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india’s first , oldest woman heart specialist

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  1. #1
    tnkesaven is offline Yuva's of Penmai
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    india’s first , oldest woman heart specialist

    Dr.S.Padmavathi, 96, India's first woman heart specialist, works five
    12-hour days a week-

    and swims every day in summer

    She is not just the mother figure or god figure, but she is the god of
    cardiology in India,"
    says renowned cardiologist Dr Ashok Seth of Fortis
    Escorts Heart Institute about Dr Sivaramakrishna Iyer Padmavati, who, at
    96, is as active now as she was when she started treating patients in India
    60 years ago.

    A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second-highest civilian
    award, and Padma Bhushan
    , Padmavati not only trained herself in cardiology
    from the UK and the US in the late '40s
    and the early '50s, but also taught
    several of India's best cardiologists, .

    She created the whole concept of heart treatment in India
    from scratch,"
    "I have seen the world of cardiology grow under my eyes," says Padmavati,
    seated in her office in the hospital.

    The cardiology veteran has many
    firsts to her credit:
    she is India's first woman cardiologist;
    she set up
    the country's first cardiology clinic;
    she created the first cardiology
    department in an Indian medical college;
    he founded India's first heart
    foundation meant to spread awareness about diseases of the heart.

    She was born in Burma (now called Myanmar) in 1917, on the year of the
    October Revolution that redrew the world's political map, the year the late
    Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, was born and a year before
    anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela's birth.

    Her father and older brother
    were barristers
    brilliant student, she stood first in the province in her final school
    examination. Thanks to her exemplary performance, her "local school" was
    she went on to study medicine at the Rangoon Medical
    College where she was the first female student.

    The young maverick
    completed her MBBS magna cum laude, earning the best outgoing student medal
    and several other distinctions.

    "I won so many honours that I can't
    remember all of them
    ," says Padmavati, who picked up what she calls her
    "craze" for swimming during her "Burma days".

    She has kept at it:
    she swims every day for six months a year at the Ford
    Foundation's exclusive swimming pool in Delhi.

    In Delhi's winter
    and for
    the rest of the months of the year, she prefers long walks.

    She learnt the art of reading from her dad whom she says was devoted to
    books. "I am the custodian of the library here [at the National Heart
    Institute in south Delhi] an
    d reading helps me keep abreast of the latest
    developments in cardiology," she says.

    Enduring the War

    Just after she completed her medical studies in Rangoon, Japan invaded
    Burma at the height of World War II and she had to return to India. "We had
    to run for our lives, literally," says the noted cardiologist. "
    Padmavati, her sister Janaki and their mother came to Tamil Nadu and bought
    a home in Coimbatore
    Matters of the Heart

    Padmavati remembers that she was deeply attached to her family, but also
    wanted to study medicine under the masters.
    She joined Johns Hopkins
    University in the US to train under Dr Helen Taussig who performed the
    first surgeries on blue babies — children born with a congenital defect of
    the heart — which was a milestone in modern cardiology.

    Having finished her stint at Johns Hopkins, Padmavati went to study under
    Dr Paul Dudley White at the Harvard Medical School in Boston for the next
    four years. White is widely regarded as the father of modern cardiology.
    She also studied in Sweden before returning to India in the early 1950s.

    She points out that it was Swedish scientists who pioneered the concept of
    the echocardiogram (used for scanning movements of the heart), drawing
    inspiration from equipment used in deep-sea diving
    . "I missed my parents a
    lot. I came to Delhi and started staying with my sister [Janaki] whose
    husband was a career diplomat," Padmavati says.

    India Calling

    Rajkumari Amrit
    Kaur, the then health minister, who offered her a lecturer's position at
    Delhi's Lady Hardinge Medical College. She accepted the offer. "Lady
    Hardinge used to be a primitive place then. They had only girls. There were
    no male patients at that time.
    Anyway I decided to stay back," she says,
    emphasising that she was enamoured of the "Gandhian qualities" of the
    leaders and ministers of the time.

    Within a year of joining, in 1954, she was promoted to professor of
    medicine and she also set up north India's first catheterisation lab, which
    housed diagnostic imaging equipment for inspecting the arteries and
    chambers of the heart for abnormalities
    . Men also started visiting the
    hospital, much to the anguish of the
    "old-timers who bristled with anger",

    Lady Hardinge was where she did most of her research because she was
    shocked by the number of diseases that she could discover outside of
    medical textbooks. "I got awards for that — I got money from the
    Rockefeller Foundation to do research into such diseases," she maintains
    adding that she received "PL 480 money" to do medical research. Through
    this scheme, India bought grains from the US and the money was given back
    to India; part of the proceeds was used for medical research
    . "I did a lot
    of work on rheumatic fever and lung diseases. There was no cardiology then.
    It was I who started the first cardiac clinic at Lady Hardinge."

    After retirement from government service in 1981, she helped set up the
    National Heart Institute (NHI) in Delhi. She has been founder-director of the All India Heart Foundation,
    "a sister concern of NHI" since 1962.

    t was India's — and Asia's — first exclusive heart institute; its rich
    successor Escorts Hospital was built in 1988. A
    ccording to WHO, 17.3
    million people died worldwide from cardiovascular diseases in 2008. Of
    this, 80% of deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries,
    especially in India, which accounts for 21% of the world's disease burden.

    get money from what we earn," she says matter-of-factly.

    As regards the use of medicines to treat heart ailments, this renowned
    cardiologist, who is also an expert in non-invasive surgery, says, "Treat
    medicines as your servant.
    You shouldn't let them become your master."
    Padmavati sees patients 12 hours a day for five days a week. It helps her
    that she is a polyglot who speaks Hindi, Tamil, Burmese, a smattering of
    German and French besides Telugu and Mayalayam
    , she says. "I never married,
    but I never felt bad about it either because I am always busy with patients
    and my research," sums up Padmavati whose paternal grandmother lived up to
    103. She attributes her longevity to genes, luck and hard work.


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  2. #2
    sumitra's Avatar
    sumitra is offline Registered User
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    Re: india’s first , oldest woman heart specialist

    You have shared very useful information about Dr.S.Padmavathi, 96, India's first woman heart specialist. thank you sir

    tnkesaven and Subhasreemurali like this.



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