Behind the Curtains With Prof Dr. Khalid Masood Gondal

Behind The Curtains

by Moeed Ahmed,Laiba Khalid, Haania Khan and Taroob Latef


Prof. Dr. Khalid Masood Gondal

The Face of Mayo Hospital’s Surgery across the World

Chairman Dept of Surgery

Chairman Department of Surgery, KEMU

Regional Director CPSP, Lahore 

Senior Vice President CPSP

President society of surgeons of Pakistan

Proud of his humble background with a natural inclination towards religion, Dr. Khalid is a true patriot at heart and calls himself a “Pakistani/local product".

With the world's every possible degree to his asset and with the biggest social circle any doctor ever had, Dr. Khalid Masood Gondal is every right a master of all trades.

Dr. Khalid Masood, The Person Inside

What is your favorite color?
White and green

What is your favorite vacation spot?
I don’t have a specific place that I would like to go to. If I would find an opportunity, I would go for Umrah.

Out of all the places you have visited, what place do you like the best?
Canada. Vancouver, Niagara Falls to be specific.

What is your favorite home cooked meal?

Favorite eat-out place in Lahore?
There are so many but now-a-days me and my family are really fond of Laal Qila.

Favorite movie?
I don’t watch any.
“I have never been to cinema in my life.”

Are you in touch with your class mates?
We were the class of 1986. We have a Facebook group and I am in touch with most of them.

Do you play any sports?
I used to play village football which I continued when I came to KEMC. I still play table tennis.

How do you spend a regular Sunday?
Subha fajar ki namaz k baad, saaray sotay hain, hum bhe so jatay hain. Then I spend a couple of hours with kids. Also Sunday is the day when we gather with people from our neighborhood for a small brunch/lunch. We meet some of our relatives and then spend the rest of the evening with my in-laws.

Who did you vote for?
Muslim League (N).

If you were not a doctor?
Tou bhi doctor he hota!
Whatever I aimed for in my life, I achieved it. I never had a second thought. If you still want to know then if I hadn’t been a doctor, I would have perhaps gone into competition, CSS.

“Coming from District Mandi Bahauddin
I had already set my goals.
I wanted to get into GCU and then King Edward.”

Why did you become a doctor?
I wanted to serve humanity. Some people in my family wanted me to do CSS but my parents and especially I believed that medicine is a field in which you can serve humanity. And hence I decided to become a doctor to start with. Although, it is a difficult and long journey and you have to put in more effort as compared to other professions but I think in the end it is thoroughly satisfying.

Why did you become a surgeon?
I believe doctors should opt for their career in fourth and final year. In fourth and final year during my rotation, I compared medical ward with the surgical ward.

In medicine, your patient is your patient for eternity who you have put eternally on medicines, he will come to you regularly moaning and groaning with side effects and increasing problems. In surgery, even after a major procedure, apka patient do din baad khud masjid namaz parhnay jaraha hota hai and it is extremely gratifying for a doctor. I am not saying this is a hard and fast rule, I am just stating what happens in 8 out of 10 cases. The outcome of surgery convinced me to become a surgeon.

You had distinction in ENT. Didn’t you think about ENT?
I think that was by chance (he laughed). Aap logon ki ENT mae dhair saari supplian a gai hain, hamari distinctions ajati theen.

“Then and even now, it is said that to get a position or distinction
 it is necessary to be a son or daughter of a Professor
but I believe that those who study and work hard enough,
can achieve it too. If I being a son of a schoolteacher
from a small town can get a distinction (in ENT), anyone can.”

Did you never think about the workload of surgery? How much has it affected your personal and family life?
Sakht ho muqabla tou hai jeet ka maza!

The life of a surgeon is very busy and the cases are challenging but the result is better. Since my wife is very efficiently looking after my home and children, I have been able to give all my attention to my job. Though, I did need to make further time adjustment for my educational activities especially for College of Physicians and Surgeons and Society of Surgeons but in the end everything is manageable.

