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OP Kapoor
Ex. Hon. Physician, Jaslok Hospital and Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, Ex. Hon. Prof. of Medicine, Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital, Mumbai 400 008.

13th December 2001 was the day (and 11th September) when the terrorists shook two major democracies in the world. But I am writing this article to draw the attention of private practising physicians about the black December which we practitioners faced and which we would never like to be repeated.

Normally, winter is ushered in December and the practice slackens. But in December 2001, slackness was unprecedented. There were multiple reasons:-

1. The Ramadan month fell in winter season.

2. Diwali festival preceded and Christmas festival followed this period of Ramadan.

3. The whole world was already shaken up by the two political events which took place on 11th Sept. and 13th December, 2001 and there was generalised depression and fear.

The fact is that not only the Muslim patients but even the Hindu patients did not come. Similarly, the patients from the neighbouring states just did not show up. This is the mass psychology of the crowd. Therefore, the real reason is "idiopathic".

Immediately, after Eid and Christmas celebrations, the crowds which started attending the clinic were unbelievable. My very low morale and "volume" of speech which had gone down, suddenly reverted to "full" and I am once again more busy. But this time, with still more consideration for patients who want to be seen without appointments or who have come from out side Bombay or are serious or want to be accommodated. If a doctor in my position can be shaken up what will be the position of an average physician who witnesses such a season!!

Will this ever occur again? It is possible that next year with Ramadan falling in winter, the same scenario might be witnessed. But this remains to be seen because the actual cause of "slack season" is still unknown to the doctors.

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