Egyptian ‘Doctor of the Poor’ Dr. Mashali dies after lifetime giving free treatment

Tommy Hilton, Al Arabiya

An Egyptian doctor known for a lifetime of treating his patients free of charge has died, according to reports on social media which paid tribute to his generosity. Dr. Mohamed Mashali was a well-known doctor based in the northern Egyptian city of Tanta, where he was awarded with the title “Doctor of the Poor” by officials for serving his community for over 50 years.

Dr. Mashali only charged 5-10 Egyptian pounds ($0.30-0.60) per visit and frequently treated people at his three medical clinics without charging any payment, according to the Egyptian news outlet Cairo360. He worked 12-hour days, even while he was in his late 70s, and served 30-50 patients a day, according to an interview with DW. Dr. Mashali was also known to provide vaccines free of charge to people who could not afford them.

Dr. Mashali told Egyptian outlet Hadret El Mowaten that he had been motivated to serve his community by an incident in which a diabetic patient died after his mother said she could only afford their dinner, let alone the insulin. “When he asked his mother for insulin, she told him that she could not afford to buy it, and the only money that she had would cover their dinner,” he said.

In an interview with DW, Dr. Mashali described himself as a specialist in endemic illnesses and fevers. “It is poor people that are most affected by these, groups that cannot afford expensive treatments,” he told DW. The Arabic hashtag #Doctor_of_the_Poor was trending in the UAE on Tuesday, as social media users shared images and videos of Dr. Mashali and paid tribute to him.

“There are doctors that you see on the street, that do not even recognize you or don’t say hello. But not this doctor, he greets you on the street and would even give you medical advice if needed,” one of Dr. Mashali’s patients told DW.