Surgery as a profession for females?
It’s a very good profession for females. In our eastern setup, the females would always prefer female surgeons especially for breast and perineal surgery. If females can perform good surgery of gynae and obs, they would be good surgeons. Yes, it affects your family life a bit but it depends upon the nature of the person, how much is she ready to accept the challenge.

How would you compare FJMC with KE?

I am a Kemcolian and therefore I agree that Kemcolians are the best!

They perform well and exalt the country’s name. But I also respect FJMC a lot and I will definitely praise it because I got married there. My wife is Associate Professor Pathology at FJMC.

Love or arranged marriage?

My wife has more than 90% role in the positions I have attained till day. She looks after the family, picks and drops the children, does her job, has adapted tremendously and encouraged me in pursuing my extra-curricular and academic activities. The status I have achieved till now couldn’t have been possible without her. All my qualities and achievements are because of her. She has adapted herself which is a very big thing. All my qualities and achievements are because of her.

I have four sons and one daughter, Amna. She is special because she’s the only daughter and she too realizes this. Her name is Amna, I am reminded of her whenever I meet someone of the same name, she’s in 8th grade and has been topping her class persistently. She wants to become a doctor and come to K.E. My elder son is in third year of Army Medical College and the younger two are preparing for their entry exams. The youngest son is in fifth grade.

What do you like the most about her?
There are so many good things. I think it needs another session (he smiled).

Did you ever think of settling abroad?
I am proud of being a Pakistani and I am proud of my Pakistani qualifications. Remember that FCPS from Pakistan CPSP is equal to the highest degree of the world at the moment. It is a blessing.

“Pakistan ko Allah ne bohat kuch diya hai,
aur apne mulk mein izaat bhe hai aur sukoon bhe hai.
Allah ne jo hamein mulk diya hai, usk behtreem mausam hain,
behtreen log hain, aur is mein izzat bohat hai.”

The highest degree of Royal College right now is FRCS right? Ye dekhen, ye lagi hui hai (pointing to one of the degrees from the array hung on his wall). President Royal College wrote to me saying “Dr. Gondal we would like to offer you FRCS”. This was an honorary degree, Fellowship without exam. This is the respect you get here. What is the highest degree in America? Fellow American College of Surgeons, right? Wo dekhen, wo lagi hui hai (pointing again). And I got both these degrees on the basis of my FCPS.

Once at Royal College of Physicians meeting in London we were 7 people from Pakistan. Jab janay lagay tu mere baki saathi kehtay “yaar suit baray fit honay chahye hamaray”. But 2 of us went in our national dress. Somebody even tried to change our minds by saying “Do in Rome as Romans do” but when we entered in our national dress, the office bearers themselves came forward to receive us asking “Is this your national dress?” Mazay ki baat hai k sab se zyada tasveerein hamari baneen aur hamaray sath baneen.

Do you have a favorite teacher that you remember and admire to this day?
There are 3 people in my life who have impressed me. First, King Edward Boys Hostel k masjid k Imaam, Maulana Muhammad Arif Sahab, father of the current Imam of mosque  Qari  Muhammad Imran. Unki duyaon aur dye gaye hoslay se mein aj yahan hun. Second, the late  prof.Dr.Nawaz, Principal of Rawalpindi Medical College. Jo behtreen qualities insaanon mein honi chahyen, wo us aik bandy mein saari theen. The best possible human being. Third, my trainer, my teacher, my mentor in surgery, the current President of CPSP, Dr. Zafarullah Chaudhry.

Among your colleagues, your trainees, your students; who according to you could be the next Dr. Gondal?
The mark of a good teacher is that he transfers his skill in a way that all his students turn out to be better than the teacher himself. Shagird ko ustaad se agay jana chahye. Mein apnay students ko itna sikhana chahta hun k wo mere se bohat agay jayen. To answer your question I feel that our current two professors, Dr. Ibrar and Dr. Asghar Naqi are both brilliant.
However if you ask me to name one from among my trainees i would say i feel Dr. Umair Ahmed Khan has a lot of potential.

