. The one who is selflessly passionate about helping people will enjoy this profession to the core.
Given another choice, what would you do differently as far as your professional selections are concerned?
I was tied with the profession and become very busy in day to day job. I wanted to complete super specialization in Urology and tried once or twice but couldn’t be successful due to lack of preparation and busy schedule.
What would be your advice to students or professionals who are just starting their journey on a path similar to yours?
If we all work on assumptions that what is accepted as true is really true, there will be little hope of advancement. I would like to advise the junior doctors to always keep a focus on improving techniques and bringing advancements and patents. Focusing on academic properly will help you to go a long way in this direction. Though the first book on surgery was written by Susrutha, we Indians are always called skilled labor owing to very less contribution in the field of research and invention. The onus is on the younger generation to fill up this vacuum. If you understand the trick to connect with your patient, then this job will work as a charm.
Anwesh Biswal’s take on Dr. Subas Biswal.
Doctors are mostly considered next to god, but sometimes you find them indulging in ugly things like money, name, and fame while forgetting their professional duties.
I conducted a survey of Dr. Biswal’s personality from his patient (s), friends and family members in and around Bhadrak District. He has been a messiah for poor and been a polestar in his profession in his entire career. He was awarded Mahatma Gandhi peace prize in Odisha and number of other awards. Right from seeing the patient, conducting operations, and prescribing medicine, he doesn’t charge a single penny.
He goes on the extent of spending money from his salary for the needy and doesn’t charge anything from rich or poor. He doesn’t own a personal clinic but goes around different nursing home conducting the operation and providing treatment without charging anything. On being asked what keeps him going, he answered that being a doctor for so many years, he still fears the death of his patient (s) and consequences that befall his/her family after that. Having this fear, motivates him to give his best in any possible situation.
He works as a silent guardian of his district, away from the grills and attention of media. He has retired from his job but still attends hospital on request of his colleagues as a contractual doctor. Being a class one officer for so long and still putting his love for profession ahead of ego and joining on as a contractual doctor speaks volumes.
Money has never been on his radar, rather he cares for the well-being of people. These types of people should be on news — not for the purpose of media grandstanding but as an icon or representative of his profession for the younger generation to follow.
Contributing Writer — Anwesh Biswal