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Book Review – And So Can You

And So Can You.


People pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness they still remain in his debt. ~Seneca

When you go to your doctor for a consultation and hand over your medical file to her/him, don’t you feel relieved? I do! I am of the opinion that whatever ails me will be diagnosed and then treated by the kind, capable and efficient doctor.  Doctors need to keep this in mind while treating their patients. I am speaking from my experience of frequent hospital visits for my thyroid condition since the early 2000’s. I have met my fair share of doctors in these 15 odd years and the majority of them have been as wonderful as I imagined them to be. There were a few exceptions but I gave them the benefit of doubt. Maybe they had a rough day at home or some other personal crisis was making them deviate from the norm. We are all human and nobody is perfect, right?

And So Can You by Dr. Roopleen is a collection of stories by 17 successful doctors.  It says on the cover – A book every doctor and medical student must read. I think it is one book every student should read. The core message of this book is with hard work and determination you can achieve anything you want. Don’t let the negativity of the people and circumstances around you affect your positive mindset. Decide what you want to accomplish in life and work towards it diligently. There are no shortcuts to success and the road is not always an easy one but if you are true to your passion and don’t go astray along the way, you will reach your destination. The success stories in here are proof enough.

This book gives a glimpse of the doctor’s journey of life and how he or she has reached at this point. Dr Roopleen writes in the preface about her motivation for writing this book, to let the general public and see the other side of doctors and how they do their job with clinical precision and resilience their motivation and determination to work hard. 

The writing style is simple and the real life stories are narrated without embellishments. I like the fact that each story begins with a quote and ends with takeaways which will prove beneficial to the young readers navigate the journey of life and reach their goals.

‘The most important traits in the medical profession are compassion and a genuine interest in patient welfare. Dedication and sincerity are quintessential. You need to feel for your patients and keep their interest in mind at all times. Medicine is not a money making business. – Dr. Virender

I think I know what it means when he says that ‘All your hard work is worth the pain when you see the happy faces of the patients’ relatives who wait outside the OTs with bated breath and whose eyes urge you to somehow bring their dear one back from the jaws of death.’ I remember when my father had to undergo a bypass operation at Bombay Hospital in Mumbai in the year 2000. I had flown down from Kochi, to be with my family. I was waiting outside the operation theatre with my siblings and my mother, scared and afraid of the outcome. When the doctor walked out after the operation and told us that it was a success and my father was alright, we were so relieved. We thanked him profusely. We thanked God and the surgeon who had performed the operation on Dad. I’m sure the doctor must have felt the positive vibrations and vibes we sent him and our reaction strengthened his resolve to help and serve his patients with renewed zeal and passion.

It is interesting to see that almost all the doctors who have shared their stories in this book have mentioned hobbies which helped them unwind and rejuvenate. Music tops the chart along with sports, writing painting and various others interests. All of them stress on discipline, hard work, positive attitude, and updating your knowledge. Team effort and having clear goals help in being successful. Family support is the backbone of every successful person in any field. They all talk about doing what you feel is right without worrying about what others think, overcoming obstacles and disasters. No two people are alike and comparing yourself with others isn’t right. I liked the part where they say knowledge is for sharing.

Dr. Praveen Murthy has summed it up so beautifully, ‘You never know when your time will run out. Take each day as it comes and appreciate what you have, rather than agonizing on what you don’t have or what was not meant to be.’

Another thing interesting thing I liked was the point Dr. Mahipal made about sharing his skill and knowledge with others in the field, ‘If you monopolize, you cannot popularize.’ –  Dr Mahipal S Sachdev.

There are ups and downs in life and most of us go through some experience which makes us question life. There were some tragic incidents in the lives of some of the doctors but they came out of it stronger, determined to get past that tragedy and carry on their noble profession, being of service to humanity.

Women have it tough everywhere and this profession is no exception. Dr. Vijaya has shared a conversation where she was told not to take up Opthalmology as she would be wasting a seat. It is interesting to read about doctors’ wives, (who are qualified doctors themselves) for being understanding and making compromises in their careers to help further their husbands’ career and family life. A wife chose willingly to give up her MS seat and opted for a Diploma, just to be in the same city as her husband. Hoping for a day when lady doctors will proudly praise their doctor spouses for sacrificing their ambitions for their wives careers and a balanced family life. Women have to strike a perfect balance between home and work. Things are changing but at a very slow pace.

