Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

What is the point?

Aariya Srinivasan
Chennai, India


People in scrubs, masks, hairnets, and gloves operating on a patient. The author is wearing glasses and is bent over the patient.
The author (right) performing a procedure.

I am yet another young doctor struggling to find a place and purpose in this world. When I was in medical school, all I could ever think about was how to get through the next exam. Most of us do. We sit for days and nights together, prepare for fifteen hours a day, eat anything and everything that is available and completely forget how to socialize and communicate. As I have seen, some of you may think, what’s the point? Is all this struggle worth it? Even I had this question at one point.

But during the last two months of my internship, when I was in my general surgery rotation, a female patient in her fifties came in with a right foot diabetic ulcer larger than you could ever imagine and in great pain. We tried to do everything to save her leg, but a below-knee amputation was inevitable. A delayed primary closure of amputation stump was planned because of risk of infection. I did dressing twice every day for almost a month while she was in the hospital. On the last day of my rotation, I was bidding my professors and patients farewell when this patient’s husband came up to me to talk.

“Thank you so much for all that you did,” he said. “I have been noticing you doing dressing for my wife twice every day tirelessly, and you took very good care of her. I wish you to become very successful.”

I was awestruck. I said thank you.

It could be a small thing, even routine, in every doctor’s life. But aren’t these small things what makes this job worthwhile, despite all the difficulties? If not for this, then what for?

After this, whenever I feel overwhelmed or tired of everything, especially as I prepare for my medical licensing examinations, I remind myself of this incident. I am sure all of you will have some incident to make this all worth it. Hold on to it, because that’s the point!

Now I am getting back to my preparation for my exam, feeling overwhelmed and tired again, yet reminding myself it is all worthwhile!



AARIYA SRINIVASAN, MBBS, is a resident medical officer in India aspiring to become an internist in the US. Her passion for research has driven her to publish three articles in various journals.


Winter 2023 |  Sections  |  Education

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