Vale Prof Fatimah Harun...

Vale Prof Fatimah Harun...

In late August 2015, CLAN received heart-breaking news from Philip Koh, an active resource participant of the Malaysian CAH Community, that their family's beloved doctor, Prof Fatimah Harun, had passed away. A long-standing and highly respected member of  APPES (Asia Pacific Pediatric Endocrinology Society), Prof Fatimah was an inspiration to all who knew her. This is a tribute to Prof Fatimah by a grateful member of the Malaysian CAH Community.

“ A Debt I Could Never Repay ….. ” 

Dedicated to Prof Fatimah Harun, Pediatric Endocrinologist,

University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

 

I could still recall the trauma and the depression my wife and I were in when we were told that our daughter was born with a “rare disease” and that our daughter had to be on medication for life. It was so rare that we were told that there was only two Endocrinologists in Malaysia who are “specialists” in this disease …

One of them was our Prof Fatimah Harun.

Arranged by our attending Paediatrician, Prof Fatimah walked into our lives that one evening. Her very first appearance was so encouraging … a warm disposition and a friendly smile and as minutes passed with this “doctor”, we soon began to realized that Nat’s condition wasn’t so bad after all …

This first consultation, held in a waiting room, went on for hours as she patiently and tactfully outlined a game plan for Natalie …

And from then on, and for 7 years or so, she was our doctor, our friend.

Prof was ever so willing to share. She introduced us to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia where we met Prof Garry Warne and Prof John Hutson, both of whom were so instrumental in the early days of the management of Natalie’s condition.

Prof would want to be updated of Natalie’s condition and the scheduled consultations with her in her clinic over the years soon turned out to be sessions that Natalie and I would be looking forward to. Natalie would soon warm up to her as she refers to Natalie as “one of my goddaughters”, rather than her patient. This just tells her how closely she was drawn to her patients …

Prof’s love for medicine and her patients went beyond her normal course of her job. She encouraged me to initiate a CAH Support Group in Malaysia and provided me with the contacts of families with children having CAH. She was ever so willing to join in discussions and group meetings when required.

She would provide me with reading material regarding CAH, all written in simple ordinary language, minus the medical jargon that would have confused me all together.

She was never “away from her patients”. Many a times, she would respond to my queries even when she was away overseas attending medical semninars. She was “on call 24/7” for us all …

On 14 August 2015, I received a text from Prof reminding me that Natalie would need extra medication as she reaches puberty. Natalie has not seen her as a patient for more than two years and we are so far apart as we reside in Melbourne and yet, she had taken the trouble, in spite of her busy schedule to remind me of this important significance in managing Natalie’s medication.

On the fateful day, I couldn’t believe my eyes when a text from my niece, a doctor herself,  read, “Nat’s doctor passed away”. The very first instinct that came to my mind which stayed for minutes was “this can’t be true. She just texted me a couple of days ago!” … But as reality sank in, my worst fears were soon confirmed …

We, as I speak on behalf of the “CAH community” of Malaysia, as parents of children with CAH, have lost our very dear doctor and friend. In the years of understanding CAH, we have never felt so lost without her guidance.

I am so very sure many more moan her passing, many more miss her to this very second.

We have all been very privileged and it has been an honor to have known such a fine lady in every aspect, one we know is irreplaceable and one that we will always be grateful to.

Truly, a physician of the highest distinction. For many of us, University Malaya Medical Centre is never the same anymore …..

 

Thank you, Prof

Rest in Peace, Prof

You are dearly missed and fondly remembered, always.

 

“She made broken look beautiful

And strong look invincible

She walked with the Universe on her shoulders

And made it look like a pair of wings”  …..    Ariana

  

Philip, Natalie and Family

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