Don’t underestimate the power of Pakistani medical professionals.

Contrary to popular belief, there is an enormous amount of individuals in Pakistan who’ve succeeded in achieving the goals that they aim for. Even though the country is not exactly known for its achievements as it has been overshadowed by horrific incidents in the last years, the people of Pakistan are reluctant to abandon hope. Who gives Pakistan this hope? The luminary geniuses Pakistan has produced in the past and their ability of endowing their talent onto the youngsters who make sure to work hard despite the current educational defects in the country. I believe in every single word I have written above, but there is a drawback present among us which has inhibited our brilliant youngsters and intellectual minds from succeeding; the reason is the lack of participation of our media in promoting the skillful youngsters/professionals and the incapability of our nationals to encourage their talent. A great percentage of our youth is inspired by the western celebrities and scientists, which is good as long as the inspiration carries them on the right path. But do we know anything about our national personalities, who have little experience of prominence, unfortunately, as compared to the level of intelligence they possess? Students in Pakistan are inspired by businessmen such as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to seek the road of business; students in Pakistan are inspired by physicists such as Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein to choose physics as their specialty; students in Pakistan are inspired by doctors such as Dr. Michael Debakey or Dr. Benjamin Carson to opt for medicine, but none of the students are inspired by Dr Abdus Salam or Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan for Physics, by Mr Malik Riaz or Mr Mian Mansha for business and by Dr Ayub Khan Ommaya or Dr Syed Amjad Hussain for medicine and the list goes on.  I’ve seen that a small percentage seems to be aware of Pakistani scientists, politicians or businessmen, but I couldn’t find a good article or biography to read about a single medical professional who had a great amount of credit to their enormous achievements. As a pre-medical student, I have decided to write about such legendary professionals who’re known more by foreigners rather than their countrymen.

Pure class!

Pure class!

-Dr Ayub Khan Ommaya. 

With well over 150 articles, chapters, books and one of the most important medical inventions to his name (“The Ommaya reservoir”, which provides chemotherapy directly to the site for brain tumors); he was perhaps the greatest Pakistani neurosurgeon who pioneered spinal angiography. After immigrating to USA, he joined ‘The National Institute of health’ and became the chief of neurosurgery. Dr Ommaya was also awarded the Sitara-I-Imtiaz in 1982 by the president of Pakistan. Unfortunately, in 2008, Dr Ayub Khan Ommaya passed away but as a medical genius.

-Dr Syed Amjad Hussain. Hussain-breaks-mold-of-a-trustee

The credit of the invention of the pleura-peritoneal shunt and a special endotracheal tube (used in fiberoptic broncchoscopy), two of the most intricate medical devices, goes to Dr Syed Amjad Hussain. Currently living in Ohio, Dr Amjad has 50 research papers to his name in the field of medical literature. As a doctor, he’s a maestro of the field but as an explorer he’s not less than a maestro either; he gained his fair share of fame as an explorer when he explored over 2000 miles of the river Indus in Pakistan. Dr Syed Amjad Hussain is, and will always be remembered as one of the most important inventors in the history of Pakistan.

-Dr Mumtaz Maher page1-img4

Currently the vice president of the society of laparoscopic and endoscopic surgeons, Dr Mumtaz has established his name tremendously in the field of medicine especially in the medical history of Pakistan. He performed the first laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the first of its kind in Pakistan, in 1991; which was an underrated yet above par medical achievement. Dr Mumtaz Maher, the chief of surgery at South City Hospital in Karachi, will always be a pioneer for not just medical students, but for every patriotic student in the country.

-Dr Faisal Masud Prof._Dr._Fasial_Masud

The Vice Chancellor of the prestigious King Edward Medical University in Pakistan, Dr Faisal is known for his splendid role in the Dengue epidemic of 2011. From being the ‘best graduate’ at Nishtar Medical College to being an endocrinologist to being the recipient of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Dr Faisal has repeatedly proven his stature as one of the most uniquely intelligent doctors in Pakistan and the country will always be grateful to a man of such stature.

From all these professionals to Dr Sania Nishtar to Dr Roger Armour to Dr Adeeb Rizvi, the list will go on and on. The amount of talent will always outweigh the sum of mediocrity in Pakistan, but without our awareness, these names will continually remain underestimated. That’s what we have to change!

