To Sir with Love!!

By Dr Oscar Rebelo
08 October 2011 11:43 IST

At my Alma Mater, the Goa Medical College, a significant era came to an end  in end September, when one of the last titans of my generation’s  teaching faculty Dr. N. G. Dubhashi hung up his boots and retired as Head of  Department of Medicine after close to 30 years of sparkling service to the institution.

Along with other stalwarts like Dr. V. J. Monteiro, Dr. G.J.S. Abraham, Dr. V. G. Dhume, Dr. N. G.K. Sharma, Dr. C.P. Kapoor,  Dr. Lata Kamat, Dr. Suzette Menezes,  Dr. Nisha  Nadkarni, Dr. Rosa Diniz, Dr. Prasad Nevrekar and others, this was a generation of  teachers who moulded us, inspired us and led the team straight from the front.

Dr. Dubashi was the quintessential physician, philosopher and guide to all of us. Always punctual, unfailingly polite and scrupulously meticulous he had this unique ability to create  for us a wonderful, exotic canvas of the art, science and importantly the humanism of medicine.

I still recall the night when we as Residents were confronted with a peculiar ECG of a patient Mimoso. We couldn’t figure out what the hell that graph read. Could it be a Myocardial Infarction ? Could it be a ventricular Tachycardia ? The patient was rapidly sinking and Mahesh and I were at our wits end.

We called on Dr. Dubashi. Promptly he drove down from Mapusa, bright as a daisy at 3 A.M. in the morning, had one look at the ECG, upturned his tongue on his lips and softly said  it was Hyperkalemia ( a dangerous elevation of Potassium  in the blood which is potentially lethal). Sheepishly we corrected the potassium levels  and Mimoso improved.

Dr. Dubashi belonged to that generation of physicians who inhabited a genteel  universe of simple caring, with the power of the human touch and boundless amount of empathy and patience. The joy for them was in teaching and learning and making that curious diagnosis. The monetary rewards were but a side show, never to be confused with the main script on which they directed their cinematic opus.

The welfare of the patient above ALL!

Our generation in pursuit of technical wizadry, artful skills and crass commerce can never be a patch on the older generation of doctors but I guess those were those times and these are these.

There were two other endearing qualities of Dr. Dubashi. One was that besides his profession, he was a dedicated family man.  At the gong of 5 pm like a love struck teenager he would seek his elegantly graceful wife Rajani and his replica  son Avinash and drive home to spend quality time with family, something, the rest of us “financially successful” practitioners now can ill afford.

The other was his gentle but firm way of saying “NO”, “NO” to allurements  and inducements, “NO” to  shortcuts to get on the highway of success. “NO” to abrasive, brash health ministers. In our eager almost fawning position of genuflection before powers - that – be the word “NO” was a humble but potent weapon, Dr. Dubashi never hesitated to use.

There can never be a doubt that the Department  of Medicine is the essential bedrock and pivot of any medical institution. It is through the gate ways of this Department that you enter and hope for the alleviation of your sufferings. A misdiagnosis or careless error here and no number of scalpels, robots, xrays or glzmos can ever save you. It is a chaotic, almost insane, madly rushed and milling – with – suffocating - crowds Department but it is also the make or break Department of any great institution. Dr. Dubashi, like many of his illustrious predecessors served this function of the Department  admirably captaining it through various storms and typhoons and sometimes calm waters.

It now rests in the  capable hands of my very dedicated and sincere colleague Dr. Edwin Gomes  and to assist him is a whole army of very efficient and capable “stree shakti”. The flag will fly high even if the smouldering embers  continue to glow.

There are people who inspire you in life and there are those who enrich it immeasurably. Dr. Dubashi was one such.

We’ll never be able to quite emulate the principles he stood for in his medical career but we will continue to be inspired by his unique  and beautiful capacity to put character before commerce; wisdom before knowledge; empathy before pity; touch before stethoscope; responsibility before  self serving; a kind word before polypharmacy; love, family  and career before any other kind of glory and garnish all these fine qualities of head and heart with a humungous dose of genuine human compassion – for his patients, his peers and his pupils.

They just don’t make them like HIM any more.

And personally for me Dr. Dubashi’s life in the Department symbolizes everything magnificent of a true Goan existence. A life simply lived with dignity, grace and oodles of sincere hard work.

In so many ways, that you may never know how you touched our lives – THANK YOU SIR!

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Dr Oscar Rebelo

Dr Oscar Rebelo is one of the leading social activist of Goa and a practicing doctor. He led the historic peoples’ movement in 2006-07 to get the anti-Goa Regional Plan scrapped and save Goa from total destruction of Goa’s ecology and natural beauty. He is a Goa-based leader of Aam Aadmi Party. He is also a columnist.

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very true.. sir, has taught several generations of physicians and his values, his skill and knowledge in serving the patients,principles will continue to inspire all of us who have known him..

sir,wishing u a happy retired life..

- dr ramnath nevrekar, merces | 08 th October 2011 20:44


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