Teacher Gives Former Student an 'A Plus' after He Did Her Surgery; He Credits Her with Teaching Him the Benefits and Need to Focus and Study

Article excerpt

Byline: TOPHER SANDERS

In 1985, Rahul Deshmukh sat in Joanne Davis' ninth-grade French class at Bolles as one of Davis' most accomplished students. Nearly 25 years later, Davis lay on Deshmukh's operating table as one of the doctor's more personally influential patients.

Davis, who is Duval County Public Schools' supervisor of world languages and a professor of French at the University of North Florida, received a hip replacement from Deshmukh, now an orthopedic surgeon, in December.

Davis said she sought out Deshmukh as her physician when she heard from another former student that he was practicing in Jacksonville. Davis said she knew Deshmukh would be an excellent physician because of her experience with him as a student.

"He was the most brilliant student, and very versatile," she said, during a recent post-operation visit to Deshmukh's office. "I think I had a superb surgeon."

Davis said that as the surgery approached and she would tell her friends that one of her former students was her physician, nearly all of them had the same reaction.

"They all said, 'Well, we hope you gave him a good grade,' " Davis said.

After graduating from The Bolles School in 1989 as valedictorian, Deshmukh went to Duke University for undergraduate studies and onto Harvard University for medical school. Later, he was an assistant team physician to the Boston Celtics.

Deshmukh spoke glowingly about how Davis pushed him as a student and played a part in teaching him to meet a challenge. …