A gun-toting robber broke into a Park Slope doctor’s office on Jan. 28, hospitalizing a 67-year-old pediatrician for a handful of cash — but the beloved doctor, practicing on 13th Street for nearly 30 years, isn’t letting the beating deter him from his medical mission.
“I’ll be back as soon as I can get up and walk,” Dr. Vasudev Gabbur told The Brooklyn Paper in an exclusive hospital room interview this week.
Gabbur was doing paperwork in his office when a man with a pistol burst through the front door. Gabbur gave the man all of the money in the office — about $100. Not satisfied, the bandit demanded that Gabbur open the office’s safe.
“I told him I didn’t know the combination or how to open it,” Gabbur said. “He said, ‘You’re lying, I’ll kill you.’ Then he started hitting me with his gun.”
After pistol-whipping Gabbur, the robber made a call on his cellphone, at which point Gabbur attempted to escape, but the thief beat him to the ground and eventually fled.
Bloody and dazed, Gabbur stumbled onto 13th Street. Two passersby — whose children were former patients of Gabbur’s — spotted the doctor and called police.
The attack left Gabbur with fractured ring and pinky fingers on his right hand, a fractured left leg, lacerations to his head and internal bleeding. Gabbur lost so much blood during the assault that he needed a transfusion. He remains hospitalized at Lutheran Medical Center, though he is expected to be released next week.
All of 13th Street was shocked at the attack on Gabbur.
“He’s so dedicated,” said Eva, whose children have been going Gabbur for the 15 years. “You don’t find doctors like him anymore. Usually doctors put the money before the patient, but not him. He’s the opposite.”
For Gabbur, payment is less important that treatment. When patients cannot afford to pay, he doesn’t charge. Because of that policy, many patients liken him to the Slope’s version of Albert Schweitzer.
“It doesn’t matter to me whether they have money,” he told The Brooklyn Paper. “I actually feel bad when I ask them for money — even when it’s just a small amount.”
Anyone with information about the assault is asked to contact the 78th Precinct at (718) 636-6411.
©2008 Community News Group
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