Thursday, September 3, 2020

Dr Subashchandra


Subash, as I knew him

It was some 35 odd years back that I went to Chennai [then called Madras] to visit a patient of mine who had undergone coronary artery bypass graft at the Madras mission hospital. It was there that I first met Subash who had just then returned from the US and who was looking after my patient post op. Incidentally this patient is still alive and healthy. What began as a casual acquaintance then, grew into friendship which became closer and closer as the years went by and remained till his untimely demise.

There were many reasons for this strong bonding. We shared many interests other than medicine. Bird watching, Literature, old books, music to name a few. We also came to know as individuals with shared values. Subash being a person of impeccable integrity was often at logger heads with the corporate hierarchy and on occasions, this was the topic of our discussion and how to manage some of these tricky situations which he would often get into. His dedication to work and the kind of cardiology practice he had built up and his ability to get along with people would help him to overcome the many problems he faced in his illustrious career as a great interventional cardiologist and a team leader.  

Being older [not necessarily wiser] I was privileged to be privy of his confidences on more than one occasion and I fondly recall the time we spent discussing issues related and often unrelated to medicine and the ethical dilemmas that we often faced.

Over these three and a half decades I have referred patients with cardiac problems ranging from acute MI to sick sinus, various types of heart block, tricky septal defects, discordant ventricles and the like. On many an occasion he has managed my patients who would be certainly dead otherwise.

He is also responsible in helping me to interpret TMT tracings when I was not sure of the advice given to patients that it is positive and further investigations like angiography and stenting may be required. Quite often, his advice that the test results are normal has saved my patients lots of trouble and needless to say unnecessary hospitalization and money. There were several  other occasions when his advice has greatly benefitted my patients.

I cannot count the number of occasions when I have disturbed him in emergency situations, often at night, and the response was always the same, quick and to the point. There are many beneficiaries of his professional expertise and experience who are today alive to tell the tale of their recovery, thanks to him.

Some years back, while culling old books in my club’s library I came across a 1904 edition of Sir William Osler’s book Equanimata. Knowing that he collected old books, I presented it to him and I am sure it occupies a prime place in his library

For, nearly thirty years I ran an organization called Family Physicians Association, primarily to educate and update doctors and Subash was a regular teacher whenever a cardiology topic was being discussed.

I also run a small group of 15 doctors for the past 30 years which is called doctors club. This meets once a month mainly to update and discuss difficult problems that we have faced/facing and here too Subash was a valued invitee.

Let me conclude, all lives are precious, but some more than others, and my friend Subash’s is one such.

I miss him.

Dr B C Rao

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