Prof. S.M. Rab founder Fellow and former President CPSP passes away


Prof. S.M. Rab founder Fellow and
former President CPSP passes away

A physician par excellence, he played his innings
exceptionally well and earned respect

KARACHI: Prof. S.M.Rab an eminent physician, founder Fellow of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan who later also served as its President after the death of founder President Lt. Gen. W.A. Burki died here on Monday morning September 15th in Karachi at the age of eighty three years. He leaves behind thousands of students in Pakistan as well as Bangladesh and innumerable well wishers besides a widow Masooma Rab, son Dr. Tanveer Rab, two daughters Dr. Samina Hussain and Dr. Shahina Rab, to mourn his death. Late Prof. S.M.Rab was a physician par excellence who had mastered the clinical skills and could diagnose most of the diseases based on history and clinical examination without the help of modern gadgetry to which the new generation of healthcare professionals has become slave. Prof. Rab belonged to the conservative group of physicians who always gave importance to clinical skills rather than the state of the art investigations to make diagnosis.

Late Prof. S.M. Rab

Prof. Rab had cardiac surgery at Aga Khan University Hospital performed by Prof. Shahid Sami, his student, couple of years ago and was leading an active professional life busy in teaching, training and patient care. A few months ago he was diagnosed to be suffering from brain tumour which eventually leads to his death. A few weeks before his death, he lost his speech and also suffered from some disability.

Prof. Rab was born in the Indian State of Bihar in 1931 and graduated from Patna Medical College. He later went to UK for postgraduate studies and training and did his MRCP and came to Dhaka capital of the then East Pakistan to join Dhaka Medical College as Assistant Professor and taught many students who later became faculty members in various medical colleges and played an important role in the development of medicine and medical education in East Pakistan which later became Bangladesh. After the 1971 tragedy which split the country into two different States, Prof. Rab came over to Pakistan and was appointed as Professor of Medicine at Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, Karachi in charge of Ward-5. A brilliant teacher and clinician par excellence, Prof. Rab trained a large number of students and postgraduates who are spread all over the world. Prof. Rab was one of the fifty founder Fellows of College of Physicians & surgeons of Pakistan. He joined JPMC in 1972 and retired as Head of the Dept. of Medicine in 1990. He was Professor Emeritus at Baqai Medical University and some other medical institutions as well. He also served as Examiner for the Royal College of Physicians UK. He was a physician who enjoyed international recognition by peers in the field of medicine. He was a world renowned physician in the real sense.

Prof. Rab during his long academic innings saw the best and the worst in his life time. While on one hand, he had the privilege of being one of the founder fellows of CPSP, served on its council for many years and also became its President, a time came when he contested and lost the elections for the Council membership. That was the time when medical politics had infected the CPSP to a great extent and various groups had emerged with their own interests. If there were healthcare professionals who loved him, there was no dearth of those who did not like him either for various reasons. Even some of those whom he nurtured, helped to progress and prosper in their professional life betrayed him and he was very sore about it. For sometime he was also annoyed with the CPSP leadership but then the CPSP administration made the amends and he was given all the honours, respect which he deserved and he was often invited as chief guest at the CPSP functions from time to time. He was chairman of the organizing committee of the joint CPSP-BCPS conference held in Dhaka Bangladesh in 2008 which was attended by over one hundred fifty delegates and participants from Pakistan. He wanted many young fellows from Pakistan to attend this for which he specially arranged for their complimentary stay at the residence of some of his friends in Dhaka. He made sure that they were all looked after. He also served as Provincial Health Minister in Government of Sind for a short time in the caretaker set up.

For the last couple of years, he has been one of the sought after invited guest speakers at various medical conferences where he always pleaded for upholding professional ethics, honesty, giving respect to the patient, listening to them patiently. He had excellent command over communication skills and could speak for hours and hours. During his speeches, he will often narrate some historical incidents and episodes to highlight from where it all started and where we have come today in the field of medicine and health services. He was always very critical of bureaucracy which he opined, never gave due respect and the status to the medical men and women of Pakistan which they deserved. He did share with me his happiness, joys as well as sorrows at numerous occasions. He was happy for his professional contributions to medicine and health services in Pakistan but sad at the attitude of some of his senior and junior professional colleagues as well. Being a human being he had his own weaknesses but there was no doubt about the fact that he was a physician par excellence and an excellent speaker who used to mesmerize the audience who will always listen to him in pin drop silence. He was very witty and had a great sense of humour.

It was indeed heartening to see that his Nimaze Jinaza was offered at the CPSP Convocation Lawns which was attended by a large number of healthcare professionals which included present and retired professors, deans, and principals of various medical institutions besides council members of CPSP. He was buried in the Defense Graveyard.
According to another report a condolence meeting on the sad demise of Prof. S.M. Rab, professor of Emeritus and member of the Board of Governor, Baqai Medical University, was held at Saeeda Auditorium of the University campus. Speaking at the occasion Prof. Zahida Baqai Vice Chancellor of BMU said that late Prof. Rab has left behind a legacy of educational excellence. She commended his contributions in the field of medicine and medical education. The condolence meeting was very well attended by faculty of BMU. Later Fateha was offered for the departed soul and prayed for his family to bear this great loss. PIMA leadership has also condoled his death.