A patient and her baby were missing first. Then the boy who had allegedly performed a caesarean section on the mother went missing too. Behind this string of mysteries is the ruthless ambition of a doctor couple to get their 15-year-old son into the Guinness world records. According to a screening at a local Indian Medical Association meeting, K. Murugesan, a surgeon and the owner of a nursing home, allowed his son, Dileepan Raju, just past Class X, to conduct a caesarean section on a woman supposed to be their relative. Ruthlessness could have been put to better uses than a bid for a place in the Guinness list. The two doctors — Dileepan’s mother is a gynaecologist — apparently did not hesitate to abandon all principles of ethics and of civilization for this goal. Even when the members of the IMA admonished Mr Murugesan, he remained determined to carry his tale of glory to the media and to the Guinness records. It was only after the administration undertook a formal inquiry into the incident did his story begin to change.
The corruption of Mr Murugesan and his wife has a time-specific dimension. This is the era of unquenchable parental ambition, the kind that can drive young lives to the brink and over at the drop of a half-point in examination scores. The two doctors decided to play the one-upmanship — or upchildship — game in a different way. Grabbing attention with a place in Guinness seemed ideal in this age of top-of-the-pops lists. It is also an age where the overweening ambition of parents meets the overwhelming presence of the media. Mr Murugesan was confident that the media would condone and celebrate his son’s “success”. It is a staggering failure of good sense, professional propriety and simple human decency. But the two doctors also represent, although in ludicrous proportions, a secret dream of many parents. Such dreams foster very sinister corollaries. The patient on whom the operation was performed, and her baby, seem to have vanished.