Dr Shyam Raj – A loved pediatrician of Hyderabad

Dr Shyam Raj was a consultant at many upcoming corporate hospitals including Apollo, CDR, Yashoda, Aditya, Lotus, etc

“Doctor Sahab, you saved my life when I was a child” was a common introduction that Dr Shyam Raj would hear regularly. As a popular Pediatrician, he would have treated a whole generation of Hyderabadi families and then, their children – many with infectious diseases more deadly than the current Covid – like Diphtheria, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Dengue.

Dr Shyam Raj was an alumnus of the Jagirdar’s College and Hyderabad Public School. He was a Gold Medalist in Urdu. He joined the Osmania Medical College in 1958 and post-graduated in Pediatrics from Niloufer Hospital. He specialized in Communicable Diseases of Children and was awarded the Commonwealth Medical Fellowship at the King’s Cross Hospital in Scotland, UK and was trained at the famous Hospital for Sick Children in London. 

Once he came back to India, he worked as Research Asst. Professor in Pediatric Communicable Diseases at the Fever Hospital for 15 years. He was an inspiring teacher and guide for a whole generation of today’s top doctors and was the Chief Coordinator of the Student Exchange Programme between Dundee and Osmania Universities for over 10 years.

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As an academician, he excelled – He was awarded Fellowship of the World Health Organization and represented India at Jakarta in Indonesia. He was elected as Fellow of the International College of Pediatrics, Fellow of the College of Angiology (USA), and Fellow of the IMA College of General Practitioners.

Many of his research publications have appeared in national and international medical journals and he has made several presentations at National International Medical Conferences. His extensive work on Rabies is widely cited in many research papers on the topic. He authored the “Handbook of Infectious Diseases” for post graduate medical students.

As an able administrator, Dr Shyam Raj served as the National President of the Indian Association of Communicable Diseases for 12 years. He also served as President of the Indian Medical Association, Hyderabad City and Indian Academy of Pediatrics, Twin Cities and AP State.

After taking voluntary retirement from government service, Dr Shyam Raj was a consultant at many upcoming corporate hospitals including Apollo, CDR, Yashoda, Aditya, Lotus, etc. Yet for the sake of his poor patients who couldn’t afford expensive care, he founded a department of Pediatrics at the Mahavir Hospital with an understanding that it be run on charitable terms – he served there for 20 years! He also offered his professional services for free at the Agha Khan Health Centre for 35 years!

Along with his wife Dr Alaknanda, he served thousands of poor patients at their clinic in Feel Khana – he always accepted “whatever” patients afforded to give him, and her fee being a modest Five Rupees for consultation and medicines. Many of what is now done routinely as expensive hospital-based procedures, he performed flawlessly in his own clinic.

An avid traveler, Dr. Shyam Raj traveled widely through America, Egypt, Europe, South Asia, Korea, Japan and Australia sharing his professional experiences globally, and interacting with a variety of people and cultures.

For the last few years, Dr Shyam Raj suffered from Parkinsonism. Yet there was a flow of old patients – many of whom came with a blind faith that Doctor Sahab should just touch their babies and it would heal them. Their “lambi umar ki dua” worked, and at the age of 83 and after having survived a Covid infection last year, he passed away peacefully at his Red Hills residence on Sunday.

His son, Dr Neeraj Raj recalls – “Papa was a highly sociable Hyderabadi and had wide circles of friends. He had a magnetic personality and charm – anyone who met him only once would remember him for their lifetime. His energy and enthusiasm were as infectious as the infectious diseases he treated!” He requests – “If your life has been touched by this legendary Hyderabadi doctor, kindly WhatsApp your experiences on +91 9849022365”.

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