After 30 Years, A Doctor Returns To Pay Back His Debt
10 June 2007
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Thirty years after he left Kashmir as a young doctor, Fayaz A Shawl is coming home with a mission. Shawl, 54, Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine and Clinical Professor of Medicine at George Washington University Medical School, is setting up a super- specialty cardiac care centre in the Valley. He is finalizing the purchase of a plot in the foothills of the Zabarwan range near the picturesque Nishat area. The 30-bed hospital is expected to be ready by the end of 2008. While Dr Shawl plans to set up two more such hospitals, in Dubai and Goa, the one in Valley will be different. While he will treat the poor for free, he will charge a nominal fee from those who can afford to pay. 'I have been very lucky and God has been kind - I just want to give it back to people of the country of my birth,' he says. Shawl, son of a carpet dealer, moved to the US in 1977. He worked in Prince George's Hospital Center in Maryland and then at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, serving as a captain and then a major in the US Army. He trained with the angioplasty pioneers, Andreas Gruentzig and Richard Mylar. In the early days of angioplasty, Dr. (then Maj.) Shawl brought the US military into the balloon age. He has been experimenting with new techniques in high-risk angioplasty. In Shawl Technique, the heart- lung machine is used for angioplasty so that the heart function is taken over by the machine and heart rests while you do the angioplasty. But the surgeon does not have to open the chest to stop the heart like in the normal bypass. Apart from employing local professionals, he plans to get volunteer doctors and nurses from US. 'The doctors and nurses will come in batches and stay for two-to- three months,' he says. 'I train a number of surgeons every year and they are willing to volunteer in the Valley,' he says. Shawl says the funds will come from the Shawl Philanthropic Foundation which he has set up.