The death of a mental health registrar has been felt throughout the medical profession in New Zealand and overseas.
On February 13, Dr Husaini Bin Hafiz’s wife twice drove past an emergency cordon in Hagley Park where, unknown to her, her husband had died suddenly.
The 50-year-old mental health registrar at Christchurch Hospital died while walking to work.
“He was one in a million,” Juliana Binte Osman said of her husband.
The family had since learnt the father-of-five had undetected Wellens’ syndrome, a genetic cardiac syndrome.
Husaini was a couple of months out from completing his training in psychiatry, so he could help address Christchurch’s increasing mental health issues.
“He was happy. I’ve never seen him so happy,” Juliana said.
The family buried Husaini on February 14, and when the Port Hills fires took off the day after, they were forced to evacuate their Westmorland home.
His daughter, Addeana Binte Husaini, 20, was able to grab passports and her father’s computer and hard drives, before she was forced to abandon the home.
The prospect of losing sentimental items had been terrifying, but they were now relieved to know their home had come out of the devastation unscathed.
Prior to his move from Singapore to New Zealand in 2008, Husaini founded the Muslim Healthcare Professionals Association (MHPA) and clocked up over 12 years as a general practitioner in Singapore – as well as endless ‘I owe yous’ from patients, because he wanted to help those who could not afford healthcare.
MHPA secretary Dr Saiful Nizam said Husaini’s death was a shock.
“It is another reminder that life is fleeting and that we need to continue the good work that he has started,” he said.
Husaini’s volunteer services included a stint in Banda Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
While coming to grips with her beloved husband’s death, Juliana had found solace in the fact hundreds of people turned out for his service.
“We didn’t realise he had affected so many,” Juliana said.
“He was a hit with the adults and he was a hit with the kids,” daughter Addeana said.
Addeana, said her father was a strong advocate for the muslim community and had worked hard to bring “everyone together”.
“We are really inspired to be as good as he was.”
Canterbury District Health Board chief executive David Meates described Husaini as an outstanding doctor, colleague and friend.
“All who worked with Husaini recognised his unflappable manner, his respectful attitudes towards patients, families and other staff, and a quality that can probably best be summed up as wisdom.”
Canterbury Muslim Community Trust (CMCT) chairman Rob Dewhirst said Husaini’s leadership, wisdom, enthusiasm and patient guidance permeated throughout CMCT and the wider community.