Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017
Dr. Riaz Gill never thought he would become a doctor.
“When I was young, I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force,” says Dr. Gill. “I had an adventurous spirit and thought being a pilot would make for an exciting life.”
However, those plans changed while he was in college and his father developed a gastrointestinal cancer. That heavy blow sparked his decision to make medicine his career.
“When I found out my father had cancer, I was devastated,” recalls Dr. Gill. “I was very young, and I wasn’t prepared for that kind of reality check.”
Though Dr. Gill never thought his zeal for adventure would unfold in the operating room instead of the open skies, he embraced his new vocation.
“I may not have had that passion to become a doctor as a child, but after my father’s cancer, I developed the drive to help others live healthier lives.”
A gastroenterologist for nearly 30 years, Dr. Gill joins Harbin Clinic Gastroenterology Cartersville, a specialty newly offered by Harbin Clinic for the Bartow County area. He comes to Harbin Clinic after seven years at Cartersville Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Specialists.
“Dr. Gill is a great guy and a wonderful fit for Harbin in the Cartersville community,” says Harbin Clinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ed McBride. “His expertise and experience in Bartow County already sets him apart. He cares completely for his patients and their experiences.”
Though he will see patients for regular office visits at Harbin Clinic, located at 150 Gentilly Blvd., Dr. Gill will perform GI procedures (colonoscopies, upper and capsule endoscopies, EGD’s, ERCP’s and more) at Cartersville Medical Center.
Caring Completely Anywhere in the World
A native of Pakistan, Dr. Gill says he learned early on in his career that going the extra mile can make all the difference.
It was in 1988, the year after he earned his Medical Doctorate degree, when an anguished man showed up with his very sick daughter at the practice where Dr. Gill worked in Pakistan.
“She must have been 6 or 7 years old,” remembers Dr. Gill. “She was very septic. She had a fever of 106 and was lethargic and delirious.”
The child was so ill that Dr. Gill told her father she needed to be admitted into a hospital for around-the-clock care, which Dr. Gill didn’t have the resources for at the clinic where he was working. But the man’s circumstances made that impossible.
“He had four other kids and his wife had passed away,” says Dr. Gill. “He was so poor that he had no way of making sure his other children would be cared for while he stayed with his daughter in the hospital.”
“He said, ‘I have a choice to make,’” Dr. Gill continues. “‘Either I let her die and take care of the other four, or I take care of her and let the other four die.’”
Dr. Gill says the man’s desperation made him determined to try and help. He sought a donation so that he could purchase injectible treatments for the child. Every day for about a week, the man brought his child to Dr. Gill who gave her a liter of fluids to help with dehydration as well as injections of antibiotics.
By the fifth day, she was practically back to her normal self.
“That was a really fulfilling experience for me in those early years,” says Dr. Gill. “It touched me deeply, and it taught me that you never know what’s going on with patients beneath the surface until you care enough to ask.”
An Experienced Gastroenterologist Eager to Care Completely for Cartersville
Dr. Gill received his Medical Doctorate degree from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan. While there, he also completed his residency for general surgery and internal medicine at Civil Hospital.
After finishing his residency for internal medicine at Brooklyn Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, Dr. Gill completed his fellowship in gastroenterology and hepatology at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, VA. Additionally, he completed an extra year of training in transplant hepatology there.
Board-certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology, Dr. Gill maintains a certification by the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Board and also serves as the President of the American College of International Physicians.
Following his stint in Virginia, Dr. Gill worked with GI Consultants of Middle Tennessee in Nashville. During that time, his children were attending college at the Georgia Institute of Technology and he and his wife of 31 years, Salma Gill, often travelled to Georgia to see them.
“My wife and I were here just about every weekend for the kids, so it made sense to wrap up the practice in Tennessee and move to Georgia to be closer to them,” he says. “That transition was very smooth. Cartersville is a wonderful town with a great community feel.”
Now his daughter Heba is one year away from finishing medical school herself, and his son Shazil is practicing law in Dallas, TX. Eight months ago, Shazil and his wife had their first child, and Dr. and Mrs. Gill are loving being grandparents.
Dr. Gill says continuing to serve the Bartow County community, but now as a Harbin Clinic physician, is something he is looking forward to quite a bit.
“Harbin Clinic has an outstanding reputation in the healthcare community as a multi-specialty clinic,” says Dr. Gill. “Not only that, but Harbin’s particular emphasis on patient experience is something I value very much, and I’m happy to be a part of that now.”