Dr. Shaista Effendi

The first toy which was presented to me by my mother on my request was a doctors’ set when I was quite young. And that’s where it all began,” says Dr.Shaista, a Consultant, Reconstructive, Aesthetic and Burns Surgeon in Karachi. Trained at the DOW Medical College in Pakistan and then in the United Kingdom and the United States, Dr.Shaista was very clear about her aims and objectives since she was a young girl. It was in her third year at DOW Medical College when a little boy with a bite on his hand visited the hospital but there was no plastic surgeon to help him and from there she knew plastic surgery is what she wants to specialise in.

Trained under the guidance of some of the best consultants from across the world for reconstruction, Dr. Shaista returned to Pakistan to help her own people. She joined DOW University and helped to revamp and renovate the system there from the hiring and training of teachers to the examination systems for students. She also helped to develop the Burns Centre in Civil Hospital, Karachi. “The Burns Centre is the largest in Pakistan and we treat a variety of patients including acid and flame burn victims. It is very difficult to turn a poor patient away who is in such desperate need of help,” explains Dr.Shaista. Therefore, she worked hard to enlarge the facility and help as many patients as possible. “Our country is like heaven, filled with good people. Once they know they are contributing to the good and honest cause, they do not hesitate to give. And this public-private sector partnership still continues.” While supporting many causes, Dr.Shaista continued her research and training and the kind of training required for such a field is no doubt, strenuous, and she finds this to be a constant battle. She did, at times, feel weak when she found the lack of support from the people she considered her mentors. “There’s a constant male grouping that happens. They’re like armed forces standing against you,” she says, but one has to realise that each such instance is something to learn from and must be considered a stepping stone towards the ladder of success.

“Looking back I do wonder how I did it all,” Dr.Shaista says with a smile. “Before I was married, I had no lateral worries and all I had to concentrate on was my work, my passion. My parents would visit me every 6 months and it was would work out perfectly. But when I returned to Pakistan and got married, it was a whole new ball game where I had to juggle so much simultaneously. When I’d be at work, I’d worry about home and vice versa. Sometimes, I did feel guilty that I wasn’t giving enough time to my children but thankfully, my mother chipped in a lot with them. After all, 24 hours in a day are a lot, and I pulled through those difficult days,” she reminisces.

The very passionate and empathetic Dr.Shaista has a very different take on beauty. “A woman is very strong and her beauty is something that is reflected from within her. The features of a woman’s face and her skin colour are immaterial,” she believes. Therefore, when she receives burns or acid victims, their complete rehabilitation does not only include their own counselling but also the counselling of theie near and dear ones. They have to understand where the patient’s real beauty lies, support them by acceptance and reassurance to help the patient become comfortable in their own skin. Dr.Shaista did a special diploma in counselling in the later years of her career to make this possible for her patients and their families.

Considering her personal life, this highly accomplished plastic surgeon feels her children are her miracles but when looking at her professional sphere, each time a patient leaves after being treated is her Miracle Moment. Also, every time Dr.Shaista acquires new qualification, it is a very pleasant moment for her. Indeed, there is no age limit to learning and when we have doctors such as Dr.Shaista in Pakistan leading the field of medicine, the poor health conditions of the country are sure to improve soon. People say that doctors develop thick skin and patients are a mere product for them on which they have to work, without any feelings attached, but the Miracle Journey of Dr.Shaista Effendi proves them wrong at so many levels.