Waynesboro doctor retires

April 01, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

The little ceramic knick-knack on Dr. Rohit S. Shukla's desk, a stork leaving a baby, couldn't be more fitting.

Shukla, 64, retired Friday after 37 years as a practicing obstetrician. He delivered more than 10,000 babies, an average of 270 newborns a year.

He spent 29 of those years in Waynesboro.

He was packing boxes in his office Thursday afternoon, cleaning out the memories of nearly four decades of practice. In the morning, staff members, co-workers and patients came by with a cake to celebrate his career.

Shukla was the only obstetrician in Waynesboro for the first 12 years of his practice, he said. He was recruited by Waynesboro Hospital from New York Medical College where he was teaching and practicing medicine. The hospital didn't have its own obstetrician.


"When I came here only a few family physicians were delivering babies," he said.

Those first 10 to 12 years were his busiest.

"Some years I delivered 250 to 300 babies," he said.

For a time in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, many of the graduates who walked across the stage at Waynesboro Area Senior High School had been delivered by Shukla 17 or 18 years before.

"I always got a lot of pride and satisfaction out of that," he said.

As the years went by he found himself delivering babies from mothers he had delivered a generation earlier.

He said he will miss his patients, staff members in the delivery and operating rooms at Waynesboro Hospital and his physician colleagues.

He will become a member of the hospital's honorary staff in retirement, he said.

He also plans to take up golf for the first time.

"At least I'm going to give it a shot," he said.

Shukla plans to return to his native India, for as long as two months at a time, to do charity work, he said.

He was born in the Bombay area. He earned his medical degrees at Bombay University and came to the United States in 1964 to practice.

Many of his colleagues went to the United Kingdom, he said, but his dream was always America. He has since become a U.S. citizen.

He and his wife, Sharmistha, raised two sons in Waynesboro. Proshant, 35, is a physician practicing in Bel Air, Md., and Pratit, 31, is a radiologist in Philadelphia. Both are married, one to a dentist and one to a podiatrist, he said.

Shukla said he plans to stay in Waynesboro.

"This is my home now," he said.

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