RIPLEY - Dr. Ali H. Morad’s book, A Surgeon’s Incredible Life Journey: A Memoir, written after his retirement following 37 years of medical practice in July 1, 2001, has been translated into Farsi, the popular Persian language, and is now being read in his native Iran.
It was important for Dr. Morad, not only to write the book which took some eight years to complete (published in 2010) but to have the book translated and available to those in his native country.
“I wanted the people over there to know how good the people of Jackson County are,” said Morad. “I want them to know that one of them came here and was treated so well. I want them to know about the friendships between me and the people of Jackson County; that they are human beings and it is not all about politics, power, money, war and hate. Friendships are so important.”
Morad’s book chronicles his life and fond memories of his life in Jackson County as a surgeon and chief of staff at Jackson General Hospital and as a medical practitioner here in a career, spanning decades and touching lives too numerous to count as a doctor and as a pillar of the community.
Morad, now 82, says his life has been more full than his Fairview Drive home has been with friends and former patients who have come to visit over the years. “Our living room was always full,” Morad said. “We have so many friends in Jackson County. I’m so close to them. Our garage was filled with gifts of produce every summer with notes saying the gift was just from friends.”
Dr. Morad went well beyond just practicing medicine and his talents as a surgeon, he was a humanitarian. He never charged anyone for his services who didn’t have the money to pay. Medicare was just starting during his early practice, and Jackson County was a rural, agricultural area that was just opening a hospital (Jackson General).
“I performed all types of surgery,” Morad said. “And people came from everywhere, not just from Jackson County. My first year here I made only $12,000 and we rented a two bedroom apartment. We didn’t even have a house. I did all types of surgery for those who couldn’t afford to travel to Cleveland Clinic. I knew the chief of surgery there from our time at Johns Hopkins together. If I didn’t know a procedure, I would drive up there and learn it, then come back and perform the surgery here. I also had a friend who owned a helicopter. He would fly me up to Cleveland and back so I could keep my surgery schedule which was very busy from morning to night.”
Page 2 of 2 - “You have to be a human being,” added Morad. “We’re not just here to make money and have a good time. You have a good time when you allow others to live and have a good time. That’s what God wants. I just couldn’t sleep at night knowing someone was suffering or dying. I also made house calls. ”
Morad recalled that he had a beeper in the age before cell phones. He said he loved to travel the back roads and hills of the area, and his beeper would go off. He’d stop at a house and ask to use the telephone to contact JGH. People knew how much he liked cherry and apple pie, and would have one for him.
With his impressive credentials including training in Iran and then at Ohio State University and Johns Hopkins, Morad had many offers including on at a prestigious Chicago hospital. But in the end he said he was led to Jackson County and Jackson General Hospital, and near his wife Carolyn’s family in Charleston It was a decision he has never regretted. They raised their three children here.
Although a very emotional time, Morad’s retirement in 2001 included such honors as the Boy Scouts’ Distinguished Community Service Award, selection as Grand Marshall of the Ripley Fourth of July Parade with kudos from many including then-Gov. Cecil Underwood, “Dr. Morad Day” declared by the Jackson County Commission and retirement dinners including one by his co-workers at Jackson General Hospital.
Still today, Dr. Morad says the best prescription for life is daily exercise and plenty of laughter. He recently repeated that to friend Fred Shipley who has moved to Florida. “I told him that,” said Morad. “I then told him I would be sending him a bill for $50. I was his doctor.”
“I’ve had such a nice life,” Morad said. “I’m very happy I came to live in Jackson County. That’s what I wrote in my book, my memories, true stories and everything is from my heart.”
As he concludes in his book, Dr. Morad hopes that when his is gone, regardless of difference religions and cultures, his words will help others live in peace and harmony.
It’s a wish from the heart of a life that translates well in any language.