Women have made great strides across the world in the field of medicine and transplant is no exception. However , in specialities like surgery and transplant which are timeless, men outnumber women by leaps and bounds. Yet women have made their mark and stand tall. I will just project the trials and tribulations faced and the helping hands that came my way to raise my spirits because of which I can view back with a sense of satisfaction, what little achievements I have had. First and foremost my parents, particularly my father who was my mentor, my role model, and my mom, who was so punctual and always had time for us, ready with food at 5Am or 12 midnight. I used to wonder if she ever slept. My husband Dr.Ramesh has been a pillar of strength who pushes me to do better, edits my publications, adjusts to my vagaries of time, never complaining. My younger brother, a silent worker, always behind me , filling up all the gaps, without a word. When I got married I lived in a joint family with my in laws taking the place of my parents and were very proud that I was a surgeon. My children were very fondly looked after by them that I never had to worry . Now my children are very happy to see me work with passion and egg me on. However I can't claim the same at work. As a matter of fact, when we got married, though I was a prize winner in surgery, my husband knew Bailey and Love word by word.He said " Surgery is good but surgeons are not". Though I may not accept it to him , in my experience it was true, which is a sad memory that I would hold. I was picked up to head NOTTO by my Director General Health Services in 2014 for which I am grateful for he gave me an opportunity to explore a whole new world of medicine. When there were ups and downs, my medical superintendent stood by me and for me. Again in 2018, the then DGHS, Dr.Venkatesh, a long family friend and a person who knew my credentials, many of his family members having been operated by me, he reposed faith in me, brought me to the mantle, guided me to conduct the workshops and participate in the CAST congress, putting no stops.In the last few years I feel blessed to have come across excellent professionals like Francis Delmonico who after undergoing spine surgery made it to Doha, and his indefatigable energy floored me. A human being, one in a million, Marcelo with his quiet charm and unassuming nature, with impeccable methodity has been a friend, philosopher and guide. I had the opportunity to meet Mehmet Haberal in the CAST congress last year and read about him. His story was truly inspiring. How he achieved as a professional and also handled the politicians in his country to enact laws to promote transplantation. A phenomenal achievement indeed! My dear friends Vivek kute, Sandeep Guleria, Gokhale, Subash Gupta, Milind Hote, Balakrishnan have been with me every step. With the help of all these people I feel like Niel Armstrong when he went to the moon and took his "Small step for man , a giant leap for mankind." I am here today to take that step for women, which I hope become a giant leap for womenkind, particularly those women professionals in the developing world. The heroes of today are indeed the women who have made it big, particularly women like Nancy who stand by example; not just as a professional but also as an organ donor, having donated one of her kidneys to her dear sister. She practices before she could preach. Elmi Muller from the land where Christian Bernard first did the Heart transplant has shown that what is possible in the rich countries is also possible in the not so super rich countries.It only requires the will to show that there is a way.The Croatian lady has established the importance of transplant coordinators as also Lalitha Raghuram from my own country. It only reminds me what Peter Mack told me in 1995 when I visited him in Singapore General Hospital about laparoscopic surgery "You have to learn to make a team and work in unison to succeed. It applies more so to organ donation and transplantation.This has been exemplified by Alvin Roth who is making algorithms for allocation of organs particularly for highly sensitized patients who too are now able to find a good source of organs.The field of transplant exposed me to such giants and I feel truly blessed.
|Dr. Vasanthi Ramesh M.S., FALS, India|