Not withstanding VOLTAIRE's mordant quip that "Doctors are men who prescribe 
medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases they know less, in human 
beings of whom they know nothing.",medicine has never lost its pristine 
allure, possibly because, if properly exercised, in the right spirit, it 
remains one of the most idealistic and altruisitic of professions: Louis is 
Pasteur's painstaking work in the chemistry of life(the basis for the work of 
Lister, Roux and others;) the fatal abnegation of Marie Curie's radium 
research; the tenacious inquisitiveness of Alexander Fleming's mind have all 
been beacons that have illumed the vision of generations of students 
contemplating their future, without forgetting the soul-stirring Albert 
Schweitzer, celebrated organist, eminent BACH specialist, superb doctor and 
Christian evangelist who preferred to labour in distant, God-forsaken Lambarene
(French West Africa) rather than accumulate wealth exercising any one of those 
professions. And, even to-day the inspiring example of of doctors working 
selflessly at great personal risk of life as associates of 'Medecins sans 
Frontieres' (Doctors without borders) in locales of war, pestilence and famine 
all indicating that the original Hippocratic creed still prevails on the whole.

  But the ravages of Time have taken a toll:in many countries, fortunately not 
all, the diaphanous veil of Idealism is being rent by a creeping wave of 
corrosive materialism.

  Fifty years back I read a revealing joke in the "Journal of the American 
Medical Association' that ran as follows:

  The visitor goes to see the doctor at his house, finds him out and meets his 
six years old daughter.

  "Father is at the hospital," she says "he has a very busy day there."

  "How so?".

  "Oh, he has a tonsillectomy, an appendectomy and a hysterectomy to-day."

  "My, my!Those ae very big words for a little girl like you .Do you know what 
they mean?"

  "Oh, yes.The tonsillectomy means fifty dollars, the appendectomy means two 
hundred dollars. The hysterectomy is best of all: it is one thousand dollars."

  I could not imagine then that there would come a time when, in certain 
countries, the last sentence of the little girl would epitomize the prevailing 
philosophy in medical practice.

  Fortunately, by and large, GOAN doctors have not fallen prey to such 
sentiments, possibly due to the solid ethical foundations bequeathed them by 
their forefathers and fathers(general term used, no offence meant to 

  Goans have always taken to the medical profession in a big way ever since 
the first graduates rolled out of GOA MEDICAL SCHOOL in 1846. .Dozens and 
dozens of others followed over the years, moving out to town and village, 
hospitals and sanatoria, as 'Delegados de Saude(Govt.Health Officers) in GOA 
and other Portuguese possessions.

  Who among us of an older generation can fail to remember the harried village 
doctor doing his rounds on the bicycle, standard leather bag strapped on the 
back seat? Or the town doctor who, at the end of a particularly hard case 
would be recompensed for his diligent labours with a live chicken or a huge 
bunch of bananas which he accepted with no lack of grace and a paternal smile 
on his face? And then, that gravest of all occasions, the 'Consulta'(experts' 
Consultation?) when the attending family physician,wrestling with baffling 
imponderables to arrive at a confident and precise diagnosis, would request 
the host to convene one or two other collegues and, when they arrived, all 
would huddle together discussing and arguing in hushed tones, sometimes with 
magesterial gestures until they arrived at a consensus, while from afar we 
watched and admired their learning and wisdom, bemoaning our own ignorance. 
And when the others had gone, the home doctor would sit and scribble out the 
prescription tailored for the occasion based on his deep knowledge of 
pharmacology acquired at the school benches and honed by experience: not for 
him the cut and dry, one-for-all formulations peddled by avid, commissioned 
salesmen. Those days are now gone, replaced by cold machines in even colder 

  Among the GOAN international trail blazers, Dr.GAMA PINTO deserves pride of 
place. Born in Saligao, he achieved great fame as an ophthalmologst in 
Portugal, and then went on to occupy the Chair of Ophthalmology at the 
University of Heidelberg(Germany,)then in the forefront of medicine.. He 
presided over the Ohthalmological session of the International Congress of 
Medicine held in Berlin in l890.When we went to Germany, we made it a point to 
visit Heidelberg to see the town where the GOAN banner had been raised with 
such distnction such a long time back..

  Dr.BETTENCOURT RODRIGUES also ranks high among the early Goan pioneers. Born 
of Goan parents in the Cape Verde Islands, where his father was posted, he did 
not attend GOA Medical School but studied medicine in Paris..He then set off 
for Brazil. He was one of the founding fathers of the 'PASTEUR INSTITUTE' in 
S.Paulo and, to this day, his full-size statue graces the entrance lobby of 
the institution. Fortunately, S.Paulo State Govt. has not succumbed to the 
temptation of disposing of the ancient, yellow and white house to real estate 
developers, as the Institute is situated on Avenida Paulista, the city's most 
highly prized and priced locations, known as S.Paulo's 5th Avenue. Later 
Dr.Rodrigues returned to Portugal and he became Minister Plenipotentiary at 
the VERSAILLES Peace Conference and in l928/29, Portugal's Foreign Minister.

  CAMILO DIONISIO ALVARES studied medicine in Lisbon. He discovered 
Leishmaniasis in Portugal and was the founder of Portuguese Tropical Medicine.

  FROILANO de MELLO studied in Goa and Germany. He contributed original 
resarch in leprosy and was a delegate to several International Congresses.. 
After the events of December l961, he moved from GOA to BRAZIL where he 
continued his great work. He was honoured in Brazil by having a street there 
named after him.

  BOSSUET AFONSO, of Betalbatim, studied in GOA, Germany and Viena. He did 
original research in X-rays.

