Medicine Sans Subsitute - Dr. S.S Chhina
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dr. Harcharan Singh FRPC was Professor and Head of the Department of Medicine, Govt Medical College, Amritsar. He hailed from my native place Sargodha, now in Pakistan and had been a classmate of my Uncle. On that account I had easy access to him. I found that he awfully busy almost round the clock whether in hospital or at his residence he was surrounded by patients and non patients including VIPs. That was his way of modulating time between medicine and sociability and his casualisation could not be missed on his beaming face. It is firmly believed that. Shrimoni, Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) must expand their education sphere to include a state- of- the-art health care centre preferably at Amritsar itself. It would be know Exaggeration to say that when the SGPC finally decided to set up its Sri Guru Ram Dass Hospital, Dr. Harcharan Singh was the brain and the driving force behind the project and when the first private hospital emerged in Amritsar, he became its founder director. No wonder, he drew his patients not only from Amritsar but also from adjoining districts. I remember i was doing my M.A (Economics) those days and he would proudly address me ‘M.A Sahib’.
One day I went to his office, I saw two police constables outside his room. Being full to capacity while I was undecided on whether to stay and wait, Dr Singh gestured to me to sit on a stool in the corner. He was attending to a senior police officer’s wife. After examining her, he wrote the prescription but cautioned that the last medicine in the list of for was the most important because without that the others would not prove efficacious. When the lady enquired as to how long this medicine has to be taken, the doctor remarked that he would monitor the situation but is view of the malady, the last medicine will have to be taken for life and grunted that there would be no side effects.
The doctor became busy with other patients. The lady handed the prescription to a constable along with some cash, who rushed out to bring the medicines from the nearby shops. After a long while, the constable returned and said that all the medicines had been procured but the last in the list was not available at any outlet. He had tried everywhere. The lady was non. Plussed and requested to the doctor to prescribe some other medicine. The doctor while busy in examining some other patients, remarked that in the absence of the last medicine, the other three would be of no use. Saying this, he pushed the slip to me with the words, “M.A Sahib, could you please explain which medicine is not available in the entire city?’’ I was amazed at the situation but when I read the prescription, the prescribed medicine was ‘Meditation, morning and evening’. His words ‘Bibi Ji, this medicine has no substitute and it is not marketed, still ring in my ears.