27 Sep 2022

Doctor MPS Menon Passes Away: Homage to My Dear Guru

On 15 December 2018, Dr. M P Shivashankara Menon (MPS Menon) passed away (1936-2018). His death happened in one of his favorite place – Delhi, the city, which hosted him as a doctor, where he spent most of his life. My professor Dr. R Viswanathan and Dr. MPS Menon, where the two charismatic personalities at VP Chest Institute in the 80s, until their retirement.

It was in the 80s, while doing my MD, that I met Dr. Menon for the first time. More than the Malayali consideration, Dr. Menon had a special affection towards me and he visibly maintained it throughout his life.

In Kerala when CT Scan was introduced (first in Amrutha hospital and then in Fathima hospital), many of the doctors did not know the technicalities involved with it. Though I knew the relevance of conducting CT Scan, I too was ignorant on its operational functions. When I discussed with Dr. Menon, who knew the structure and operations of CT more than any radiologist, he promptly asked me to come over to Delhi. Besides teaching the nuances of CT Scan, Dr. Menon arranged for my stay in the doctor’s quarters and used to frequently take me home and hosted with homely food.

He continued to nurture the relationship and made it a point to visit me at chest hospital whenever he visited Calicut. Besides, he used to come home to savour his favourite

I have no words… words to describe Dr. Menon. He was a good teacher, an excellent doctor, very knowledgeable and research oriented intellectual. He had in depth knowledge on Asthma and other related subjects. Along with various articles in medico journals, he has to his credit, innumerable chapters authored for medical research/text books. He was a keen and studious researcher on the illness ABPA- Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis. His books — Asthma a Medical Enigma: How to Control It, Pulmonary Tuberculosis etc ­—were very popular and got translated into Bengali.

Dr. Menon took his MBBS from Madras University and MD from university of Delhi. He is also bestowed with FCCP degree from America. He was the doctor representative from India in WHO for many years. He never sought publicity but was content engaging with his research, students and patients. He staunchly believed in doing his Karma without expecting anything in return. May be it is due to this detachment, that even the news of his demise reached me a month later.

He was guiding spirit for many hospitals in Kerala. The Shanti Hospital in Calicut, Valluvambram hospital in Ottappalam, etc still stands testimony, to the selfless services he rendered. Other than medical field he was interested in many social issues. His book ­— Narayana Menon: A Forgotten Pioneer, Malabar 1920-1947 — biographical note on the political activist, invited a lot criticism. He has sought my help in collecting documents and research materials for this book, which I could manage from the archives of Mathrubhumi, Farooq College library and many other libraries. In the preface of the book, besides acknowledging my contribution he also wrote a line in recognition stating that “student will become the teacher of the Guru”. This book later got translated and published into Malayalam (Malabar Samaram: MP Narayana Menonum Sahapravarthakarum) in August 1992 by the Islamic Publishing House.

His son BK Menon is a doctor at his favourite institute —Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute — in New Delhi. Dr. Menon’s health deteriorated in the last few years and he was admitted more than 5 times to the ICU. He had serious Kidney problems. His son was beside him when he peacefully passed way.

Many renowned students of Prof. Menon are spread across Kerala. Dr. VK Vijayan, the Ex Director of ICMR (currently with Chest Department, Baby Memorial Hospital, Calicut), Prof. KP Govindan, Retd. Head, Chest Department, Calicut Medical College, Dr. P. Sukumaran, Head, Chest Department, Kottayam Medical College etc are a few of them. Many acclaimed chest specialists, taught by him are spread across India too.

Dr. Menon is no more. His loss, I feel, is not only for the medical science, but I consider it as a big personal loss too. The large number of students who were blessed to have him as guru…, the people who interacted with him…, those who took advice or help from him…, will never ever forget his simplicity and positiveness.

Bid Adieu Sir… May Your Soul Rest in Peace….!


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