Saturday, October 03, 2015
From Print Edition
An extraordinarily kind and humble man, French surgeon Dr. Philippe Patenotre from Médecins du Monde or Doctors of the World is known for developing a special bond with his patients.
This is his fourth visit to Pakistan in the past two years under the MdM mission. Interestingly, he always volunteers to do his part of work in Pakistan. “Patients in Pakistan are very moving. They are so thankful and appreciative and give ultimate respect. It is rare to find such sentiments anywhere else in the world,” said Dr Phillipe in an interview to ‘The News’. It brought tears to his eyes when he described the affection and love he receives in Pakistan.
“He enjoys giving French names to his patients and also mingles up with them as if they were his family members. He neither visits any place nor does he attend any lunch or dinner. His team’s only objective is to perform as many surgeries as possible,” said Muhammad Khan Executive Director Acid Survivors Foundation.
MdM is an international humanitarian non-profit organization that provides emergency and long-term medical care to vulnerable populations while advocating for equal access to healthcare worldwide. Founded in 1980 by a group of 15 French physicians, the MdM was formed with a mission to provide timely emergency medical care free of legal and administrative restrictions, to work with local populations to ensure long-term sustainability of healthcare systems, and to advocate on behalf of client populations. They started their work in Pakistan in 2005.
Under this initiative, a team of French doctors visit Pakistan for 10 days after every six months. Only during the latest visit, Dr Philippe performed 28 free surgeries on patients who could not afford the expensive treatment otherwise.
Head of the team of Pakistani doctors, who assist Dr Phillippe also spoke highly of the humbleness and hard work of the French team. “They start at 7:30am in the morning and continue till 8pm,” said Dr Tasneem of Rehnuma FPAP.
Talking about the hurdles he faces in treatment of his patients, mostly violence victims, Dr Phillippe said that on every visit, he finds improvement in all terms. Some cases he has dealt with were challenging though. “Back in France, I usually perform reconstruction procedures on patients of brain or breast cancer,” he said.
For him, the most challenging case was of acid burn victim Nazeeran. “She had 80 percent burns and I faced some disappointment at the start as her skin was not responding to surgeries as expected.”
Dr Philippe performed two major surgeries on Nazeeran involving multiple procedures. “I am glad that she has turned into a confident person leading a normal life.”