July 15, 2024

Dr. Farokh Erach Udwadia

Our People on the Hills

Dr. Farokh Udwadia is a well-known and respected Physician in the medical community and among his patients for his ability to make correct diagnoses and treatment. Dr Udwadia always says ‘Medicine is learnt at the bedside’. He is more known for his diagnosis based on physical examination with human qualities of doctor-patient interaction, empathy, compassion and care. 

Dr. Udwadia has a long list of medical credentials. Dr. Udwadia graduated from the University of Bombay, with MBBS in 1953 and MD in 1956. In the year 1969, at 38 years of age, he was the youngest Indian to be elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, England. Since 1958 he is associated with B.D. Petit Parsee General Hospital as an Honorary Consultant Physician and since 1964, as a Consultant Physician and Consultant-in-Charge of the Intensive Care Unit at the Breach Candy Hospital.

He is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Grant Medical College and the JJ Group of Hospitals, where he has taught many medical students for over 5 decades. He has received numerous prizes and accolades for his medical work. He has written books and research papers that have been published in international and national journals. In 1987, Dr Udwadia was honoured with the Padma Bhushan for his contribution to Medicine.

Many of Dr Udwadia’s lectures and talks are accessible for public viewing which are uploaded on YouTube. Just type Dr Farokh Udwadia on google search and click on videos. He is also a very good speaker, the manner in which he expresses the diction, phrasing, all are perfect like his diagnosis.

In his medical talks Dr. Udwadia highlights the need of listening to patients with empathy and deep caring which helps in building faith and forming a doctor-patient bond. Faith he says has a remarkable ability to heal since it dwells in the mind and influences the body. Dr Udwadia shares his views on why he believes the study of arts, culture, music, painting and other humanities are essential to help a physician in their practice of medicine. He says only a good man can be a great physician and talks about essential qualities such as generosity, beneficence, equanimity and judgment, besides medical competence in their field.

This is how family members of patients who were under Dr. Udwadia’s medical care describe him.

Roshan, resident of Nepean Sea Road, rushed her husband to Parsi General Hospital when he suddenly fell sick. He was referred to Dr. Udwadia, who conducted a thorough physical examination while constantly interacting with him. After the examination he took Roshan into confidence and told her he suspected cancer. Later the medical reports validated his diagnosis. After studying the reports he asked Roshan to take him home, in few weeks her husband passed away as the illness was in a very advanced stage. Roshan says Dr. Farokh Udwadia is a good doctor having human qualities; his advice was right as it spared her husband of painful cancer treatments with no beneficial results apart from running huge hospital bills.

Hormazd, resident of Grant Road says his aunt was under treatment of Dr. Udwadia for high diabetes. At the Parsi General Hospital he says Dr. Udwadia was disciplined with his staff but his behavior towards his aunt was the exactly opposite. I will never forget the compassionate way he treated his patients.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director General, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) says “Dr. Farokh Udwadia is a multifaceted personality who we know for many years. Of course, his contribution in medical science is known to everyone. What we do not know about him is his deep interest in history, art, and culture. He is a prolific speaker who addresses many critical issues related to medical, social, and cultural history. Dr. Udwadia’s recent major publication ‘Tabiyat – Medicine and Healing in India’ was an eye-opener. His research and interpretation has always been guided by history, tradition, art, literature and science but his emphasis on human sensibilities touched us most”.

Anita Garware, resident of our Hills, says “To me Farokh has been a most loving friend, guide and philosopher for over 50 years. We have had most memorable journeys in India and overseas. Often I wonder when he had the time to acquire the in-depth knowledge on history, art, archaeology and music, besides medicine. Farokh has written several books on medicine. After seeing the play ‘Oganga’ scripted by him on the life of Dr Albert Schweitzer I truly respect his wonderful mind”. They share their passion to serve humanity and reverence for all life.

We are happy and privileged to publish this article about Dr. Farokh Udwadia and wish him a long and healthy life.

Editorial Committee of ‘The Voice of Malabar Hills’.