From Tendon Transplants to Eradication of Smallpox: What Pesi Did: A Surgeon’s Story


October 27, 2020

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From Tendon Transplants to Eradication of Smallpox

Engaging and lively memoir of an outstanding surgeon and humanitarian

‘What Pesi Did: A Surgeon’s Story’ by Dr Azmy Birdi tells the story of Dr Pesi Bharucha, based on a treasure trove of correspondence discovered after his death at the age of 98 in 2018. The book documents some fascinating stories about the work he had done in Jamshedpur.


It includes the ‘miracle case’ when he saved the life of a man who suffered 90 per cent burns and the time he spent five hours sewing back the severed thumb of a young boy. In the mid-1970s he was also chief co-ordinator of a successful World Health Organization campaign to eradicate a small pox epidemic in the region and built up the Steel City’s cottage hospital to the multispecialty Tata Main Hospital that serves the area today.

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Included are letters, certificates and photographs that along with the narration brings the book to life. As a doctor herself, Azmy explains medical procedures and terms in a way that makes it easily understandable to lay people. This book provides a snapshot of the history of India’s post independence and growing confidence to care for her population headed by highly accomplished professionals like Dr Bharucha and the dental surgeon, Dr Noshir Piroshaw whose expertise was such that the Tata Directors would time their dental treatment with the board meetings and was described as “a tooth artist”.The book brings back an ethos of an era gone by, of selfless service, high professionalism and unswerving adherence to ethical values in the medical world.

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