Giving Something Back - Dr Muffazal Lakdawala talks with You & I

He is the founder and chief surgeon of the Digestive Health Institute by Dr Muffi, the first Indian Centre for Excellence in Bariatric Surgery. He is the chairman of the Institute of Minimal Invasive Surgical Sciences & Research Centre, Saifee Hospital, Mumbai and the President of IFSO- Asia Pacific chapter. He has performed bariatric surgeries on several famous personalities within India and around the world.

A published author whose debut book, The Eat-Right Prescription, was released in 2016, Dr Lakdawala is also a TEDX speaker whose talk on the dangers of sugar was very well received. This month we caught up with the acclaimed doctor to find out more.

You’ve had a pretty spectacular journey so far. Tell us more.
The journey of a young middle-class Muslim boy from Bhendi Bazaar to being the surgeon of the Vice-President of India has been exciting to say the least. No member of my family was a doctor to lead the way. It has been a journey of personal ups and downs that did not deter me from my goal of making a mark in the surgical world.

There was a lot of hard work and sleepless nights, with only one aim: to somehow save another life. I learned that the maximum satisfaction one achieves is not by making the big bucks, but by giving back to the less privileged.

You’re a celebrity figure yourself, because of the well-known faces you’ve operated on. How do you handle the tag of being a ‘celeb-doc’?
It’s not a fair tag, as the real celebs are the ones I have luckily had the opportunity to operate on. I am just another surgeon who knows that it takes a mere second to go from hero to zero, so I shy away from that publicity.

What are some of the biggest challenges that come with your profession?
It’s not an exact science, and you are only as good as your last patient. There is no permanent glory here; you could be the best in the business, do a perfect job and yet still land up on the losing side. The human body is full of surprises.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
A chance to give back to society. You are probably the only person besides God that might be able to have an opportunity to save the most powerful man or woman on earth.

If there were a piece of advice you could give your younger self, what would it be?
Spend time with your family and friends, tell them you love them as often as possible. Spend moments with positive people and don’t bother about the negative ones; they do not matter.

What are some of your other interests and hobbies? How do you like to unwind?
I enjoy music very much and play cricket when I can. When we travel, I love scuba diving and taking photographs. Seeing the world and meeting new people is always wonderful.        – as told to Suneela