Dr. Mohammad Shakeel , Head of Department Dentistry & Maxillofacial surgery SKIMS Medical College is a well-known name in the world of Maxillofacial related paradigms. He can be undoubtedly termed as father of Maxillofacial surgery in Kashmir.
In an exclusive interview with The News Kashmir Magazine , Dr. Mohammad Shakeel talks to Rameez Makhdoomi.
Sir What challenges you faced while establishing Maxillofacial Department at SKIMS ?
First of all there was no concept of maxillofacial surgery overall in Kashmir and that too particularly in SKIMS. It was a small Dental Department with a one chair, so when I joined with post graduation in 1978-79 in the subject I made it clear that we needs beds, separate theatre operating ward and related infrastructure .The authorities were bewildered that he is a dentist and why he needs all this? not knowing that Dentistry was my basic while maxillofacial surgery PG and a specialty like any other surgery Plastic surgery , Neuro surgery etc .So I had to face lot of music but during the era of Zaragar sahib as Director the Department grew substantially .
We are thankful to Allah we in 2014 in Kashmir conducted a mega conference on Maxillofacial with 300 surgeons from India and 12 international faculty.
Sir you also do surgical cleft and give hope to defaced faces by natural or other causes , how does it feel that you give hope to helpless ?
Believe me it is really great feeling. I have seen patients who have told me that to cure deformity lip, pellet ridden face they have sold their valuables but due to my contacts with reputed philanthropic organizations I have been able to do 2000 free cleft surgeries and giving hope to hopeless.
How far has pellets wrecked havoc on faces here and is their hope for pellet victims they can recover face, lip injuries etc?
We operated good number of pellet cases and there is definitely a hope for them and we have been successful already in this regard.
How do you view the standard of maxillofacial Department JVC You are heading ?
Maxillofacial surgery has grown to a big potential . This centre if you analyze is at par with any European Maxillofacial centre . Unfortunately we do not have enough number of beds, enough theatres, less staff but work vise we are top.
In past 20 years Maxillofacial has grown a lot and we are being invited as international faculty.
What has motivated you to serve your native land despite having opportunity to go global?
I love to treat people . I am a Doctor suppose I would have been labour; I would have had more testing life but God has given me this status so I take it opportunity to serve my people and I also advise youngsters to treat their own people first because everyone owes to his land lot.
What would you like to see more happening with reference to development of Maxillofacial department?
We would like to have separate ward, separate theatre and post graduation started. We have enough talent but we need this infrastructure.
Any special memory since your surgeries provides hope to hopeless?
Recently we operated a 29 year old youth whose face had lot of defaced and his family had gone to everywhere and we successfully via maxillofacial surgery changed his total face. This was positive metamorphosis for him.
Are you satisfied with growth of Maxillofacial related paradigms in India ?
Yes maxillofacial departments and related things in India have grown a lot and even in Kashmir it has grown a much .
Can our Maxillofacial Department compete at global level?
Absolutely over department can compete at global level. If our Department would not have been of global level than we would have not international faculty of maxillofacial visiting us, as in 2014 a dozen reputed international level Maxillofacial faculty came here.
Do you have coordination with globally reputed Maxillofacial institutes ?
Yes definitely we have lot of efficient coordination with reputed globally renowned Maxillofacial institutes and I can send youngsters to diverse reputed fellowships throughout world. I am associated with world renowned international organization “Operation Smile” and In January I Was invited and we did more than 160 surgeries and now I am once again being invited.
Your message to Doctors and Masses?
Doctors should work wholeheartedly and contribute to benefit to mankind and masses should trust doctors and not show trust deficit.