Sunday, 8 November 2009

Indian doctors: Hall of fame - Part 6: Dr KM Cherian, cardiologist and transplant surgeon

By Syed Akbar
Dr KM Cherian is the first and only Indian doctor, whose name is engraved in one of the stones in Kos Island, Greece, the birth place of Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. Dr Cherian’s life is a saga dedicated to the world of cardiology and he has several firsts to his credit.
"My entry into the profession is purely providential," he says and his achievements have been "ordained". Like all those who are at the summit, he does not think he is on the top of the field "except that I had the opportunity to perform several first cardiac surgeries and transplants in the country".

Always busy with his patients and surgeries, Dr Cherian wishes he had free time for other activities. This affable doctor from Chennai has to his credit the first successful coronary artery graft, mitral valve replacement for endomyocardial fibrosis, introduction of profound hypothermia and circulatory arrest for correction of cardiac defects in infants, and first internal mammary artery graft, in India.
Dr Cherian, who studied medicine in India, Australia, New Zealand and the US, also introduced cardioplegia for myocardial preservation in India and undertook transatrial repair of tetralogy of fallot, transatrial and repair of double outlet right ventricle. He also performed the first heart transplant, first bilateral lung transplant, first pediatric heart transplant, first auto transplant and first heart and lung transplant, in India after the Central government introduced legislation on brain death cases.
He disagrees that all Indians do brilliantly. "Unless those Indians, who have achieved are motivated, hard working and committed". Brilliance is not a birth right or a national asset as Einstein once said "Brilliance is 99 per cent perspiration and 1 per cent inspiration".

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