The Healers’ Journal : A Path of Compassion and Skill
June 5, 2023 | Contributed by Dr. Brijesh P Kottayil
The Journey of a pediatric cardiac surgeon providing a congenital heart disease treatment is often a collection of gratitude to the countless individuals who have guided and nurtured an individual to become a pediatric cardiac surgeon.
“I was glued to the operation theatre from the first day I entered the general surgery ward.” – DR Brijesh P Kottayil
It not only involves perseverance and hard work, but I do believe that it requires a guiding force from the almighty. In my instance, I was glued to the operation theatre the day I first entered the general surgery ward during our second year of undergraduation in Medicine.
The experience that an individual’s life is totally in the hands of a master surgeon. I was fearful at the same time instilled a sense of responsibility. Once the undergraduate training was over, there was no doubt in my mind in joining post-graduation in general surgery.
As one starts learning the tricks and trade of general surgery, the passion to excel and master the finer aspects of surgical techniques was greatly helped by my teachers, seniors, and colleagues.
In the second year of training in general surgery, I was exposed to various branches of general surgery and was also faced with a question of which branch to pursue as a specialization.
It was at that time when I had a one-month posting in cardiac surgery in a reputed hospital in Bangalore. The same fire which ignited me to pursue a career in surgery motivated me to pursue cardiac surgery.
When the beeping ECG monitor fell silent in theatre, I felt the same fear and sense of responsibility. After an hour when the same monitor started to beep, I felt thrilled and decided to pursue cardiac surgery.
My training in Cardiac surgery was rigorous and brutal as those who have been through it would recall. It not only laid a foundation in me but also taught all the values and responsibilities.
The remarkable aspect I would say during my training was my exposure to an unknown speciality – Congenital heart surgery. This helped in providing a congenital heart disease treatment to many children born with a defect. Here was a speciality that not only demands professionalism, intelligence, technical brilliance, and perseverance but also requires humility, devotion, positive attitude, and faith with self-belief.
The specialty was still in infancy at that time in India. This was a speciality that demands the three true virtues of a surgeon: proper pride, practical wisdom, and compassion. I prostrate my Guru who guided me to this pathway of true compassion and enjoy every minute of it.
Dr. Brijesh P Kottayi, Associate Professor at the Department of C.V.T.S, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Kochi.