Source for the biographies of these doctors: http://www.wikipedia.com.

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Yet another milestone.

On the 1st of December, 2014, the doctors of Karachi reached yet another milestone out of the many there have been no reports about because the Pakistani media isn’t interested in reporting anything except for daily protests (or any news that would count as unfavorable for our country). Thanks to Express Tribune, I got to know about this remarkable achievement. 

The parents of the conjoined twins, a policeman named Mr Ilyas and his wife Mrs Uzma, expressed their happiness after the seven-hour successful procedure of separating the two twins, Saima and Saira. Most conjoined twins possess separate organs with the exception of the liver and same was the case with Saima and Saira; they were conjoined from the lower breastbone to the upper abdomen. As the Express Tribune further reported, on the advice of a doctor; the parents admitted their daughters to AKUH.

Dr Zafar Nazir, the pediatrician who treated the twins.

If you have all seen “Gifted Hands” which is a movie based on the life of Dr Ben Carson, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to lighten up your imagination on the operation of conjoined twins. The Aga Khan University Hospital put together a multidisciplinary team (headed by Dr Nazir) of paediatric surgeons, nurses, radiologists, anesthesiologists, pediatricians and technicians to plan the outcome of the complicated procedure. After planning the complications and consequences of the operation for a month and a half, each professional team rehearsed their specific roles in the procedure. The whole team, a day before the surgery, rehearsed every aspect of their roles as a unit to try for the best and prepare for the worst. Finally, on the 1st of December, a 20-member multidisciplinary team of surgeons operated on the twins and successfully separated them after a procedure which took seven hours. This has been the first conjoined twin separation in the history of Karachi which is a majestic milestone.  

Pakistan is not exactly known for its medical breakthroughs; even though it can be if the media and the majority of Pakistan pay a little more attention to the medical scenario of their country. Do many of us know about Dr Adeeb Rizvi? No. Do we know about Dr Mumtaz Maher? No. Do we know about Dr Faisal Saud Dar? No, we don’t, and the average Pakistanis aren’t to be blamed.

Dr Mumtaz Maher himself.

In this specific paragraph, I’m going to give a number of examples. Students of this generation who’re passionate to be doctors, research about the profession hundreds of times a day. When they search for movies related to medicine or any scientific profession for that matter, they get results for American or British movies. Whenever they search for television shows, the get results for American shows such as House MD which is my favorite too. Whenever they search for inspirational medical figures, they get results to the best doctors/surgeons of the 20th generation such as Dr Michael Debakey, Dr Denton Cooley etc. but not a single list consists of a Pakistani doctor. In the para before this one, I mentioned some doctors; now I’m going to introduce them. Dr Adeeb Rizvi is the head of SIUT (Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation). He led a team in 2003 to perform the first successful liver transplant in the history of Pakistan. Oh, and guess what? In 2001, a gang was arrested for planning to murder Dr Rizvi. This is how we repay our heroes. I’m not talking about the average Pakistani people here; but I’m talking about the extremists who’re overshadowing phenomenal achievements.  Now, talking about Dr Mumtaz Maher, he performed the first  laparoscopic cholecystectomy (surgery to remove gallbladder) back in 1991 which was the first of its kind in the history of Pakistan; but no one knows about him except for maybe his patients. Pakistan’s history and even the present is full of scientific, medical, artistic and brilliant breakthroughs but no one is aware of the talent that Pakistanis have to offer.

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A quotation by the head of SIUT, Dr Adeebul Hasan Rizvi.

I’m thankful for even the little accomplishments we’ve achieved in the past few years; our cinema has awoken to a new reality; students are becoming more passionate and people are realizing their rights.  Pakistan is a country brimming with talented people belonging to different professions. Even though our media only looks at political and religious issues and differences, many of us have accomplished in our occupations.

Even today, Pakistani news channels are reporting about the protests of Imran Khan and the reaction of our prime minister (to these shutdowns). Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a single channel reporting about this specific medical achievement because according to our media; talking about people who’re burning tires for “peace” is way more adventurous than performing a seven hour operation to separate conjoined twins. Oh, well.

May Allah be with us all and may we learn to appreciate our heroes every once in a while.