Gender bias has reared its ugly head in the esteemed medical department too as mentioned by another doctor in the book, where a woman president of AIOS was denied the privilege to be installed officially. Another incident she talks about is about the appreciation mementos given to doctors at retirement. The men had their names written on theirs and the woman’s momento (her’s) was without a name.

Finally, we come to my most favorite part of the book. I loved reading about Dr. Dhanashree Ratra and the emotional bond she shares with her father. He wrote to her every day for eight and a half years while she was studying medicine. He did this to keep her from feeling homesick and to keep her in good spirits. Hats off to him, with fathers like him how can the daughters not excel in life…

God and the Doctor we alike adore
But only when in danger, not before;
The danger o’er, both are alike requited,
God is forgotten, and the Doctor slighted.
~Robert Owen

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

(I received this book from Blogadda under their Blogadda Book Reviews initiative. I have shared my thoughts about the collection of real life stories by doctors in this book.)

By Sulekha Rawat


15 thoughts on “Book Review – And So Can You

  1. Its not easy leading a doctors life, and according to me the journey begins from the day you get started preparing to join a medical college. IN this tough journey, there sure would be interesting tales , What seems to stand out in the book is showcasing another side(hobbies) of doctors, which we seldom come to know. Also , with regards to the gender aspect, its saddening that women are discouraged from certain streams, to make way for male doctors.

    1. Ramya, almost all the doctors have mentioned hobbies which keep them feeling good. I wanted to study medicine but I faint at the sight of needles and blood 🙂 Women have to work doubly hard to prove themselves in every field, hope the mindset of people changes soon.

  2. Loved how you mixed the review with your personal story… True this is a profession that can be compared to God.
    The stories sound very emotional and I am sure must have warmed the hearts of many readers. Your writing, as always, is absolutely beautiful.

    1. Loved the blog.. granny is so likeable.. it seems events are folding right in front of your eyes.. Adorable grandma and heartwarming episodes


  3. This sounds like the perfect book for students of medicine as well as for every other person. Doctors lead very difficult lives, hectic schedules and the pressure of helping their patients while ignoring their families and their own health.

    Seems like a really good, motivating book for all to read.
    Loved your detailed review, Sulu! <3

    1. Thanks, Shilpa. This profession is very demanding and the doctors cannot afford to make any mistakes, it’s a lot of pressure. The stories shared in this book are real life success stories which will be helpful in motivating young minds.Thank you for the lovely comment.

  4. I have been having a more than ususal run with doctors these days and while I hate the hospital admin staff, the doctors are amazingly good! Its only because of them, I have been going back to this particular hospital. This books sounds like something I must pick up to read – thanks for such an indepth review Sulekha!

  5. Some books just have the indelible impact on you, don’t they?For you, I know the bit about the dad writing letters to the daughter must have touched a special chord, given your own bond with your father.

    The book seems interesting. Thanks for such a detailed review, Sulekha 🙂

  6. Doctors come very close to God, yes! Listening to their stories sure would be an inspiration. Also, it saddens me to hear about gender bias in the medical profession too.

    I liked the way you have reviewed the book talking about your personal experiences too. Personally, I used to feel really uncomfortable about visiting hospitals. There was a certain melancholy associated with it. But when my mom was admitted for a brain surgery last year for close to a month, I learnt that hospitals can be a place of hope too. And the doctors then automatically become God.

    1. Soumya, hope your mother is feeling fine now. I know what you mean about hospitals being scary. I have seen my mother go through two traumatic episodes and both the times she had to be admitted in the ICU for nearly a week. Sitting outside the ICU and praying for her recovery and waiting for the doctor to come and give us updates was an agonizing experience.I am indebted to the neurosurgeon who treated her.

  7. Hi ! Impressive content. People are still not sure what particular steps to take. Now, I think your initiative is well understood to target those to learn the basics. Thanks sharing.

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