Broken Ankle and Beyond


Lessons for Life and Project Management   


By Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP

Hyderabad, India


Over 12 weeks of bedrest nursing a complicated ankle fracture, this physician was confined to strict bed rest with no movement. Her personal story of ankle fracture has been insightful to her in many ways. The recovery period lent her an opportunity to introspect. It has not only reinforced the author’s belief in the healthcare domain as a healing instrument but guided her towards embracing values that in turn have shown her a path to a fulfilling life. She learned valuable lessons about life that can also take to heart in our careers as project managers.


Over time, I have realized that life and the incidents that dot it have a definite purpose. Just as projects are meant to derive value, life (as a project in itself!) is meant to derive value for self and others involved.

I was going about my normal life on that rainy Sunday morning in early July—when I suddenly skidded and fell on the ground. One moment I felt like a galloping horse—and then in an instant was suddenly shot up with a tranquilizer, collapsing to the ground.

I sustained a complex fracture of my left ankle joint, one that involved both bones of my leg. I was operated on for over five hours the same day, then hospitalized for a week before being discharged. I was advised to take strict bedrest for 12 weeks (three months!) to ensure optimal healing. Already, the panicked questions were mounting in my mind:

  • Will I walk normally again?
  • Will I be able to fulfill my responsibilities toward my family, or will I be a burden on them, hampering their joy and growth?
  • How will this affect my professional life going ahead?
  • What will happen to the aspirations and expectations I have for my life?

These thoughts crossed my mind repeatedly, and I had no answers.

Over those 12 weeks, I was confined to the bed with little or no movement at all. Along with the healing, this period helped me relax both my mind and my body. Most importantly, it allowed me to know what I want from this life, a thought that I often ignore, knowingly or unknowingly.

In a world where everything (including project management as a process) is or is on the verge of being automated/managed by an application, the only thing that cannot be automated is “humanism” or how we operate as human beings. I urge the readers and project managers to envisage my reflections from this period as lessons we can all keep in mind in our careers as project managers and operate project teams for combined success.

Some Lessons I have Learned

  1. Know what you want. The impact of my devastating fracture was here to stay. My medical brain knew that sequelae from the injury were a certainty. I was terrified that I would be paralyzed for the rest of my life. The feeling of total helplessness for days on end made me feel useless…


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Editor’s note: Dr. Bhide has been a regular contributor to PMI’s projectmanagement.com website about project management in health and medical practice.  This story offers some lessons she has learned related to project management from both a physician’s and patient’s perspective. She provided a few photos to emphasize the personal nature of this experience.

How to cite this paper: Bhide, D. (2022). Broken Ankle and Beyond: Lessons for life and Project Management; PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue XII, December.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/pmwj124-Dec2022-Bhide-broken-ankle-and-beyond.pdf

About the Author

Dr. Deepa Bhide

Hyderabad, India


Dr. Deepa Bhide, MBBS, DCH, PMP has over 20 years of professional experience where she has blended medical practice and research with IT and Project Management. She juggles consulting, training, and operations, and is proficient in clinical medicine, project management, and healthcare information technology. Starting her career as a medical practitioner, she has worked with varied organizations before her current stint as a vice president – Research, with Cotiviti.

Her passion for IT and Project Management was born out of the day-to-day interaction that she had with her patients. Needless to say, Deepa’s growing interest and work in these areas helped her view Project Management as a backbone of progressive healthcare. Her paper on “Patient Care – A Project Management Perspective” is a widely acclaimed one having received global recognition and acclaim. Deepa is an active contributor to PMI with her articles on a cross-domain confluence of Healthcare and Project Management. With a physician background as a solid foundation to leverage IT/PM skills and knowledge, Deepa has blended her broad-based experience and learnings to present a unified, holistic wholesome view of Project Management and Healthcare. Through various webinars, events, talks, and writings across platforms, Deepa has been an evangelist in championing global project management during the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Gold medalist from Osmania University for standing First in the MBBS course and also for Human Physiology, she went ahead to pursue her DCH in Pediatrics and Child health. Deepa is an active member of the PMI Pearl City Chapter with their volunteer initiatives. Deepa has served a variety of roles in local and global PMI regions. In the role of Council Lead for PMI’s Healthcare Community of Practice for a period of 2 years (2013-15) and was involved in identifying, and mentoring volunteers, collaborating across geographies for knowledge assets. Deepa currently is a part of PMI’s Ethics Insight Team, a global team of 8 volunteers for advocacy of PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.

Deepa lives in Hyderabad, India, and loves to travel, sing and experiment with global cuisine. She can be contacted at deepabhide@gmail.com