Dr Sujon leaves admirable legacy

Dr Sujon Purkayastha, known to many as Dr Sujon, was quick to admit that he did not know the number of babies he had delivered throughout his career.

Dr Sujon Purkayastha thanks colleagues, hospital staff and patients for all his positive experience whilst working in Goulburn over the past 30 years.

Dr Sujon Purkayastha thanks colleagues, hospital staff and patients for all his positive experience whilst working in Goulburn over the past 30 years.

In fact, it would be almost impossible for the gynaecologist and obstetrician, who begun medicine at 17, to trace the births. 

Snow capped mountains and the cloudless sky of Shillong in India was always within sight for the young boy who fell in love with medicine.

His earliest memory of the profession was when he stood completely still as a child, shoulder to shoulder with his siblings, eagerly awaiting the local doctor’s visit.

“It was a big deal being a doctor back then. I think it encouraged me to go into medicine,” he said. 

Dr Purkayastha initially attended university with the thought he would be a bad candidate for medicine, but as the first semester progressed he was ranked in the top ten for his cohort, then later, amongst the top three.

His future in the practice was conceived during his one month in a maternity ward for his training, unbeknown to the budding student.

“When I witnessed the first child birth, it was … gross. I said, no, no, no,” he said, shaking his head, reenacting the moment with a slight smile. 

But by the end of the month he was hooked and despite the advice of his friends and family to abandon this area, he pushed on.

After working in the UK, he returned to NSW with the aim of working for the John Hunter Hospital.

It was the mid 80s and with one young child and premature contractural issues, it was the close proximity to Sydney which lured him to Goulburn Base Hospital.

“I’ve been very fortunate with my professional life,” he said. “It is one of the best specialties, I had 100 plus per cent satisfaction. If you asked me if I would do it again, I would say yes.” 

He compared the job to Formula 1 racing.

Dr Sujon Purkayastha with surgeon Graham Stewart in 2009. Dr Sujon was known for voicing his thoughts on the progression of Goulburn Base Hospital.

Dr Sujon Purkayastha with surgeon Graham Stewart in 2009. Dr Sujon was known for voicing his thoughts on the progression of Goulburn Base Hospital.

“When you’re doing well, great, but things could become disastrous in a moment,” he said. 

“From the beginning we’ve been told in training don’t think of the worse outcome, be positive, do the right thing.

“You’ve got to be prepared for uncertainty. You can do everything right and still things could go wrong.” 

There is nothing laboured about this philosophy, it is effortless yet definitive, akin to his professional work.

Working out of Goulburn Base Hospital and running a practice for close to 30 years he is due to move to Sydney to spend more time with his family, a ritual which has become a luxury over his career.

News of his departure in early July was shared on Facebook which grew into a long thread of appraisal by countless women.

Their anecdotes not only spoke about their children’s birth, but included his humour, attention to detail and unwavering patience.

Dr Purkayastha said he was overwhelmed with emotions when he was alerted to the comments. 

“When I was reading the comments, I never expected so much good will, but you can see from their comments they were more than just a patient,” he said. 

“Goulburn has become part of me. I’m moving out of Goulburn, but you won’t take Goulburn out of me.” 

Upon departure he said it would be memories of the incredible colleagues, hospital staff and patients that he will never let go. “I wish them well, and hope they all achieve.”