Shedding my papa, the individuals’s physician, to Covid-19

Because the daughter of a martyred frontline employee, I ponder if I’ll ever be the identical once more

Operating in his pair of joggers, pale denims and white coat throughout the hallway with a stethoscope in his pocket and a medical ID card within the different is how I noticed my papa whereas I used to be rising up in Saudi Arabia. A chest specialist (pulmonologist) by coaching, my father was not an atypical physician. He was the individuals’s physician. He obtained together with everybody on the hospital and shortly realized a brand new language (Arabi), their tradition and mindsets inside months of his new posting in another country on the similar age as I’m now.


Physician Syed Fasihuddin, my papa discovered buddies within the janitors, the nurses, the heads of departments, fellow medical doctors, dentists, and pharmacists. Each time we went with Papa to the hospital with him as children, we have been handled like royalty.

“Dr Syed’s youngsters? Stunning like Baba. MashaAllah”


On the King Abdul Aziz Hospital (Al Zahir Hospital), papa was royalty. Everybody from the Hospital mudeer (director) to the shirke wala (janitor) in his clinic cherished and revered him. As he walked by the hallways, tall, good-looking and all the time smiling, everybody would say Salam to him, on events give him a high-5 or two, crack a joke or go so far as to jokingly want him “a cheerful second marriage quickly, good-looking physician”. In fact, he laughed it off however he all the time discovered this dialog tasteless.

Dr Fasihuddin in his scrubs in Saudi Arabia.

A number of of his sufferers and their households would name papa, ship him and our households duas over the telephone and even typically items. Papa would all the time say that the nice that occurs to us is due to the blessings he earns by his service.

Ammi was typically requested, “Don’t you are feeling insecure about your husband deliver so well-liked locally?”

However ammi clearly didn’t.


Working in the primary hospital in Makkah as a pulmonologist for 25 years, he handled sufferers in addition to native and worldwide Hajjis for SARS, MERS, totally different strains of influenzas, pneumonias, tuberculosis and different chest illnesses routinely. The Covid-19 scenario was not the primary pandemic he was coping with. When my mom advised him to watch out in Karachi, he merely stated,

“Covid-19 is the third Corona pandemic that I’m serving by. I do know it very properly.”


Papa’s father, my dada (grandfather), was additionally a chest specialist and labored because the director of the Ojha Institute of Chest Ailments for a number of years. My dada, Dr Syed Sabihuddin selected to specialise on this department of medication after he misplaced his younger brother to tuberculosis. Satirically, my father handed away in the identical campus to a different chest illness, Coved-19, 30 years later – an ending we might have by no means imagined, even in our worst nightmares.

Regardless of such a shiny and comfortable profession in Saudi Arabia, papa by no means felt like he was settled. He had a fireplace in him to work in Pakistan all the time and observe within the footsteps of his father to work for sufferers again residence. After 25 years of service at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Well being, my father packed his luggage, stated goodbye to his profitable wage and excessive connections to come back again to Karachi to arrange his personal well being institute, in his mom’s title, Taj Consultants Clinics. It might be a story for one more time how Papa averted giving out a single rupee in bribes and managed to flee the web of corruption within the native governments, however as papa all the time did, he discovered a method to ensure his financial savings weren’t given out in haram transactions and wasted.

For the preliminary few years, my father used a borrowed Suzuki Alto for his travels within the metropolis and didn’t even buy a single new shirt for himself as the main focus was to take a position all that he had within the Taj Mission. But, he by no means denied me something my coronary heart desired and despite the fact that my wedding ceremony got here throughout the troublesome time of organising the mission, papa strived to make it the happiest event of our lives.

After 5 years of exhausting work and dealing 16 hours a day with dedication at his personal clinic, papa lastly made his father’s dream come true, however he took no time without work to have a good time this achievement as his work had turn out to be his lifestyle. With clinic administration to supervise within the morning after which a packed clinic within the night, my father’s life had turn out to be his work. He by no means denied a affected person’s telephone name even in the midst of the evening. If a affected person was exterior his clinic for him after it closed, he would nonetheless deliver the affected person in and see her or him.

The creator and Dr Fasihuddin

With rising Covid-19 instances within the nation, papa didn’t shut the doorways to his clinic, regardless of protests from us, his youngsters and ammi. He refused to close his clinic for June, as he was anxious about his sufferers and didn’t need them to be left with no place to go. Taj Advisor Clinics was to stay open and operating.

After he contracted the coronavirus and was admitted, he saved discussing his personal x-rays and investigations with the treating consultants, fearless and really hopeful that he’ll courageous by the worst of it and survive. Throughout his isolation within the hospital, he additionally saved in contact with all of us on our household Whatsapp group until Wednesday, June twenty fourth,

“All good right here. How are you guys doing?”


It was then that the x-ray confirmed that his lungs have been deteriorating and he was placed on a ventilator. After that we didn’t hear from him however nonetheless saved checking messages now and again. On the time of his demise, at 1pm on Friday, June twenty sixth, a number of sufferers waited exterior his clinic patiently for a session with Dr Syed Fasihuddin.

This was additionally the day that the sky fell on our household and our lives got here crashing down, to the extent that we’re nonetheless in a state of shock and denial. We’re nonetheless hoping that that is all a really lengthy nightmare that we’re going to get up from.

Whereas he was a health care provider and a pal to many, to me, he was my papa, my strongest advocate and my greatest supporter. He taught me essentially the most about empathy, kindness, the worth of service, exhausting work and the way far a single good deed can go, by being an instance by his personal life. With out him, my world is darkish and with out him, I see no options to the issues that lie forward.

As a daughter of a martyred frontline employee within the period of Covid-19, I ponder if I’ll ever be the identical once more and I ponder if papa’s sacrifices and years of service will probably be recognised by the individuals he selected to work for. Both method, there is no such thing as a solace for this loss in our household, as a result of every thing is reversible, besides demise.

All footage courtesy Fatima Fasih

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