Honorary Fellowship of
Members of the medical profession in general and particularly those who have served as faculty members or head of medical institutions during their professional career come across so many incidents, professional mishaps and interaction with lot many people including those in the power corridors that one can learn a lot from their experiences. That is why I have always impressed upon them to compile all that and publish them in a book form so that the future generation of healthcare professionals could learn some lesson without making mistakes which they made intentionally or un-intentionally. Whosoever has taken this initiative has come up with a lot of useful information and I have had the pleasure of reading some of these books which were sent to me for review.
Prof. Alaf Khan, a noted physician, an upright, honest thin lean man from Khyber PK is the latest among those healthcare professionals who have compiled his Memoirs and is currently busy giving it final touches before it can be sent for publication. Prof. Alaf Khan and his wife Prof. Lala Rukh, it may be mentioned here is a fascinating couple known for their democratic credentials and professional ethics. Both of them retired as Professor of Medicine and Prof. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology respectively in 1996. In fact both of them took Leave Preparatory to Retirement (LPR) a year before their date of retirement so that the juniors could get chance of promotion earlier. I have had a long association with them from late 70s. After retirement the couple spends couple of months in United States every year where their three sons who are doctors, one is a cardiologist and the other two are nephrologists are settled and then spend a few months in Pakistan. They are here in Pakistan these days and I specially flew to Peshawar to meet them and pay my respects last month. Prof. Altaf Khan in particular has been very kind to me and he keeps on educating me pointing out my mistakes of English and Grammar even when he is in United States. He is a keen reader of our publications Pulse International and Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences and I have no hesitation to admit that over the years I have learnt a lot from him and his friendship has provided me an excellent opportunity of distant learning.
Prof. Alaf Khan did some research on Meningococcal Meningitis in 1986 and sent to me for publication. When I went to see him last month, I was amazed to see that he had kept all the record of our correspondence with him on meningococcal meningitis. Not only that he also showed me record of all the House Officers, Postgraduates who have served with him throughout his professional career and he has kept this record very meticulously which shows his interest in documentation something in which most of our healthcare professionals are lacking. Prof. Lala Rukh also believes that there is no country better than Pakistan to live and feels that we should try to become self-sufficient in the production of drugs, medicines and healthcare so that we are not dependent on others and no country could create problems for us through sanctions something which we have witnessed in the past.
During the discussions I also came to know that College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan has also received some space in Prof Alaf Khan’s Memoirs which he has named as “Silent Musings”. Prof. Alaf Khan writes that “CPSP honoured me with Honorary FCPS after I had been an Examiner for the pre-MCQ tough FCPS-I and then for Part-II for several years. Two cunning friends (Prof. Khalid Usman and Prof. Rahim Gul) had not only proposed my name for the Fellowship but the later had also forged my signature to show my acceptance of the proposal all unknown to me. I got the news only days before the Convocation at the Army Medical College in Rawalpindi. I received the diploma from Lt. Gen. W.A. Burki the founder President of CPSP at that time. Sometimes later it was surrendered to the College with a note that senior clinicians should be proud of being examiners without the FCPS flag. The College Council was confused by the voluntary surrender of its Diploma for the first time in its history. Exchange of a few letters followed, but I stuck to my decision and continued to be examiner as usual. The college kept sending me notice of the Fellowship subscription every year. I kept sending Bank Drafts for double the amount as “Donation” Not Subscription”.
On one hand we have such distinguished medical personalities like Prof. Alaf Khan but at the same time we also have medical teachers who maneuver to get extension after extension particularly so if they are heading any institution. To occupy those coveted posts, they use all sort of unethical means, singing praises for those who have the authority to decide their fate. It is only a few who are fortunate enough to earn honourable retirement with respect and dignity and they are still remembered with good words by everyone. However, there are others who earn termination from service and leave their jobs in a disgraceful manner because during their tenure they took care only of their “own family members” and their political patrons, annoyed and humiliated all others working with them or under them and thus the time comes when they are on the receiving end and suffer from humiliation. Once they are gone, nobody bothers about them and many even refuse to recognize them. All this offers some lessons to those who are keen to learn.
Tail Piece: Leaders manage by Mind and Lead by Heart.