Book Summary - The Story of Two Doctors.

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

This is a summary of a story taken from the book 'How I taught my grandmother to read' where Sudha Murty has shared light-hearted yet impactful instances of her life.



Years ago in England lived a father-son duo who were doctors. At that time, whenever any patient needed to be operated on, he/she was made unconscious with chloroform first, to save him/her from the underlying pain, and then the operation began.


Now, this father had always thought and worked upon innovative methods to come up with better ways of treating people. Out of which was a medicine that he developed. His idea was that the medicine he created had to be injected only on that part of the body that will be operated on instead of making the patient entirely unconscious. (This medicine is known as local anesthesia today).


There were tumultuous efforts behind his creation, but the real challenge was to convince people about his work. And here he needed some help. For this medicine to be officially released in the market, he had to prove the effectiveness of the medicine on a human being.



The son had seen his father working dedicatedly on this medicine. He had faith in his father's work. So he decided to help him. The son had six fingers on his left hand. He suggested his father inject the medicine on his sixth finger and help him get rid of it.


The father took this as an opportunity and summoned the members of the Academy of Medical Science. Several scientists, doctors, and other public figures assembled to watch the effect of this miracle injection. The father exhibited his son's sixth finger to the people present and then injected the medicine. He said that while he operates, everyone present there should observe the patient's face. There was a smile on his son's face and it was expected that the smile sustains during the entire operation as a consequence of no pain during the surgery. The surgery was completed, and the smile remained throughout. The operation turned successful. Everyone was amazed by this sight and congratulated the father for his incredible work.


But, when everyone left, the father embraced his son and started sobbing uncontrollably. He apologized to him for making him suffer so much during the operation.


The injection he used before the surgery had to be made of four chemicals. But in all the pressure of proving his work, the father forgot to add the fourth chemical and just made it with the remaining three chemicals. He realized this in the middle of the operation but could not reveal it in public. Also, he knew that without the fourth chemical, the injection was ineffective.



The son realized during the operation that there has to be something his father had forgotten. But he kept the smile on his face because he knew how hard his father had worked and he had faith that the injection will work. He controlled his pain, for the betterment of others.


Sudha Murty says that she is unsure about to what extent this story is true, but it is an example that portrays the sacrifices some people in the medical profession make for the welfare of people.


Written by Pooja Kakde.


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