The Doctor’s Word Summary

The Doctor’s Word is a short story written by the Indian author R.K. Narayan. It tells the story of a doctor named Ramu and his patient, Gopal. Ramu is known for his honesty and his ability to accurately diagnose illnesses. However, when Gopal is diagnosed with a terminal illness, Ramu decides to lie to him and tell him that he will recover. Read More Inter 2nd Year English Summaries.

The Doctor’s Word Summary

About Author

R.K. Narayan image

Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami (10 October 1906-13 May 2001) was an Indian writer known for his work set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He was a leading author of early Indian literature in English along with Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao.

Narayan’s mentor and friend Graham Greene was instrumental in getting publishers for Narayan’s first four books including the semi-autobiographical trilogy of Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher. The fictional town of Malgudi was first introduced in Swami and Friends.

In a career that spanned over sixty years Narayan received many awards and honours including the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan, India’s second and third highest civilian awards, [2] and in 1994 the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, the highest honor of India’s national academy of letters.[3] He was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.

The Doctor’s Word, is a short story from the collection of “Malgudi Days” by R K Narayan published in 1943. In “The Doctor’s Word” R.K.Narayan tells the story how a doctor’s word saved the life of a patient, that’s very reason his opinion was valued; he was not a mere doctor expressing an opinion, but a judge pronouncing a verdict.”

Dr. Raman was a skilled doctor. He was straightforward and he always spoke the truth. As a result, his declaration was highly regarded. Dr. Raman’s best friend was Gopal. They known each other for 40 years. They spent their time eating, looking at pictures, and talking. Their friendship was unaffected by the flow of time.

One day Dr.Raman was informed that Gopal was ill. He went to Gopal’s house. Gopal was lying on the bed as if asleep. Dr.Raman examined him and gave necessary treatment. He is exceptionally fond of him and scolds Gopal’s family for not notifying him earlier about Gopal’s illness. He was worried about his friend’s life and he had no hope of saving his life.

The patient inquired about his condition with the doctor. To avoid “endless misery for his wife and children,” he wanted to sign the will and settle the property before he died. If Dr. Raman expresses his depressing belief that Gopal will not survive the night, it will “virtually mean a death sentence and destroy the unit” part of a chance that the patient had of survival.” As a result, Dr. Raman decided to tell a lie. He told a lie to his patient for the first time in his life. He told Gopal that he would be alive for a long time. Gopal was relieved to hear this news. The doctor was surprised to find Gopal alive and well the next morning. The patient’s survival would be a secret to him all his life.


The story’s conclusion also leaves the reader with a sense of ambiguity. It is unclear whether or not Ramu’s lie actually helped Gopal. It is possible that Gopal would have died anyway, even if he had known the truth. It is also possible that knowing the truth would have given Gopal a sense of peace and closure in his final days.