‘Patient’s faith in doctors has faded’

His love for the profession is Dr Utture’s daily motivation. He is an elected member of Maharashtra Medical Council. After the incidents of assaults on doctors have occurred, he feels society has lost respect for doctors

The ambiance of Shivaji Park was overwhelmingly enthusiastic at 9am. The rain had finally taken a break after pouring overnight and the sun had made its way out of the clouds. Visitors at Shivaji Park were busy with their physical exercises. Dr Shivkumar Utture joined his friends for a walk in the park. He had just returned from Shushrusha Hospital after checking patients who were operated on the day before. Now 60 years old, Dr Utture is a well-known surgeon and professor and he has been following this routine since the last 20 years.

“In a week I alternate between going to go to gym and walk for 6 km. It gives me energy which lasts till the end of the day,” he said.

After completing the walk, he goes home to get freshen up and to have breakfast. At 11 am, he stepped out of his home to check on other patients. He also had a surgery scheduled in his clinic. “Now I restrict myself to one or two surgeries. Earlier, I used to travel till Alibag to perform surgeries, but now gradually I have reduced it. Laws and social conditions have become very difficult for doctors. The incidents of assaults on doctors have increased,” he added.

Dr Shivkumar Utture busy at doing what he does best, being a doctor

At 12 pm, in Shushrusha clinic, a middle-aged woman was ready to be discharged. “Good morning. How are you? Ready to go home?” Dr Utture greeted her. She smilingly nodded. He later explained why it is necessary for doctors to have friendly approach towards patients. “In any other profession does it happen that an absolute stranger puts his/her life in your hand? If I am about to operate a patient, then he or she should trust me and feel comfortable with me. So communication is the best way to assure them,” he said.

Dr Shivkumar Utture

At 2 pm, he had a surgery scheduled at his nursing home. He reaches an hour early. He utilised this time to read medical journals. He explained the necessity of being updated. “In this profession, it is important to be updated. After years of experience, I learned laparoscopy technique. I always tell doctors to create an expertise in a field. Also, doctors should undertake the western pattern of group practice. It is beneficial for both patients and doctors,” he said.

After the surgery, his wife, Dr Prarthana Utture who is a Gynaecologist and Dr Nutan Irani joined him in his cabin. The nostalgia of their residency period eventually entered into their discussion and he shared an anecdote when he was a resident doctor at Sion Hospital. “The hospital used to get lot of accident cases. Once there was a major accident in which more than 20 people were severely injured. It was Saturday afternoon when we received patients in operation theatre (OT). I left OT on Monday afternoon. We had operated 20 patients in those 48 hours. After coming back to hostel, I took bath and went for rounds in wards. This explains my stamina. We are conditioned to work like this,” he said.

At 4 pm, Dr Sudhir Patil, Mumbai President of Indian Medical Association, had reached to pick Dr Utture for IMA office located near Mahalaxmi station. Dr Utture visits IMA office every day in afternoon. He is the finance secretary of IMA, Maharashtra state and elected member of Maharashtra medical council

Some members were already waiting for him in the office to discuss the arrangements of a function to be held on next Sunday. Dr Utture had lunch with the members in the meeting. After which he checked the invitation draft and portfolios of the eminent doctors who were to be awarded in the function. He then suggested necessary changes to the staff members.

It was 6.30 pm and the time of evening OPD was over. He left the IMA office with Dr Patil and other members. He runs an OPD at his nursing home from 7 to 10 pm, and sometimes till 10.30 pm. “A person who loves this profession from core of his heart can only follow this lifestyle. You have to love what you do and that’s the inspiration to work in adverse situation. Unfortunately society has lost respect for doctors,” he sighed on his way back.

Dr Shivkumar Utture’s daily schedule

8:00am – Rounds to check patients

9:00 am to 10:00 am – Exercise/ walk

10:00 am to 11:00am – Freshening up

11:00 am to 12.30 pm – Rounds to check patients

12.30 pm to 3:00 pm – Scheduled surgeries

3:00 pm to 6.30 pm – IMA work

7:00 pm to 10:00pm – OPD

11.30 pm – Bedtime