Tuesday, January 16, 2018
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The Rotarians in particular and senior citizens in general  should easily recognize the two persons featuring in the above picture. President Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma is seen giving life-time award  at a meeting of the all India Unani Tibbi Conference to Dr Hammad Usmani, a practitioner of both allopathic and Unani systems of medicine, at a special function where the President was the chief guest.

Dr Hakim Usmani was also personal physician of former UP Governor Mohammad Usman Arif. Today happens to be his death anniversary. He passed away in 2000. I am remembering him for two reasons. One—because he was a gentle soul, a true embodiment of the Rotary  motto of Service Above Self and also because it was he who selected me for a special Rotary award long, long ago for my contributions in the field of journalism. But now I will mention the   second reason which   acquires significance in the context of the reports being received from several cities about the shabby treatment being meted out to patients by doctors and nursing homes where a patient spends lakhs and even then does not survive. But here, in Allahabad itself, something more shocking took place 17 years ago. And when a man in the profession narrates them one cannot but be shocked. This relates to the shabby treatment meted out to Dr Hammad Usmani when he was critically ill. It was revealed to me by his son,  Dr Saad Usmani who will be startled by my recalling that incident. He told me 17 years ago  in an uncontrollable sorrowful tone. ‘My father Dr Hammad Usmani was lying critically ill. The name of a local doctor of the Medical College was suggested. He was known very well to my father’. They contacted him and requested him to see Dr Hammad at home as he could not move. But the doctor bluntly said that he will not visit him at home. ‘Bring him here’. He was told that to transport him to his residence was impossible. Moreover he was not staying on the ground floor. How could they take him there?’ He melted and agreed to see the patient in the car itself but at his residence. Dr Saad says, ‘It was with great difficulty that we carried father, who was in great agony, to the doctor’s  residence. We went up to inform him about it. The doctor refused to come down. He was reminded that it was he himself who had suggested that. But he was adamant. ‘I will not go down’.   Dr Saad says they were in a fix. But having gone so far they thought of not returning without showing Dr Hammad to the so-called expert. They asked him for a chair on which they could carry Dr Hammad. This callous doctor said there was no chair.  Dr Saad was almost sobbing when he said, ‘We somehow carried him upstairs. He  had to crawl on the stair-case before he could reach the doctor’s room’. He says: ‘The Doctor looked stunned  and kept on staring at him for a while. ‘  He then said something unsavory. He examined him but his diagnosis failed to be anywhere near the truth.’

The contrast

But Dr Saad also mentioned on that occasion the contrast he saw in the behavior of another doctor. He narrated that his father had been operated upon in Lucknow by Dr Ranu Tandon. But when back in Allahabad, he developed some complications. They rang up Dr Ranu Tandon at Lucknow. He said he would be coming to Allahabad. It was an odd time. There was no train. He approached the taxi that carts newspapers published in Lucknow to Allahabad. He sat in that taxi and reached Allahabad before dawn. He came and saw the patient, prescribed some medicines and then asked for leave. A doctor coming from another city would charge a hefty fee, it was presumed. But Dr Ranu Tandon did not charge a naya paisa and kept on insisting forcefully that he will not take a pie. Dr Saad says, ‘But my mother would have nothing of it. She quietly put Rs1000 in his pocket,’ I may mention that there are still many Dr Ranu Tandons around. But their good deeds go unnoticed and are eclipsed by a few black sheep who give a bad name to the entire body of medicos.


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