It has been said that we all have a story to tell -- our own personal stories
about where we are from, what has shaped us into the person we are today
and where we might be going from here. Dr. Gillani is no exception. He
was medical director of a 17-bed level IV trauma medical center hospital
and clinic in Kashmir, Pakistan in 2001 when he was diagnosed with aggressively
growing tumors and was given six months to live. He was told there was
no treatment for this particular condition in Pakistan.
“I would have to come to the United States for treatment. I had no
choice but to leave my country,” he said. “I exited the plane
in a wheelchair when I arrived.” Thus began a new chapter in his
life…a new journey both mentally and physically.
“I was treated for cancer at the University of California San Francisco
(UCSF) Comprehensive Cancer Center. I was on Medicaid for the first year
of treatment. I learned what it felt like to sit in the waiting room with
other people who were also seriously ill – what it felt like to
bear the stigma of needing to be on Medicaid. I sat with the migrant population
and felt with them the humiliation of being treated differently from those
on insurance or paying with cash. A new sense of what it meant to be compassionate
swept over me and I vowed to really show compassion to all my patients
in the future.”
Even though he had been approved for disability, after that first year
of treatment, he never accepted it. He worked throughout the remainder
of his treatment to support himself – first as a laboratory technologist
and then as a tissue recovery specialist, coordinator, and leader of tissue
and organ recovery team. He began to dream about living “the American
dream.” He also worked as a microsurgery instructor and researcher
for two years.
At that point, he decided to return to medical school. He had previously
obtained a medical degree in Lahore, Pakistan. He enrolled in the New
York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine and obtained
his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in May of 2014.
He went on to do a three-year residency program in Pueblo, Colorado; he
also completed a Rural Medicine with Obstetrics Fellowship at Tacoma Family
Medicine at Tacoma, Washington. He hadn’t been allowed to practice
obstetrics in Pakistan for religious reasons in that culture. “Taking
care of expectant mothers and delivering babies is an important part of
what I do now and I find it very rewarding. Now I am actually living the
‘American Dream’; I am healthy, and very grateful for the
opportunities I have been given. I want to always greet my patients with
a smile and a compassionate attitude.”
Dr. Gillani is excited to begin his medical practice in Othello and soon
in Mattawa -- and to get to know his patients. Coming from Pakistan, his
native language is Punjabi. He also speaks English fluently and can speak
some Spanish. “I am already working to improve my Spanish.”
He also wants to become acquainted with people in the community.
In his free time, Dr. Gillani enjoys several hobbies. “I love to
cook; it is my way of relaxing. I like to cook Indian, Thai, Chinese food,
whatever. I have participated in international dinners in the past –
lots of fun!” He also likes to write. “I am often inspired
to write about personal experiences or when something touches my heart.
I enjoy listening to music – all genres. My favorite singer is Andre
Bocelli. I enjoy walking and taking photographs.”
See his Welcome Video
Dr. Gillani has begun seeing patients. Call CBHA to make your appointment!