Doctors are regarded as healers or saviors. And though the profession has been under the scanner often as medical assistance has become more commercialized and a lucrative means of business, doctors nonetheless are usually looked up to. It is probably because of the years of learning, hard work and the fact that they often work tirelessly to better another life.
In recent times with the coronavirus scare, doctors have become our frontline warriors, defying various odds to put others before their own self and families. Their relentless efforts in working with patients round the clock in this hour of need have raised them as a force to reckon with. It also provokes us to rewind and learn a bit more about some of the most inspiring and path breaking doctors of our country. Because though the present state of affairs definitely merits a strong recognition of the fraternity, it is also perhaps a good time to acknowledge medical experts who over the years have helped exalt the position of the profession from a mere career option to a truly life changing experience.
These are some of the best brains of the country who have stepped up to reach out and expand their scope as doctors, moving much beyond the call of the duty and trailing a blaze of inspiration for generations to come. Yet, at the same time, they have done so by bettering, healing, recovering and saving each life, one at a time.
Doctor with a mind of their own
Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy in whose memory Doctor’s Day is celebrated on 1 July was a great influence on the profession. He established the Indian Medical Association in 1928 and had a big role in the setting up of the Indian Institute of Mental Health.
Dr. Upendranath Brahmachari discovered the ‘Urea Stibamine’ a vital key in the treatment of the Kala-azar and was also nominated for the Noble Prize for his outstanding contribution in the field of medicine.
Dr. Anandi Gopal Joshi was the first Indian female to graduate with a degree in medicine from the USA. This happened way back in 1886 and paved the way for women to venture into the medical field.
Dr. Kadambini Ganguly was amongst the first women practitioners of India along with Anandi Gopal Joshi. Her revolutionary journey to the realization of her dream is nothing short of tremendously inspiring where she went to London to continue her study after becoming the first woman to get admission in Calcutta Medical College
Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy was one of the first Indian women doctors who later went on to establish the Cancer Institute in Chennai. The institute found another stalwart in its realm when Dr. V Shanta decided to join the Cancer Institute instead taking up the more preferred female medical courses of gynecology and obstetrics.
Where Dr. Padmavati Iyer was the first Indian woman cardiologist, Dr. Ajita Chakraborty was one of the first female psychiatrists of India.
Dr. Indira Hinduja has delivered India’s first test tube and GIFT baby. Dr. Kamini Rao is another name that has made massive strides in the field of reproductive endocrinology and fertility.
Dr. Neelam Kler is known for her work in the field of neonatal care or neonatology. Dr. Subhadra Nair is the first gynecologist to be honored with the Padma Shri, whereas, Dr. KM Cherian performed the first successful heart bypass surgery in India. Others include Dr. Sunil Pradhan the neurologist, Dr. Ashok Rajgopal the orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Sundaram Natarajan the ophthalmologist etc. who all have been conferred with various awards, including the Padma Shri.
The list of renowned doctors who became the front runners in their fields is undoubtedly long, as much as it is also moves beyond the scope of the profession alone. These spearheading personalities fought for the larger causes of girl education, of breaking the glass ceiling and demanding for equality and for finding, choosing and establishing institutes and networks that laid the base for long term treatment and health care.
Doctors with a heart of gold
Where some doctors have contributed to the field of medicine through their brilliance and understanding of their craft, there are others who have gained huge respect for their selfless services.
Prakash Amte, son of Baba Amte who has a medical degree is known for his philanthropic work in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. Dr. Abhay and Rani Bang have taken healthcare to the poorest rural areas of Maharashtra and converted the villages into sustainable healthcare centers. Dr. Taru Jindal a gynecologist has spent her best years in the villages of Bihar providing better healthcare to the women and children of the districts.
Similarly, there are doctors who have been treating the needy for free or who have worked towards making models that help in sustainable and universal medical care. Be it Dr. Bhakti Yadav who has been offering free treatment to her patients since 1948, Dr. Manoj Kumar who doesn’t charge anything for his services in mental healthcare, Dr. Manoj Durairaj a cardiac specialists who treats people from low income families for free, Dr. Abhijit Sonawane who started the ‘Doctors for Beggars’ initiative or Dr. Yogi Aeron a plastic surgeon who treats for free in the remote villages of the Himalayas, the list here is pretty long too. Dr. Nordan Otzer the ‘nomadic doctor’ spreads awareness about different physical ailments in Ladakh, Dr. Bindu Menon travels in her small van to the villages of Andhra on weekends for healthcare services or the only doctor in the Dhadgaon Rural Hospital Dr. Santhosh Parmar who manages everything in the hospital are shining examples of doctors who have crossed and moved much ahead their professional calling, converting their careers into a truly selfless enterprise.
There are many more doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who in their own little and large ways have chartered their way into the hearts of those who really needed them. They have flaunted their vast knowledge through humbleness, their experience through selflessness and their calm demeanor through a raging determination to serve as many as they can. We need such doctors who uphold the high standards of the profession. And we hope that those who choose to fall behind or take advantage of their superior understanding find ways to remember that it is indeed a privilege to serve.