Lives of the fellows

Madhukar Dwarkanath Deshmukh

b.23 July 1914 d.25 January 1993
MB BS Bombay(1936) TDD Wales(1939) MRCP(1940) FCCP USA(1956) FRCP(1968) FAMS India(1971)

Madhukar Deshmukh was the son of an advocate, Dwarkanath Deshmukh. Born in a small town in the State of Maharashtra, India, his early education was at local schools and he proceeded to the University of Bombay where he entered the Grant Medical College and the Sir J J Group of Hospitals in 1931. He graduated with distinction, receiving many prizes and scholarships during his training. After completing a year as a house physician he came to the UK for postgraduate training at the Brompton Chest Hospital - now the Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Hospital - and at Hammersmith Hospital. He obtained his TDD in 1939 and in 1940 he passed the examination for membership of the College. With the advent of the second world war, he served in the RAMC as a medical specialist and on demobilization he became SMO at the Glan-ely Hospital, Cardiff, from 1947-52. It was during this period that his interest in tuberculosis was first kindled and set him on the road to many years of outstanding service to prevent and eradicate this scourge in India.

He returned to India in 1952 and was soon appointed as honorary professor of tuberculosis in his alma mater - the Grant Medical College - and also became head of the department of tuberculosis in the associated J.J. Group of Hospitals. He held this post with distinction until his retirement, when he was appointed emeritus professor and consultant in tuberculosis. He was the senior postgraduate teacher in tuberculosis at the University of Bombay and an examiner for the postgraduate degree on this subject at several other universities. He also served the Tuberculosis Hospital at Sewri, Bombay, as an honorary physician and was a visiting consultant at many others.

Apart from patient care, he soon joined forces with others to campaign for prevention, detection and control of tuberculosis in the State of Maharashtra, with a good measure of success. He travelled throughout the length and breadth of Maharashtra, setting up 1100 Shibirs (medical camps) in villages, demonstrating a system for the control of tuberculosis and other diseases in rural areas of India. His publications on the Shibirs are valuable reading for those who care for the millions who live in the villages of developing countries. To get his message across, he also organized 25 State Conferences on tuberculosis and chest diseases.

He published more than 175 scientific papers and articles in journals and books and was co-editor of the Indian Journal of Tuberculosis. He served as a member and expert on the committees of the Indian Council of Medical Research which were concerned with tuberculosis. From 1962-82 he was secretary of the Maharashtra State Tuberculosis Association and subsequently technical adviser to the Association. In 1992, towards the end of his life, he was appointed honorary director of the B B Yodh Memorial Tuberculosis Reference Laboratory and Research Centre and honorary emeritus technical adviser to the Association. He received the President of India’s gold medal for his outstanding work.

He married Marjorie Doris née Lucas, daughter of a building contractor, in 1939 and they had one son. Whenever he could spare the time from his busy schedule he enjoyed swimming and singing. He was a kind and gentle man, respected and befriended by many, and a pleasure to know both as a colleague and a friend.

N H Wadia

(Volume IX, page 127)

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