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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Life's Lessons - Who taught me what? (6)

 My special older sister: (Nagammal) She taught me what love for a younger sibling is and how to show it.

My children (Bama, Hari and Sheela)

My children taught me to loosen up, although I probably did not come to their expectations. I was somewhat rigid and orthodox in my thinking about many things. They changed me with Ramaa’s help and through her.

Teachers in School, College etc

There were many teachers in my school (Rajah”s High School) who were simple gentlemen from my hometown. They showed me what dedicated teaching means and why one takes this profession for such meager salary.

My time at Loyola College was essential for my further development and entry to medical school. Other than quality broad education, what I learnt during those two years were about life in general and growing up into an adult. I learnt about taking care of my own needs. I learnt to play sports. The most important experience was that of making some life-long friends (Peter Fernandez, “Rangs”, Chandra and Meenakshisundaram). They are still friends after 60 years. 

Medical School (Madras Medical College)

Who were some of the most influential people in medicine and how?

Top on the list is Dr.K.V. Thiruvengadam (affectionately known as KVT by all his students) with whom I was in contact until his death, sadly one of the victims of the COVID pandemic. I learnt from him what it is to be a clinician, how to be compassionate, and how to be soft and gentle with people. For bedside manners, he was my role model.

For social justice, Dr.K.S.Sanjivi set the standard for me.

Dr.S.T.Achar was responsible for creating in me an interest in pediatrics. He was another role model for my clinical skills.

While at Wadia Hospital for Children at Mumbai known at that time as Bombay, Dr. S.M. Merchant showed me how to make observations, interpret them and use clinical logic.

Above all, these role-models of mine treated everyone with compassion and kindness. They treated the rich and the poor with equal respect.

One other great experience while at the medical school was probably responsible for sowing the seeds for my interest in scientific inquiry. This was a visit by a WHO team who taught at my medical school for several weeks. I was fortunate enough to attend talks by Sir Alexander Fleming and Dr. Heymans (Both Nobel Laureates), Dr. Samuel Levine (Bellevue Hospital, Neonatology), Dr.Charles Aub (cardiologist, Harvard) and Dr.Leo Rigler (radiologist, University of Minnesota).  

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