First Trauma Specialist

A car accident claimed three of his family members. But for the absence of proper preliminary treatment they would have been alive. He realized this and set out to fill the void. Aaliya Bashir reports
After completing a super specialty degree in Trauma Care, Dr Sohail Yaqoob Hakeem has become the first Trauma Care and Burns specialist in J and K. He pursued the super-specialty program, under a fellowship from National Board of Exams, Ministry of Health at Lok Manya Tilak Hospital, Mumbai.
At present there are only six doctors with the same qualification in the entire country. He is also the only Doctor of the State with an ATLS (Advance Trauma Life Services) instructor candidate status. This certification is done by the American College of Surgeons.
“I was yearning to get a Trauma care specialization, but the decision was tough,” say Sohail. To complete the super specialty he had to be away from his family. “I was not even entitled to any salary during my study leave,” says Sohail.
“But my family always helped me to pursue my dream of becoming a Trauma surgeon and managed things in my absence without any complain,” he adds.
Born on 14 Jan, 1969, Sohail belongs to Gopalpora in Kulgam. He was brought up in Srinagar and did his schooling from Burn Hall School. Then he studied at St. Joseph Baramulla for a year due to father`s posting and high schooled from DAV school Jawahar Nagar and Amar Singh College.
He was selected to MBBS in Govt. Medical College (GMC), Srinagar in 1897. He says, “It was the happiest moment of my life.”
In 1993, he completed his M.B.B.S degree and completed his residency at SMHS. He appeared for the PG exams held in 1997, but the results were delayed due to Mandal commission.
“As there was no opportunity for work here, I left for Saudi Arabia,” says Sohail. There he worked as a general practitioner in Al- Baha hospital.
While he was working there the results to the PG exams were announced. He secured a PG seat in Anaesthesia. But he did not return even though his father Mohammad Yaqoob (a retired session’s Judge) wanted him to.
He did not want to return to Kashmir at all, but that changed in the year 2000. A fatal car accident claimed the life of his father, four-year-old nephew and a yet unborn child of his pregnant sister in law. His sister in law was critically injured but she survived.
“I reached home two days late because of visa and travel delays,” Suhail says. “Everybody in our family blamed the non availability of Proper preliminary Treatment for the deaths. They were treated improperly and recklessly referred from one hospital to another without any intervention.”
The incident shook him up to the extent that he made up his mind to do something so that others don’t suffer, “like my family did” .He resigned from his job in Saudi Arabia. He came back and again appeared in the PG entrance exams in 2001 which he qualified .He did his PG in surgery from GMC Srinagar.
“I was always on the lookout for some higher studies in the specialty of Trauma. I enquired from my friends both in India and outside but in vain. However, I never stopped my hunt,” he says.
While doing his senior residency at SMHS hospital, he went to attend a Urology conference in Mumbai, where he interacted with some doctors who informed him of the super-specialty fellowship being started by National Board of Examinations, Ministry of Health.
In 2006, he appeared in the all India common entrance exams for the fellowship in Trauma care, and qualified. He chose Lok Manya Tilak Municipal Super specialty Hospital, Mumbai as it catered to Trauma care from not only all over Maharashtra but the neighboring Gujarat and Goa too.
In April 2009, he came back to Kashmir with the aim to provide humanitarian services in Trauma Care. “I had been offered lot of job opportunities from various private hospitals due to my expertise in new and upcoming branch. But, I came back only to serve my people,” Sohail says.
From the last one year he is working in the Health department and not practicing his specialty. “I do what everyone else does as a general practitioner seeing cough and cold. Although there is no one to blame because the system is not yet geared to start an emergency network services and a proper Trauma Care,” says Sohail.
For sohail, passion and perseverance is the real mantra of success. He also believes that if you are intelligent and know how to use your intelligence, you can reach any goal.

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