By Dr. K. Javeed Nayeem, MD
The week that has gone by has been a very painful one for the entire medical fraternity of our city and its surroundings. It has taken away from our midst Dr. M.S. Vishveshwara, a very noble soul who as a practicing Oncologist, had tirelessly served suffering humanity for well over three decades, ever since he became a doctor.
He had in him all the qualities that people expect to see in a doctor if he or she has to do justice to being called a worthy member of the medical profession. And, above all, being an Oncologist, he had in him a rare kind of sensitivity and empathy to the pain and agony that most of his patients and their relatives invariably went through, while battling what has rightly been called as the ‘Emperor of all maladies.’
Yes, accepting the diagnosis of cancer itself is a very unnerving and almost earth-shattering experience for anyone who is diagnosed with it, mind you, even if it comes with the reassurance that it is of the curable kind. And, if it turns out to be of an uncurable kind as it very often happens, one of the very few pillars of strength that one can lean on for support, besides one’s immediate family members, is a caring and understanding doctor who is endowed with a unusually large measure of patience and concern for the patient. That is exactly the kind of person that Dr. Vishveshwara was.
I knew him as a very close friend over exactly thirty-one years, ever since he joined the then newly started Bharath Cancer Hospital, which was the only facility for the treatment of cancer in our city. In fact, it was he who walked into my house as an unknown person and after introducing himself as an Oncologist, told me about the hospital he was attached to and the services available there.
After that, there was no looking back for him from his goal post. He remained loyal to the institution down to his last breath and it will not be an overstatement if I say that it was this loyalty that helped it to grow, especially in its early years, much before it saw tie-ups with bigger names and bigger players in the field of Oncology. Because I found his hospital to be the best referral place for all my cancer patients who simply could not afford the cost and bother of seeking treatment at much bigger hospitals outside Mysuru, I used to regularly seek his help in getting them treated.
Very often, a good many of them could ill afford even the low-cost treatment that was available there, due to their abject poverty and that was when I would never hesitate to request my friend to somehow ensure that, money or no money, they got their treatment on time. And, he never once, failed to fulfil my request, reassuring me that he would do it, although I could never fathom how he did it!
This is not just my experience, because all my other doctor friends too have over the years, told me the same story of his benevolence and concern for the poor. Qualities like these have earned Dr. Vishveshwara a very special and affectionate place in the hearts of all his patients, whose lives his healing hands have touched over the years.
Even in all other spheres of activity that the doctors and the many philanthropic organisations of Mysuru were involved in, Dr. Vishveshwara would most willingly involve himself.
Dr. C. Umesh Kamath, the founding architect of Geeth Gaatha Chal, the well-known music programme of doctors, while talking to me yesterday, fondly recalled how Dr. Vishveshwara was the person who welcomed the gathering at the very first programme, more than twenty years ago. Interestingly, this was a role that got reserved for him every year over all the years, till he had to miss it this year because of his ill health. He had even performed a few times in the programme along with his daughter Dr. Radhika and along with his wife Smt. Jalaja, the family used to regularly host rehearsal sessions in their house which even I have attended with my family.
When the managements of all the private hospitals in and around Mysuru decided to come together under the banner of MAHAN (The Mysore Association of Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Diagnostic Centres) seven years ago, Dr. Vishveshwara was constantly at the forefront of activity and he continued to remain there till the very end of his life, never once aspiring to be in the leadership of the organisation.
My friend Dr. B.N. Rajeeva, the Founder-Secretary of MAHAN, recalled how Dr. Vishveshwara, who was his schoolmate, was the person who way back in the year 2010 put forward the seedling idea of forming an association of private hospitals in our city. With the formation of MAHAN, his idea took root and has now become the sprawling tree that shelters private medical care in and around our city.
Time passes and people too pass away, sometimes at some very untimely moments, but with their good work, they leave behind lasting memories which we cherish, although with a sense of pain and anguish. Rest in peace, dear friend. With your love, laughter and goodness, you have left us all feeling proud of you!
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