  GOA MEDICAL SCHOOL stole a march over GRANT MEDICAL (Bombay), which grduated 
its first students only in 1851. Of the first batch of eight, three were 
Hindus, three Christians and two Parsis.Of the lot, four were GOANS: Bhau Daji 
Lad, J.C.Lisboa, Anant C.Dukle and Sebastiao Carvalho.

  BHAU DAJI LAD was born at Mandrem(pernem,Goa), coming to Bombay with his 
father who eked out an existence selling earthern images.At first he worked at 
the Elphinstone Institute as a teacher.But, when GRANT MEDICAL opened its 
doors, he joined up.Dr.LAD achieved great prominence as a doctor and as a 
botanist.He was responsible for the building of the Victoria Gardens and 
Museum..He was the first Sheriff of Bombay, appointed in 1869 and again, in 
1871.Dr.Lad was prominent in projects that furthered the education of women. 
He founded the Bombay Presidency Association, a political organization, 
immediate forerunner of the Indian National Congress.

  J.C.LISBOA was from Assagao(GOA) He too showed considerable interest in 
botany, possibly because, at the time, cure for diseases was sought in 
medicinal plants. Dr.Lisboa studied medicinal plants extensively and, his two 
books "The Grasses of Bombay Presidency" and "The Medicinal Plants of Bombay 
Presidency" are well known. Two plants have been named after him 'Tripogen 
Lisboa' and 'Andrepagan Odoratus Lisboa' for the sterling work done in the 

  ANANT.C.DUKLE was from Calangute His father went to Bombay in search of a 
living, with two sons. But, his sudden and untimely death forced the two boys 
to take up employment at the Mintat Rs3/ per month!The older brother left the 
job and started a chemist's business,switching on to photography later(as I 
understand, his descendants continue this business in Dhobitalao).Success in 
business enabled him to put the brother through medical school. In the course 
of time, Dukle became a leader in the profession and was appointed the first 
Superintendent of Vaccination in1858. He was the first to popularize small-pox 

  These pioneers were followed by ACACIO VIEGAS. In 1896 when bubonic plague 
struck Bombay, it was Dr.Viegas who traced the cause of the epidemic and 
helped save thousands of lives. He is also known as the Father of the 
Technological Dept. of the University. A street in Cavel, Bombay is named 
after him.

  Another GOAN to carve a niche in the pantheon of medicine is V.N.SHIRODKAR 
who achieved fame internationally by devising an operation in gynecology that 
carries his name.

  And who can forget Dr.ERNESTO BORGES, oncologst at Tata Memorial of whom it 
was said that "he could walk with kings and yet not lose the common touch" 
Because of his humanism and surgical skill, he made Tata Memorial the Mecca of 
hundreds of Goans.To many he was literally the 'Saint of lost causes(to apply 
the term normally reserved for St.Jude, and with due apologies to the Pope for 
unduly appropriating his power of cannonizing people) , someone they used to 
turn to in their afflictions.

  There was ARTHUR d'SA, the ever smiling general surgeon.He presided over the 
All-India Congress of Surgeons. To prove that the world is small and full of 
surprises, after many, many years I bumped into Dr.Arthur at LIMA(Peru) at the 
International Congess of Plastic Surgery, the last place I would have expected 
to meet him(to avoid misconceptions, I am not a doctor).It was a pleasant 
surprise for, when you are lost in a sea of strange faces in a foreign land, 
it is heartening to meet a Goan, specially a known one!

  CHARLIE PINTO of Candolim, was in the first batch of doctors that specalized 
in Plastic Surgery in the UK.But, he devoted more of his activity to the 
Maternity Home he ran at Dadar,near the Portuguese Church. I understand his 
children now own and run the Holy Family Hospital at Bandra, Bombay formerly 
belonging to the Medical Missionary Sisters.

  IVAN PINTO, cardiologist, whom I knew from very young, was always absorbed 
in his thought processes. highly intellectual. He was the first Indian to pass 
the MRCP(Lond) examination at the first attempt(MRCP-Ed and MRCP-Dub were 
easier to get through first shot, as was FRCS). Therefore, when 
Mrs.Vijaylakshmi Pandit, Jawaharlal Nehru's sister and then India's Foreign 
Minister visited London, IVAN was invited to the Indian Embassy there to be 
presented to her.

  JULIET d'SA SOUZA , renowned Ob & Gyn, was the first Goan, may be the first 
Indian, woman to occupy a Professorial Chair at GRANT MEDICAL

  BEATRIZ MENEZES BRAGANZA, descendant of a highly intellectual family from 
Chandor was the only Indian woman to get a Tata International Scholarship in 
1960-61.She did advanced studies at Columbia, Harvard, Copenhagen London and 
Sorbonne. She did yeoman's work at Tata Memorial.

  There were those Goan doctors who tried to be of service to the people in 
fields outside medicine, several of them being elected Mayors of Bombay. They 
include:M.U.Mascarenhas, Aluisio Colaco, Simon Fernandes and the father and 
son duo of Alban and Leon d'Souza.

  This does not by any means purport to be a fully exhaustive list of GOA's 
illustrious sons in Medicine. There must be many that merited being included 
and were left out because I have tried to include those that were outstanding 
or had some sort of "first" in their curriculum. From all those left out or 
their friends, I crave indulgence: the ommissions are due mainly due to 
unawareness, not studied design.

  References: Mons.F.X.Gomes Catao Subsidios parra a historia de Chorao 1966
  A.S.Priolkar Goa re-discovered
  Illustrated Weekly of India Ap.1980
  et al.

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