Every day in Mayo’s Emergency is a day like no other. But I do remember two extremely challenging surgeries that I think touched my heart. One, during a fight in Gawal Mandi a guy got stabbed in the heart and the patient landed directly in Emergency. I was SR at the time. We did crash thoracotomy, opened heart, there was a small rent in it, plugged it with my finger, sutured it, heart began beating again, placed a chest tube and a week later patient salute kar k jaa raha tha !

Second, a 7th grader was jumping over his school fence when his jaw got caught on the wire. He was still hanging from there when 1122 reached. Credit goes to 1122 that instead of disentangling him they cut the piece of wire and brought him with his jaw still caught on it. We dislodged it and repaired his facial injuries. 24 hours later Alhmadullilah he was fit as a fiddle.

Would you like to be VC someday?
These things are by Allah and I personally feel that “jitna diya mujhe itni meri aukaat na thi”. I have been blessed more than I have deserved. With Chairmanship of Surgery KEMU, CPSP which looks after 272 institutions, 82 outside Pakistan, 21000 trainees, 3000 supervisors I believe that if I can do them in the best way  possible then I would feel that that’s enough. 

“I don’t have any such desires at the moment, jo kuch hon, main kafi hon.”

What would you say about the current VC?
He is my teacher, he was Assistant Professor North Medicine when I was a student and he is a good administrator and a great teacher. I have immense respect for him.

What is your current goal in life?

Dunya baqadr e muqadar hai.
You shall have what you are fated to have.
Effort has to be done for the life hereafter.
Dunya is not on my list of current goals.

What I have already been blessed with is sufficient and I am content with my life. The life here after is important, and if you didn’t do anything for that life than you have done nothing in this world. My goal is to make something out of the short time I have left so that the everlasting life is spent well.

Where do you get this religious side from?
The roots come from my family. When I was at school, my father would teach us these things, that you should not just target the “dunya”, when you are living your way through this temporary life, the everlasting life should always be at the back of your mind. Family’s role is very important.

My father was a school teacher, he retired as a headmaster. My mother was a house wife, she did not go to school. My father would supervise our education and I give him all credit for it, but it was my mother’s love and support that got us through. After matric whenever I would come from home, my mother would pack “panjeere” in my bag. I have never returned to Lahore without that panjeere. I have 4 sisters and 4 brothers. One of them is a doctor besides me, one of them works with the Chief Minister.

What do you do to keep you in touch with spirituality?
For a Muslim, praying five times a day, reciting the Quran and appointing some of my time, in which I remember Allah,  even minutes. That is what I think is the best reminder that keeps spirituality intact.

Do your children take after you in this regard?
Both my elder sons are Hafiz-e-Quran MashaAllah. And have been reciting during taraweehs for the last 3-4 years.

Do you visit your villiage often?
Yes. I am regular, I visit every month, and when people from my village come here and specially look after them.

If you are given the opportunity to go back in time, would you change anything?
For “dunya” I don’t think I want any more than this. But if I go back , I would try to be a better human being. If I can realize those changes today and ask Allah for forgiveness and live the rest of my days accordingly, then it would be compensated.

Do you have any retirement plans?
That’s 8 years away. Why are you asking me this now? (he laughed)
My plans for then and my plans for now are the same. Jo planning karni chahyai wo marna ki baad ki zindagi ki karni chahyai.

Dr. Khalid Masood, The Professor

What are your criteria to pass and fail in prof?
At undergraduate level, the examiner should try to explore the knowledge the student already has and not look for what he himself knows. At post-graduate level, you assess the students for both parts. At undergraduate level, the attitude of the teacher is very important. The teacher is not a director but a facilitator and should have an empathetic attitude.

There are two attitudes of a teacher during viva. One is that you have come from home in an angry mood and ask a question. The student takes a long time to think and you begin to rebuke him (Pata hi nai. Parh k nai atay ho. Tum log ho hi aesay. T-shirt pehn k a jatay ho). You ask him the next question and he won’t be able to tell. The other attitude is that a student answers a question and you appreciate him. You ask him another question and he answers with increasing confidence.

