A Matter of Faith (6)



 Pune was fortunate in having the legendary Dr Coyajee working in a small dispensary in an old dilapidated house in Main Street, He was the doctor to a tenth of the then population of Pune. The long queue of patients which often extended to the pavement awaited consultation from ‘their’ doctor, who, clad in a black Parsi daglo sat in the corner of the hall on a high stool beside an equally high desk. What was unique was that titled ladies stood patiently in the line with a variety of patients including beggars, all of whom received equal attention. As an MBBS doctor solely devoted to medicine and his patients, he was better read than most specialists in their own field. As a young surgeon to his Jehangir Nursing Home, what impressed me was not only his knowledge but the implicit faith that he enjoyed. The rich of Bombay would come with a list of pathology investigations and X-rays to get his approval before submitting themselves to surgery under some of the most famous surgeons of that city. Many of my patients at the Nursing Home would also seek Dr Coyajee's advise before being operated by me, which was, to say the least, disconcerting, were it not for the deep affection I had for my Chief. This indicated not only their faith in his medical skill but more so in his irreproachable ethics and integrity. A shy, retiring person, he shunned publicity or honours. Though he died virtually in debt, the homage that Pune paid him at his funeral was a tribute few monarchs would enjoy.

Compilation of professional reminiscences of specialists - edited by M.V.Kamath and Dr.Rekha Karmarkar.