By Fr. Glenford Lowe | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 27, 2017
What could possibly happen when a Catholic Priest and the Salesian Community is witness to the largesse of a benevolent Doctor? Faith in humanity is restored. Fr Glenford Lowe, who donated his kidney to Fr Lloyd Rodrigues on July 26, 2011, is at a loss for words on learning of the demise of Dr. Sharad Nagorao Sagade (consultant Urologist at the Hinduja Hospital) who breathed his last on May 26, 2017.
“He walked the corridors of Hinduja Hospital not only with a stethoscope round his neck, but with a HALO above his head. We have lost a saint,” mourns Fr Glenford Lowe.
Death has often knocked on many doors. Death has no favourites too. The young and the old, the wise and the fool, the rich and the poor, the good and the bad—no one can escape death’s invitation. Most die without having really lived! A few leave this world with a rich legacy to follow. Dr. Sharad Nagorao Sagade is one such luminous life that left behind a trail of light. He breathed his last on May 26, 2017 after a few months of battling pancreatic cancer.
His credentials were simple: Dr. Sharad Nagorao Sagade, M.S (General Surgery), M.Ch. (Urology), Dip. In Lapraoscopic Urology (France). But behind this thin, tall, frail body was a giant of a man. The ‘primum non nocere’—First, do no harm, a phrase that forms the first part of the physicians ‘Hippocratic Oath’, was the guiding compass in his medical profession.
I was fortunate to encounter Dr. Sagade at the Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, in early February 2011. I had come forward to donate my kidney to a fellow priest-cousin Fr. Lloyd Rodrigues. The battery of medical tests that I had to undergo first was numerous and time consuming too due to the long lines of patients waiting to meet Dr. Sagade. Dr. Alan Almeida, (Consultant Nephrologist), would often refer me to meet Dr. Sagade for immediate consultation. His door was always open for a quick check-up and a prompt follow-up.
My first impression of Dr. Sagade was one of awe. In the midst of his very busy medical profession and the many patients he had to encounter each day, I would often ask myself, “What keeps this doctor so serene and calm? What is it that still keeps the smile on his face? What makes him walk the extra mile to ensure that his patients are given the best treatment? What makes him transcend above mere monetary gains in his medical profession?”
My answer came one day when I met Mrs Suchita, a counsellor at Hinduja Hospital, who was preparing me for the kidney transplant procedures and legal matters. I casually asked her: “So how is Dr. Sagade?” and she responded immediately, “Fr. Glenn, to us he is more than a doctor. He is a saint!”
He is a saint! Without a doubt, I have heard many of the patients and fellow doctors confirm the same. On July 26, 2011, after a lot of medical tests and legal procedures, I had the privilege of having my kidney transplant surgery done by this saintly surgeon. While on the operation table, he had to take the immediate decision to have my rib cut in order not to damage the kidney. A few hours after my surgery, while back in my ward bed, the nurse realised that I had some serosanguinous discharge from the wound site. Dr. Sagade’s response was swift. The ward became an emergency room with all his fellow team surgeons and nurses to ensure that I was put back on track. He visited me each day: he smiled more and spoke less. That was healing to me!
When I was discharged from the hospital on August 1, 2011, my medical bill indicated the following: Surgeon’s charges INR 00.00/-
He never took a rupee for his surgical fees. That was the generosity of the man. In a time when the medical profession is plagued by scams of monetary gains, here was one who could waive off the entire cost! I know for sure, that hundreds of patients like me have been free beneficiaries too. On my many visits to the hospital for my post-operative care, I would have a very brief encounter with him in the corridor to thank him for his successful surgery and his generosity bestowed on me.
He was one who made his Operation Room a ‘sanctuary’, every healing a ‘blessing from God’ and every encounter with a patient an opportunity to serve with love. His heart was with and for the poor and the economically backward. They have lost a giant of a man.
“Why do bad things happen to good people?” was a question many asked when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He, who had reached out to thousands of patients in need of medical care and attention, could now find no cure for his own condition. Death stared him in the face. His fellow surgeons and medical team could only silently stand by as he fought the cancer.
On my Facebook account, when I made a post concerning his death, in one of the replies, I read these words: “Words are not enough to describe Dr. Sagade, He is not only one of the best urologist in Mumbai, but also an amazing human being! His care for all his patients is tremendous. A Selfless soul, truly an angel sent by God upon earth in the form of a doctor—humble, caring, down-to-earth, selfless.”
May the sanctity and the healing that we all experienced in Dr. Sagade, be a challenge for us all too. In the midst of our everyday toil, one can still be a saint! He walked the corridors of Hinduja Hospital not only with a stethoscope round his neck, but with a HALO above his head.
(In the picture above: Fr Glenford Lowe (right) with Fr Lloyd Rodrigues)
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