By ANJALI NAURIYAL
Meet the Luthra family of six docs who serve with the realization that the boundaries of both professional excellence and social responsibility have to be constantly crossed!
FATHER AND SONS
Six docs in the family and counting! The patriarch of the family and well-known eye surgeon, Dr MC Luthra, may have retired from actual practice but is happily engaged in the pursuit of social interests.It was in the 70s that he migrated from Pakistan and decided to settle down in Doon, when he got his first job with ONGC and worked with the organisation for the majority of his working years.
His wife Dr Savita Luthra started one of the first Gyne nursing homes in the city. In no time the couple became the most popular docs in the region. They were involved with a lot of charity and social work. That was their passion. In his active career MC must have easily organised over 200 free eye treatment camps and charitable cataract surgeries running into thousands. ONGC, which was a flourishing organisation, always supported his initiatives, and he brought a lot of new technology and equipment into the organization, especially after he helped set up the state of art ONGC Hospital in town.
Later in ’95 MC took premature retirement, and around this time his elder son Dr Gaurav Luthra joined him, after completing his degree from the prestigious Maulana Azad College, a brief stint at AIIMS, and training in Lasik surgery, Retina and PhacoEmulcification from abroad. All this was new and involved latest technology, and brought a sleepy little town like Doon, centre-stage. It implied cataract treatment without surgery and no stitches, which was a big thing for this part of the country.
“We had a dream of excelling and bringing in good services to the city as a team,” Dr Gaurav proudly states. “We started developing a team right from the beginning and getting like-minded eye surgeons associated with us. My brother Saurabh joined the team, and consolidated the efforts and this gradually led on to the introduction of many firsts in ophthalmology in the region to the extent that gradually Doon became the hub for ophthalmology,” he adds.
Today Drishti Eye Centre leads the pack of eye services and credited with having pioneered many niche specialties. If Doon today is the preferred destination for eye care treatment in all of western UP then credit is due to the professional skills, acumen and dedication of this trio.
It is not without reason that their centre today boasts of a huge influx of medical tourism from abroad. “ People seek us from abroad which is very heartening and implies that we are able to provide quality benchmark treatments,” avers Dr Gaurav. “Along with this we did not leave behind academic work. We are a group of ten eye-surgeons working in the hospital now covering various specialties such as ……..we work cohesively as a team but we also have regular academic classes and seminars and our doctors are highly represented in various national and international meetings and conferences. We are all presenting latest research workand doing a lot of original work. We get invited regularly. I infact go around teaching surgical skills. I have been actively involved in imparting surgical training. I hold live surgery programs all over the world, and am invited to conduct new surgical training programs where we teach all new technologies.
Dr Saurabh Luthra brought in an entire gamut of new cure and management techniques. After doing his post graduation from Maulana Azad College, he did his training at Shankar Netralaya Chennai, well known for many super and sub specialties. So now the dedicated team is able to offer the best of treatment related to cataract, cornea, glaucoma, neuro-ophthalmology, squint and padiatric ophthalmology, retina, uvea, oculoplasty, ocular oncology and refractive surgery.
MOM-IN-LAW AND DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW
Dr Savita Luthra trained in Lady Harding Medical College in the 60s. She was first employed at Ordinance Factory in Doon. Later she joined the Military Hospital before setting her own nursing home in 1969.
In no time she established her reputation as a reliable and trustworthy gynecologist treating ailments such as infertility, ovarian cyst, maternity issues, pregnancy problems and the like. She says that she believes in looking after the needs of her patients with a sense of commitment, care and compassion.
In 1998,Dr Savita was joined by a new member in her family, her elder daughter-in-law, Dr Arti Luthra.
Dr Arti was already a practicing gynecologist when she married Dr Gaurav Luthra. The field of obste-gyne was not up to the mark in the 70s, and was restricted to basic services. For advanced services like Laparoscopic surgery and infertility all the patients were being referred to metros like Delhi and Mumbai. The challenge before Dr Arti was to introduce all this and more in Doon itself. It was her dream to give the best of treatment to Doonites at their doorstep.
“My mom-in-law was already providing the best services in the field of obstetrics and gynecology but the latest advancements were added by me and of course joining her was a huge advantage as we had the good load of patients and till today we are treating third generations of patients” says Dr Arti. “It is a great pleasure to be treating family after family, decade after decade, and a matter of great pride,” she avers. “Earlier we would invite experts from Mumbai, etc., but now we are providing all expertise here and not referring patients to Delhi or somewhere else,” she informs.
Helping the family assertion their aspirations is Dr Megha, wife of Dr Saurabh. Currently a professor of community medicine at MahantIndresh Hospital, she enjoyed a stint with WHO before she decided to go into teaching which is her passion. She has rejected many meaty offers to fulfill her duties towards her children first. As she says her future accomplishments can wait, till such time as her children grow up.
……….daughter of Dr Arti and Dr Gaurav has decided to follow the familial tradition. She has decided to become a doctor as the idea of helping people in distress fascinates her and she feels that in this profession she will be able to earn more respect in society and earn the fruits of good karmas and gain inner satisfaction. Similarly their son ………….wants to follow the footsteps of his father and grandfather and join the same field and bring the most advanced health care to the people of Doon. The dream of their youngest son ,,,,,,,,,,,,too is to be a doctor.
The family lays strong emphasis on service to humanity and runs Drishti Foundation (DF) to support patients who cannot afford latest treatments. Rather than holding free camps, which a lot of other organizations are doing, DF tries to identify those patients who need advanced eye care of some kind, which is not possible for them to get in camps or through government hospitals. For instance one of the big projects that the foundation is doing is dispensing eye care to children and paedriatic surgery. There are lot many children from marginalized families who require eye surgery;these children are given timely support and hundred percent free treatments. Some of the foundation’s beneficiary organizations have been BalVanita Ashram, Him Jyoti School and Saheli Trust. DF also holds regular glaucoma awareness programmes etc. quality and affordable health care and fulfilling social responsibility.