An Epitome of Compassion: Late Dr Shamsher Singh


Remembering my father Late Dr Shamsher Singh on his birthday. Throughout his life he was a living example of kindness, empathy towards the suffering and dedication towards his profession. He shall always remind us of “Service of Mankind is Service of God” !

Sharing an anecdote from his life showing you what kind of kind and compassionate soul he was. Read on..

This is an anecdote of those days when there were not many eye surgeons around and eye surgeries were not daycare surgeries as they are these days.  For example, after a cataract surgery, patients used to stay in the hospitals for five to seven days. Dr. Shamsher Singh’s Hospital was a 100-bed hospital but there were many times when the overflow of patients would require extra temporary tents to be erected in the hospital grounds.  Surgery cases usually were kept away from infected cases like those of corneal ulcers.  


That day, I had just returned from the hostel, and my father, Dr. Shamsher Singh, had just finished with a long surgery list and an even longer outpatient list.  He asked my mum and me to stay ready to go to Ludhiana, a city about 50km away, as he was exhausted and wanted to get away from any more work. We waited in the car as he finished his last couple of cases and sat in the driver’s seat.  He had driven barely a couple of feet when an oldish-looking man with a stick in hand threw himself on the car bonnet and said, “Doctor, I am having a lot of eye pain. Do something for it.” My dad stopped, got out of the car, and said to the patient. ” I have already seen you and given you treatment.  What else do you want me to do? You should go to your bed.” I thought, very unlike him, he seemed a bit harsh on the patient. It only indicated to us that he was really finished with his patience after such a long tiring day.  The old man got to one side. My dad sat in the car and we were on our way. 


No one spoke a word for about a couple of miles. Then suddenly my dad stopped the car and turned it around and we were back home which was on the hospital premises. Still no words, he exited the car and walked towards the hospital. I followed him just a few steps behind.  


After a while, I found myself in a tent where corneal ulcer patients were admitted. He looked for that old man who was in pain. The old man was lying on a bed with his arm wrapped around his eyes and face.  My dad sat on his head side and spoke. ” Baba ji, is the pain really bad? I have already given you all the medicines  I could. The only other thing I can do for you right now is massage your head. Let me do it for you.”  I stood at the foot end of the bed over the next fifteen minutes or so, witness to something that I would carry with me throughout my life.  




Dr.Sarbjit Singh
Consultant Ophthalmologist & 
Medical Director,

Dr. Shamsher Singh Eye Hospital,

Khanna, Punjab, India 141401

20 thoughts on “An Epitome of Compassion: Late Dr Shamsher Singh”

  1. Dr.Sushil Kumar Gupta, Moga

    I know Dr.Sahib since my childhood when he was posted at Sidhwan bet,Moga nd Khanna.My father and your father were class fellows in medical school.They used to meet often.later when I was resident at PGI Chandigarh Uncle came there for refresher course in 1967 .Then I became more intimate nd remained in his contact.
    He was a saint nd pride of medical profession as I always narrate him in one sentence.

  2. Greatness comes through actions like those mentioned by you in this blog.
    May your dear father’s soul continue to rest in peace.
    Waheguru hi.

  3. He was a living example of not only what a doctor ought be like, but what a human ought to be like!
    What a beautifully written narrative!

  4. Dr.Anand V.Pangarkar

    A very compassionate doctor..His kind words, Soothing touch ,I am sure , must have given relief to the patient. A rare quality now a days

    1. Yes, he was a very compassionate human indeed. I shared this story with the younger generation so that they know what being a doctor or humanity is all about. Thanks for your time.

  5. Dr Prajakta singh

    Respected sir
    It’s truly an inspirational story
    So moved to read it
    We are thankful for sharing it
    We young surgeons really need such push
    It’s like adrenaline
    Thank u so much for sharing

    1. I am so glad it had a positive impact on you. My purpose of sharing the story has been achieved. Thank you and let compassion and empathy always guide you. Regards

  6. That story in the end shows how much empathy he had towards his patients.
    Reminded me of my Mama Ji Dr Pritam Singh Coonar another eye surgeon of the same era.
    These guys were the pillars of society!

    They b

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