Dr Houriya Kazim with her father Dr Ahmad Kazim Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dr Houriya Kazim, well-known Emirati breast surgeon and daughter of Dr Ahmad Kazim, the first Emirati surgeon in the UAE who passed away yesterday, has paid rich tributes to him, both as a professional and father figure.

A true professional, Dr Houriya was at her clinic today, paying tributes to him through her work.

Reminiscing her father’s earlier days and struggles, she told Gulf News: “Originally from Dubai, he was sent to high school (Francis Xavier) and medical school (Grant Medical College) in Bombay. While at medical school, the Partition (of India) happened. He graduated from Grant Medical College in 1950. He could not stay in the newly partitioned Bombay. And since there were no big hospitals to work in Dubai, he applied for various jobs around the world. These included the oil fields of Abadan in Iran, Aden, Brazil and so on. He got his first job offer for the post of a casualty officer at the Port Of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad, West Indies.”

She said, “Eventually, he went to London to train as a bone specialist, got married to my mother (Sultana Faruk). Subsequently, I was born. He was the first Emirati surgeon receiving his fellowship in surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh in 1958 and from the Royal College of Surgeons in England in 1960. He then returned to Trinidad in the summer of 1962. He continued to work at POS General Hospital and at his private orthopaedic practice there until 1977, when he returned to the UAE.”

As a daughter who deeply cherished her relationship with her father, Dr Houriya said, “My father - an anatomy whizz and accomplished surgeon - had little sense of direction outside of the human body. My whole childhood was filled with him pointing out various landmarks to me. He would say, ‘when you see the Trade Centre, follow this road. It’ll take you home’. Or ‘this tree (in a savannah of trees!) is the one closest to home. Little did he know that ‘HE’ was my landmark! The one I looked up to when I was lost. The one I sought out when I needed direction. Yesterday, my landmark left for his heavenly abode. And when it’s time to go home, I hope I hear his voice again!”

Beautiful memories

Dr Nishi Srivastava, consultant virologist and infection control specialist who worked closely under Dr Kazim at the Dubai Hospital shared some beautiful memories. “Dr Ahmed Kazim was my profoundly respected senior colleague, friend , mentor and a father figure. I deeply valued his presence and guidance in all the 11 years that I worked with him at the Dubai Hospital.”

Dr Nishi Srivastava

"Infection control is a complicated area of work as we have lately witnessed during the pandemic. However, infection outbreaks in the microcosm of a hospital is a day to- day challenge."

"Along with his competence as a surgeon, he was truly an anchor with his old world charm and courteous manner, and worked as a steadying, calming influence in trying times. Words fail me to describe the loss of a towering personality like Dr Kazim. It is a great loss to the medical community of UAE. Personally for me, it is like losing a father,” she said.