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A Day in the Life of a Surgeon


Most of us grow up to hate hospitals, especially doctors for the injections that they give us and the bad tasting medicine they prescribe for the mildest of ailments. Little do we realize the great sacrifices most doctors/surgeons make to serve their patients, mostly at the cost of their own personal lives. It was only after spending a few days with Professor Iftikhar Jan, seeing how selflessly he works day in and day out that I gained a new found respect for doctors and the hospital staff in general for their noble deeds.


Professor Iftikhar Jan is one of the pioneers of pediatric surgery in Pakistan, a graduate of Khyber Medical College, Professor Jan decided to become a paediatric surgeon while in college, at that time there was hardly any concept of paediatric surgery in Pakistan, but now there are over 150 pediatric surgeons across the country.


Professor Jan was in the first batch of Pakistanis who did their fellowship in pediatric surgery, he has also been awarded fellowships from America and the Royal College of England. He had the opportunity to stay back in England as a highly skilled migrant, but decided to come back and serve his country. According to professor Jan there is no greater satisfaction than working for his own people.


For Professor Jan a typical week begins with surgery day. Mondays and Fridays are surgery days, on an average he performs between 18-25 surgeries per day from eight in the morning to one or two in the afternoon, taking only five minute tea breaks in the middle.


On an average Professor Jan performs 7000 surgeries in a year, this number was 12, 000 when he was in Karachi whereas, when he was in Japan they did only 400 procedures in a year. The sheer number of patients that come to them is staggering, owing to the lack of paediatric setups in rural areas, most of the patients are left with no choice but to come to the cities.


After performing surgeries, he takes a round of the wards to see how different patients are doing after surgery and also decides which patients are next in line for operation.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Out Patient Days (OPD), after making rounds of the wards when Professor Jan enters the OPD, throngs of people line up to greet him and try to get him to see them first. These are probably the most hectic days because patients keep pouring in till late in the afternoon, non-stop!


Tuesday and Saturday mornings are reserved for teaching sessions for trainee surgeons. Paediatrics is not a singular field, but an amalgamation of many fields, so anyone practicing it needs to be up to date with all the latest developments going on in this field. The trainee’s are thoroughly questioned on various topics in these sessions and tested on occasion as well.   


He goes to clinic everyday after five and is there till seven or eight, depending on the number of patients and their aliments.   


For Professor Jan spending time with his family is a luxury; even at home his laptop is besides him. After returning from clinic, he relaxes in the lounge with his children. Being an ardent sportsman himself, he enjoys watching various sports with his son. Dinner is one meal he makes sure to have with his family, his wife is an excellent cook and the whole family relishes her scrumptious delights. He retires to bed early and we are not at all surprised by this! Thus comes to end another day in Professor Iftikhar Jans life.

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