At the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, where senior doctors are more often than not found fighting over the post of head of department, the senior-most professor has set an example by quitting the post six months before his retirement.
After serving as head of ophthalmology department for 25 years, Dr Amod Gupta handed over the baton to his immediate junior Dr Jagat Ram on Wednesday. However, Dr Gupta will continue to serve as professor till his retirement in August.
According to sources in the PGIMER administration, a couple weeks back, Dr Gupta had expressed his desire to PGIMER director Dr YK Chawla that he wanted to quit as head of the department.
When contacted, he confirmed the development and said the idea behind the decision was very simple. “My successor also needs some time to settle down and understand the functioning of the Advanced Eye Centre which treats thousands of patients every month. I want to mentor him for the new job,” said Dr Gupta.
Dr Gupta took over as head of the department from his teacher Dr IS Jain in 1989. His is considered one of the longest tenures of a head of department in any medical institute in the country.
While looking back at his journey, he said it was a wonderful time. “But one day everybody has to go home. We must accept that reality, otherwise when it comes to our wishes there is no end,” he quipped.
Dr Gupta, who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2014, is at the forefront of clinical research in ophthalmology and especially in the field of retinal and uveal diseases.
In the past nearly 20 years, he has contributed significantly in discovering new diseases, their clinical manifestations and new management strategies, which have brought about paradigm shift in management of several blinding diseases.
He did innovative work in using molecular techniques in diagnosing and characterising intraocular tuberculosis. Besides, he also described a new disease entity, ‘Tubercular Serpiginouslike Choroiditis’ now recognised world over and successfully managed, thereby preventing blindness from this hitherto incurable disease.
His work on the use of atorvastatin in management of diabetic maculopathy is extensively cited in the contemporary literature and provided initial evidence for recommending statins in patients with diabetic retinopathy.