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Celebrating the Life and Legacy of a Beloved Edison OB-GYN

September 29, 2021

Clinical Contributors to this story:

In her 35-year career as a cherished OB-GYN at JFK University Medical Center, Darshana Desai, M.D., helped bring thousands of babies into the world. In fact, her family estimates that the count may be as high as 5,000. But her patient care wasn’t just about numbers. It was about personal connections.

“She always remembered everything about a patient without having to look at a computer or paper charts. She just remembered every detail about every single patient,” says Aparna Shah, Dr. Darshana Desai’s daughter. “She always went out of her way for her patients.”

The Desai family lost their beloved mother and wife in February 2020, but they are making an effort to maintain and celebrate her legacy at JFK. The family recently made a generous pledge in memory of Dr. Darshana Desai to benefit JFK’s Maternity Services. In turn, a nursing station in the post-partum unit will be named in her honor.

“We wanted to do something to honor her legacy at the hospital because of what she meant at JFK and what she meant to the Indian community particularly,” says her son, Aaditya Desai, D.O., an emergency medicine physician. “I hope this gift pays homage to a great doctor, but more importantly I hope it inspires other doctors and providers to achieve her level of care and success. I try to be like her in my work.”

Her family says that level of care was defined by going above and beyond every day for every patient. “There was never a day when she wouldn’t pick up her phone, even in the middle of the night,” says Dr. Aaditya Desai.

Adds Aparna, “People always used the word ‘super woman’ to describe her. She could juggle it all. She was so present and involved with her patients but also with our family. She never missed our activities as kids.”

While her family says Dr. Darshana Desai was incredibly modest and never wanted to be the center of attention, they feel this gift is appropriate because of her love for maternity services.

“When we first got married, at the beginning of our careers, I asked her many times, ‘Why do you want to choose OB-GYN? That’s going to be a very hard lifestyle for you,’” says her husband, Ashok Desai, M.D., who is an anesthesiologist. “But she never wavered. This was what she wanted to dedicate her life to. And so she did with a remarkable amount of passion and compassion that will leave everlasting mark on the many lives she touched.”

Next Steps & Resources:

Learn more about giving to the JFK University Medical Center Foundation

Old Bridge COVID-19 survivor gives back to her care team

Philanthropic giving for the kids

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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