4 Victoria Terrace (Memoirs of a Surgeon)

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Item Code: NAG475
Author: Subir K. Chatterjee
Publisher: Social Science Press
Language: English
Edition: 2012
ISBN: 9788187358633
Pages: 288 (23 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 470 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description

About the Book


4 Victoria Terrace: Memoirs of a Surgeon covers tumultuous times in recent history, beginning from the later years of British Rule till the present day. Rarely does one come across a doctor's account of what it meant to experience and handle human tragedies of the magnitude of the Bengal Famine or the Partition of India.


Apart from being a doctor's travelogue- there is hardly any major city in the world that Dr Chatterjee has not visited this book also unfolds an extremely perceptive description of one of our most important social institutions: medical colleges and hospitals. We get an inside view of the medical profession itself, one of the most politicized at every level, but not without enduring friendships and knowledge sharing.


These pages contain some tragic stories of dedicated brilliant doctors, who become the victims of their own profession. There are also accounts of almost miraculous surgery that saves patients, all but dead, and often just a few hours old.


The book ends with a reflection on the ethical dilemmas inherent in the medical profession in general and pediatric surgery in particular.



About the Author


Professor Subir K. Chatterjee is a major figure in world pediatric surgery and has pioneered the speciality in the eastern region of the country, especially, in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata) and continues at 85 years to dedicate his life to treating patients and teaching surgery to his students. Some of his students have become leaders in their fields. Professor Chatterjee has authored numerous learned papers in national and international journals and is also the author of Anorectal Malformations (Oxford and Delhi, 2006).




At the request of several close relatives and friends, I have put together the events of the last 80 years of my life spent mostly in a single city, Calcutta, now Kolkata. I have retained the earlier name of the city, 'Calcutta', in this book. I lived the first 5 years of my conscious existence in a small house on one of its best known thoroughfares, namely Park Street. My father started a nursing home in this building and named it Park Nursing Home. Five years later we moved to a new location, 4 Victoria Terrace, but the original name Park Nursing Home was retained. For the first 11 years, our home had the same address as Park Nursing Home. Then our home was relocated and all of 4 Victoria Terrace became Park Nursing Home and remained so until the Nursing Home closed down in 2002. By this time the name of the street had changed from Victoria to Gorky and we developed a new hospital complex on the same premises. It was called Park Clinic; it began in 1997 and though it was structurally complete in 2007 it is still in the process of evolution.


I had hoped that by 2010 all the problems concerning Park Clinic would be sorted out but they have not. Park Clinic is poised to get a certificate of completion from the Kolkata Municipal Corporation but we have not got it yet. The bank loan taken by the promoters, namely the family is being repaid regularly but still a sizeable amount remains. On the other hand vast sums of money due to the Clinic remain unrealized due to Third Party Assurance or TPA. The finances of the Clinic are predominantly being managed by the family, but the family's ability to sustain its control indefinitely is becoming uncertain. This is partly because the Clinic now has new specialties with which the family is unfamiliar. Even its flagship specialties are being threatened by the appearance of competitors on the horizon. With one grandchild after another opting out of medicine as a career, there is cause for concern.


Although our home moved out from 4 Victoria Terrace in 1949 this address continued to remain my workplace and the workplace of my parents. It also became the workplace of my wife, my sons and my daughters in law, but all of us have spent a great deal of our working lives elsewhere.


To start with, I went to St Xavier's Collegiate School and St Xavier's College between 1933 and 1943. I had a wonderful time in these two institutions and am still associated with them as a father and a grandfather, and also as a member of Alumnorum Societas, Alsoc for short, the School's ex students' association. It was most gratifying to have been the chief guest of the College's ex students' Association's annual function in 1997 and of Alsoc's annual function in 2006.


In 1943 I joined the Medical College, Bengal and stayed there till 1951. This also was a most enjoyable experience but the enjoyment was partially overshadowed by the turbulence that had overcome the city for the greater part of my time in the College. I have cherished my membership of its Ex Students' Association and the invitations to deliver in 1984 a prestigious oration, to receive in 2008 a lifetime achievement award, and to participate in 2011 in the centenary celebrations of the hospital where I learnt surgery.


Between 1951 and 1954, I was in the UK learning surgery and then came back to start work in Calcutta. Subsequently, between 1967 and 2005 I visited the UK several times, to learn, to teach and to socialize.

Between 1954 and 1985 I spent more time in the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College Calcutta than I did in the Park, striving to set up academic standards of surgery and to develop the specialty of pediatric surgery, hopefully with some measure of success. I am still invited to their programmes. I also took time off to help doing the same thing in some other organizations, notably the Ramakrishna Mission Sevapratisthan and its academic wing, the Vivekananda Institute of Medical Sciences; I continued to be a part of this institution till 2009.


The global family of pediatric surgeons is relatively small, and it is sustained by travel to each others' place of work and to meetings of different societies. I have combined business with pleasure and seen bits of all continents except South America. The USA was where I learnt pediatric surgery and where I stayed the longest. My travels within India have mostly centred round programmes of pediatric surgery, general surgery and pediatric medicine, interspersed with a few purely social outings.


My professional life in the Park began in 1954, seeing a few private patients and performing a few operations. I got involved in its administration from the early 1960s and from then on it has been an endless story of triumphs and frustrations; converting a small two storied rented house to a seven storied state of the art hospital complex, planned to reach professional and ethical excellence. In this I involved not only my immediate family, namely my mother, my wife and my sons and daughters in law but also a vast number of senior colleagues and students as well as numerous friends and well wishers. It has been an immense pleasure to see the institution grow and thrive even after 2006, the year I reached 80 and ceased to be involved full time in its affairs. For this I remain ever grateful to the Almighty.








Prologue: Two Memorable Days


My Homes



My School



My College: The Medical College, Bengal



Life in the United Kingdom



My Hospitals: The Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College



My Hospitals: The Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan



The United States and Europe: Travelogue and

Pediatric Surgery



Australia, Africa and Asia: Travelogue and Pediatric Surgery



Indian Travelogue



From Park Nursing Home to Park Clinic



Park Medical Research Society



The Ethical Dilemma of Pediatric Practice



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