Dr Prasada Rao was an extraordinary man who had a genuine love for humanity
From Left: Hal Daize and Jacinta Da Briel
Special Features
March 10, 2023
Dr Prasada Rao was an extraordinary man who had a genuine love for humanity

Dr Prasada Rao Gattu better known as “Dr Rao” is being remembered as not only an extraordinary physician, but as a man whose actions spoke of genuine love for humanity.

Hal Daize, Dr Rao’s friend and landlord for over 40 years described the doctor as “quite humble and humane” in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT this week.

“ … He would help the poor. He was one of the few doctors you could go to, pay with a $100 bill, and walk away with change.

“The medical profession misses him. He was easy to talk to. He kept poor people alive on this island. He worked with a passion and not necessarily for the money,” Daize said.

“Dr Rao”, of Arnos Vale, formerly of India, passed away on December 18, 2022 at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) at the age of 85 years. He served this country from January 1970. Dr Rao had a simple private funeral, as he had wished, on December 28, 2022.

“He was very passionate about his profession,” Daize further said while adding that persons who could not afford a doctor had a friend in Dr Rao as he would usually tend to them for free and give them free medication and tell them to pay when they could.

He said that Dr Rao was, from the time he arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), considered one of the better doctors to go to.

“He used to tend at Cedars and my mother went to him as a patient and he was the sort of person that would chat with you,” Daize said.

He added that Dr Rao was the paediatrician at the hospital in Kingstown and later started a private practice that saw him working long hours from around 7 or 8 in the morning to as late as 10 at night with hardly a break, “because he would have many persons come to him.”

“He was widely read and experienced and very frequently he would be able to diagnose a case without too much research.

Jacinta Da Briel, another long time friend and patient of Dr Rao, described the deceased as very friendly and very serious with his work.

“He gained a lot of experience by dealing with a lot of illnesses. He was our family doctor. The medical fraternity misses his work and what I know from experience, he treated a lot of different people,” Da Briel told SEARCHLIGHT.

She said that her brother was diagnosed with asthma and many nights he would be so stricken, he would sit down for the entire night unable to sleep.

Da Briel said her brother saw Dr Rao, after going to many different doctors even in the United States (US).

“… And Dr Rao said to him I can help you with just one medication that is in trial and that was an injection that he gave him and after that, he gave him another injection and from then on, my brother is now in his early 60s and he has never had another attack.

“So I knew from experience he cured a lot of different illnesses,” Da Briel said.

She noted also that her second daughter had an ear infection and after seeing several different specialists, she went to Dr. Rao.

“…And they couldn’t get rid of it. She was born with that ear infection and that again he cured,” she said while adding that Dr Rao was very kind hearted and took his job seriously.

“Dr Rao never charged us for anything and many persons would tell you the same thing. He would just help you for free and sometimes the basic charge for the medication if you had it and if you didn’t, he would tell you come back and pay if and when you get it,” Da Briel said.

A few years ago, Dr Rao said: “I have tried to serve the people of St Vincent to the best of my ability and I have tried my best to be available to my patients at all hours. I must say that if I did any thing deserving any credit, it would not have been possible without the cooperation of my colleagues and the love and support from my wife and two children, all of whom are medical doctors serving in the West Indies.”