|Wednesday, August 16, 2006|
My dad, Dr. Homi Dastur, is 80 today ... and you'd never know it if you met him. He's a neurosurgeon and still operates at Jaslok Hospital, where he has been since 1974, and will until he is 83. One of the pioneering neurosurgeons in India, he set up the neurosurgery department at the KEM hospital way back in 1957. I was telling Stuart about him the other day, who placed a bet that he must be among the oldest practicing neurosurgeons in the world ... I wonder if this is true!
I found this link on the web - here's what a colleague says about him ... "I was also privileged to see such teachers as Drs RN Cooper, AV Baliga, SJ Mehta, RG Ginde, Homi Dastur and PK Sen examine candidates. Most of these giants possessed competence, vast experience, a deep understanding of the art and science of medicine and, at least as important, unchallengeable honesty. I have seen Dr Homi Dastur walk out of the examination hall for a brief spell after explaining to his fellow examiner that the candidate facing them was his student. He desired the other examiner to conduct his assessment without any hindrance or interference."
When I asked him what drives him today, why he still operates when he could just relax and enjoy his life - he says simply that patients still come to him for advice and he cannot let them down. Also, there is that element of trepidation and anxiety in neurosurgery, which was never in him when he was doing general surgery - which for him is a challenge - and keeps him going! His advice to any young surgeon is "never let frustration overcome you".
My sister tells me of this really funny incident, where Dad and Mum were dropping her off to the airport when she was off to college, and she suddenly had a huge fit of laughter in the car ... Dad had no clue what was going on .. until she pointed out to him he was driving on the wrong side of the road! That's my Dad :)
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