It had just stopped raining and the traces of showers were still visible in the corridors of the Ophthalmology Department at JJ Group of Hospitals. At 7:30 am, Dr Tatyarao Lahane’s departmental help were busy tidying up his cabin and were making his guests comfortable in the lounge. In the adjacent corridor, relatives of hospitalised patients were waiting for a consultation. It was a day of surgeries for him. A group of 120 elderly had arrived a day before for cataract surgeries. He had 53 surgeries on the list. Around 8 am, the clinic started to fill in with patients.
Dressed in a neat white shirt and black trousers, Dr Lahane, Dean of Grant Medical College and Sir JJ Group of Hospitals and eye surgeon who holds a world record, entered the department at 8:05 am sharp. He was surrounded by a group of relatives, who were seeking his advice on reimbursement issues and financial help. Starting work early is a routine for him. “Every day, I wake up at 5:30 am and go to gym. Then, I leave for work at 7:30am. It begins with a round to check cleanliness in wards,” he informed.
Around 8:30 am, he finished conversing with the relatives and entered his cabin to greet surgical device innovators who are his close friends. They introduced a new device to him. He heard the utility, technique and specifications of the device and gave few suggestions to improve the device and he then took their leave.
At 9 am, he went on to check one of his patients, a Marathi television actress. He greeted her and checked her eyes. He instructed one of his assistant doctors to do a few more tests on her and headed towards the general ward for his routine check-up round. He has a wide range of patients from various social backgrounds. “Today, I am going to operate on a beggar. My goal is to solve the patients’ problems. Being a doctor, my approach is to cure their vision,” he said while climbing the stairs heading towards the general ward for women.
The ward was largely filled with elderly women who had come to undergo cataract surgery. He began inspecting them one by one. Within 15 minutes, he finished that round and headed towards the ward for men. After finishing the rounds he instructed resident doctors and nurses to have breakfast and then be ready in the operation theatre.
He entered his cabin and greeted Dr Ragini Parekh, a professor and surgeon. After a casual conversation, he headed towards one of the oldest canteens in the campus for breakfast with his friends. “It’s his favourite place. We have come here after almost four months,” Dr Ragini said.
Chatting with his friends, he offered career advice to his friend’s daughter who topped in NEET and didn’t want to pursue a career in the medical field. Once everyone was done, he himself started to clear the plates on the table. Cooking and serving food are his hobbies, a delight which his family and close friends get to experience.
Around 10.30 am, he along with his team entered the OT. Four patients were already lying down on the stretchers ready to be operated upon. He and Dr Ragini started performing surgeries simultaneously. He finished a surgery using Phaco technique in 10-15 minutes and immediately started to operate another patient. While operating, he gave instructions to his staff and was explained to his students about the type of cataract and how it should be operated.
After doing 22 surgeries each, Dr Ragini asked him to take a lunch break. Twenty two years ago both his kidneys had failed and his mother donated a kidney to save him. It is important for him to follow a diet regime.
At 6:30 pm, he and Dr Ragini finished operating on their last patient. He immediately changed his clothes and headed towards his office. On being asked whether he prefers clinical or administrative work, he relied saying, “Clinical of course, but an efficient institution needs a skilled administrator.”
In his cabin on the third floor, the administrative staff had already gathered to meet him with administrative issues. He heard them, asked for more information and gave them instructions while signing the papers. He took a keen interest in every request and complaints made.
At 8 pm, he headed to hospital’s administrative office where piles of files needed his signature. While talking to hospital’s administrative staff, he signed on each file.
After completing the official work, he got up to take the last round of the wards. He also took a round of ICU, CCU and nursing unit. While going from one ward to another, he asked securities and RMOs about emergency cases and number of patients admitted in the day.
At 9:30 p.m. he was standing near gate number 9 of the campus. There was still no trace of tiredness or boredom on his face in and his body language. “I don’t understand why people need to do meditation. My work is my meditation. I can’t go on long vacations and can’t take a day off. Work gives me energy,” Dr Lahane said. At this point, his official duties were over but the day hadn’t ended.
Dr Tatyarao Lahane’s daily schedule
5:30 am- Wakes up
6:00 am to 7:00 am- Exercise/ walk
7.30 am – Round through wards
8:00 am to 3:00 – Surgeries/ OPD
3:00 pm to 3.30- Lunch
3.30 pm to 9:00 pm – Administrative work
9:00 pm to 10:00 pm- Round through wards and campus
11.30pm – Bedtime