Moment of Truth

Moment of Truth - Heart, Guts & Steel

(This is an excerpt from my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

The bleeding slowed down.

“It’s better now, Ramesh. But I can’t hold on for long. Let me know when he’s stable and I’ll clamp the artery.”

“Hold on a minute,” said the anaesthesiologist. “I’ll rush in some more blood.” A moment later, he reported. “Pulse is stronger. Pressure’s coming up slowly.”

And then, “Whenever you’re ready.”

I explained the situation to my assistants and scrub nurse. Told them what we were about to do.

“We’ve only got a few seconds. No time for mistakes. Okay, ready?”


A minute later, I had applied the clamp.

“Everything’s fine. Blood pressure is steady.” In that moment, Ramesh’s words were the sweetest sound on earth! We had the situation under control. We still had to fix the tear and finish the operation. But the worst was over.

The crisis had passed.

A team of trained professionals had come together, like a well-oiled machine, to work in perfect harmony to tackle an unexpected, unusual complication – and save a patient’s life. It’s not an unfamiliar sight in the operating room. Any surgery can bring unpleasant surprises and unforeseen twists to an otherwise routine operation.

What’s important is how a surgeon tackles it.

These are moments of truth where you come face to face with your darkest fears and insecurities, and stare them down – because only that will save your patient.

It’s in moments like these that a surgeon is made.

This is a story about such moments. Many of them. Moments that slowly, but surely, transformed me from a raw novice to a seasoned specialist.

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(This is an excerpt from my new book, “Heart, Guts & Steel: The Making of an Indian Surgeon“)

Heart, Guts & Steel - The Making of an Indian Surgeon

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