2018 began on a sad note for me personally with the passing away of my mother, Dr. Prathima Venkateswaran. She was just 70 and her death sums up the challenge we face in healthcare today. But that I would leave for another day. Today I want to just focus on her work.
My mother was a pioneer and a visionary in the field of dental surgery. A graduate of Government Dental College, Bombay (Now Mumbai). She went to work with Safdarjung Hospital as well as Willingdon Hospital (Now Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital). She was probably one of the first women in her time to set up a private practice in Delhi. Sree Venkateswara Dental Clinics was set up by her 1973 in the INA Market, Laxmi Bai Nagar in New Delhi. I had the good fortune to work with her from 2000 to 2005. I saw in her qualities, that are missing in doctors of today. She had empathy, humility and an immediate connect with most patients. She used to take interest in their lives, family, trying to understand the background of these patients. She always used to tell me to treat the person before she treated the disease.She lived by the adage “I treat, He Cures”. She later expanded her practice to Munirka and her good work continued in the South Delhi region as well. The clinic website credits her with treating more than 2 Lakh patients over her lifetime but I am sure the lives she touched were much more than that.
As a woman entrepreneur, she had the tough task of managing her clinic along with the responsibilities of running the house. I feel sometimes she neglected her clinic in order to take care of her three children. For her, we kids were always a priority. But again that is a discussion for another post.
As a care provider, she was second to none. Her practice was built on her connect with patients and the clinical outcomes that she had delivered. I still remember patients coming in for her special gum treatment. Patients never forgot her and used to come from far and wide. I remember as a child giving out prescriptions to her patients. She was always amused by our antics to mimic her.
In her death, the medical/dental community has lost one of its more ethical members. Healthcare India would like to salute this servant of the medical community for her dedication and hard work to the community. May her soul rest in peace.
(Image Source: http://svdentalclinics.com/about/meet-the-doctors/)