On what basis would you fail a student?
Why would I fail a student ?! *laughter* I don’t like failing students. There must be a standard setting. The written paper should carry 50-60% weightage. During long and short cases we set certain important questions that need to be answered to pass.

What improvements do you think that the examination system of KE needs?
I think the evaluation system needs constant revamping. In our times the theory paper was such that the longer the answer, the more the score. Although this might still be the case but the concept has overall changed and the examination system changed at world level, MCQs , SEQs were added, the examination became more objective, the element of subjectivity was removed. I think currently in KEMU the examination system is being revamped appropriately and the international requirements are fulfilled.

For policy-makers, I would like to say that the training of teachers is important. Every FCPS, FRCS cannot be a good teacher. To be a good teacher, you have to undergo different teaching courses. We have introduced some courses at the level College of Physicians and Surgeons like educational planning, evaluation, assessment of competence and supervising skills. Similarly, training courses for teachers have begun at KEMU. Despite all the degrees I have got, I felt that in order to become a good educationist and teacher, I need to do post-graduation in medical education. So I did masters in the field of medical education. Teaching and clinical skills are different fields. So, to become a teacher, clinicians must acquire training.

Don’t you think that theoretical exam should be removed and students should only be tested on MCQs?
Remember 3 domains of testing are very important:
1. Cognitive testing of your knowledge which includes C1-recall, C2- recall and brain activity  and C3- higher level including analysis
2. Psychomotor/ Skill e.g can you perform appendicectomy at PG level, can you pass NG tube, foleys cathetar, branula at MBBS level.
3. Affects which includes your behavior with the patients and your mannerism.

Knowledge is tested in theory papers through SEQs, different types of MCQs. Skills and ethics are checked via long and short cases.

Your advice to the current final year regarding prof?
As Quaid-e-Azam said: "Work, work and work"
There should be judicious use of this Facebook trend. Internet is now becoming a disease. It should be used physiologically not pathologically. You should give complete time to your studies that it demands. Aur parhtay huay bus is baat ka khayal Karen k aik acha doctor banna hai, insaaniat ki khidmat karni hai. Don’t do it for the coming 60-70 years of life, do it for the life hereafter.

“Your aim should be this:
 Mere lye chand haath uth jayen,
mein unki duayen le lun aur dunya se janay
 ke baad ki zindage mein mera istaqbaal hojaye.”

Favorite student or batch?
I monitor the studies of all the students who come to me in ward specially 3rd and 4th year because they feel they are being neglected as compared to final year. I stay in touch with the batch representatives of all classes and regularly get feedback every week regarding their studies. Attendance is very important in my unit.

“I own the batches that come to my unit and
hence every coming batch becomes my favorite.
But naturally the batch reps have more responsibilities
 and a greater interaction with me so they become my favorite too.”

What would you advise the students, caught between FCPS and USMLE?
With the current ranking of the degree of FCPS, I see no reason for not opting for Pakistani medical qualification. If you try to settle abroad, you have to fight for your identity. They have a difficult acceptability level, and many of those who succeed in going through that process come back for various reasons.

Your country will never limit you anywhere. I am proof of that. I have represented Pakistan round the globe, on every medical forum. Every year I go for my paper in International Medical Educator Leadership Forum, Canada. Pakistan ki waja se apney ap ko kabhe chota na feel karen. Feel pride in yourself, however you are, whatever you are. Apney ap ko theek samjhen ge tu dunya bhe apko theek samjhe ge.

A quote/prose that defines you?

Jahaan Main Ahl e Imaan Soorat e Khursheed jeetay hain
Idhar doobay, udhar niklay, Udhar doobay, Idhar niklay.

Message to the students?
Your parents have sent you to study, try to come up to the expectations of your parents. The country and your parents have certain expectations from you, there are certain ways to fulfill them, try to adopt those ways. And the most important thing, during your studies and later, do not just target this temporary life of 60-70 years, also target the hereafter. Insaniyaat ki khidmaat is andaaz mai karen kay rukhsati k waqt kuch duain lay ka jain.


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