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18th Batch M.B., B.S;(1974) M.D.(General Medicine) 1980
I joined Calicut Medical College in December, 1974. It's hallmark the clock tower known as the "tower of wisdom" stood imposingly before us. It was an awfully different atmosphere from the intermediate college. Though it was a residential college, few students were allowed as day scholars. I could live with my parents and attend the college as well. The college was only 10 km away from my house. The classes took off with the usual dose of ragging. By and large it was benign but there were few sadists and psychopaths who singled out smart students for "special treatment". I got immense encouragement from my cousin Dr. George Mathew (Rajagiri Hospital, Ekarool, Balussery, Calicut) during the initial years. Soon I got the knack of learning medical subjects and I was in the top ranking throughout the medical studies. But I had to pay a heavy price for that. The competition for the top spot was so vigorous that I engrossed myself in studies full-time. Looking back, sometimes I feel sad because I couldn't enjoy youth the way others did. I rather envy them.But my friends console me saying that but for my studies I would not have reached my present position.
Pre Clinical Years
I vividly remember the introductory class by the Principal Dr. Madhavan Kutty. It was the 18th year of the College. He said. "Even the the donkey would become beautiful when it turns 18, your college is much more". He was implying that our college has gained maturity. Dr. Jacob Abraham of Anatomy (Jam Sir as fondly called) was such an imposing personality. Our beloved Annamma madam taught Embryology with a motherly touch. Prof. Divakaran of Biochemistry was a terror but good at heart. Dr.Kora taught neurophysiology with such authority that the author Guyton would feel slighted.
Medical Dept. & My Teachers
We were the first batch of guinea pigs of a curriculum reforms and I landed in E.N.T. Dept on the first day of my clinical training. The then principal Dr. Samu Iyer goofed up the entire posting roster. Thanks to him we learned Medicine for an extra three months. Dr. Sugathan Prof. of Dermatology Dept. was a constant source of inspiration and advice. He is not liked by many because of his sharp tongue and pungent remarks but he is really a nice man. The person whom I like the most as a medical teacher is Dr. Ganapathy Rao. He was brand new M.D. when I joined his ward. The trio Prof. Ambujakshan, late Prof. K.G.C and Dr. Rao transformed medical teaching into new heights. Theirs was the cleanest ward in the entire hospital. My next posting in Medicine was with late Prof. C.B.C. Warrier. His style of teaching was entirely different with a bias towards Neurology cases. His Snake bite Intensive Care Unit was the only one in the entire Malabar area and the years with him prompted me to take up Snake bite envenomation as my M.D. thesis under his guidance.
Prof. C.K. Ramachandran's (also an ayurvedic Vaidya Kalaratnam) final year crash courses were very famous. The class rooms used to be packed to full, to hear his flawless lectures and tricks to pass the exam. I am specially attached to him as he knew me as a toddler. His initial posting as Asst. Surgeon was at my grandma's place Njarakkal and he used to be a frequent visitor there.
Prof. M.G.Sahadevan stands apart. His astounding knowledge in Neurology and History of Medicine baffled us always. After his membership exam in England, he traveled by car all the way from France to India! He was a Major in Army Medical Corps. During my M.D. days, I liked Neurology very much. After working up a case of a rare disease I wheeled the patient into the class room. The admitting ward's diagnosis was different from what I found out. By the time the patient was at his table side he said "Here comes a Miller Fisher Syndrome". I was speechless and literally all blood drained from my head. Afterwards I asked him as to how he could spot diagnose that case.He gave a cool reply. "I simply observed the patient as you wheeled her in".
There was a great man whom all our M.D. classmates revere. The late Prof.G.K. WARRIER . He was a legend unsurpassed, but burnt out "prematurely". He taught us the real importance of "history taking". He would discuss at length the history of patient's illness for hours. Without even touching the patient he could pin-point the diagnosis with an accuracy sharper than that of a CT Scan. We were unfortunate to see him dying in our hospital due to a stroke during our second year of M.D.
Late Prof. N.S. Venugopal requires special mention. None would ever find him without a smile. I always remember his lucid lecture classes. I did my medical internship under him. We had so much of freedom in his ward and I learned most of the procedures under him. The man who taught me Hematology was Dr. Baburaj of Medicine . I learned interpretation of bone marrow under his expert guidance. Prof. Salim joined when we were about to finish our M.D. He was always a mile ahead of others in academics. Prof. Leelamani Ambrose was a teacher with motherly affection.
Last but not the least Prof. K.P Chandrasekharan. I got cold shivers when he joined as the Head of Medicine. We were at the final leg of M.D. Everyone has told only terrorising stories about him. He was a very strict teacher, with no compromise on physical findings. Very many thesises were rewritten to suit to his tastes. His only drawback was his skepticism of specialties and advanced investigations. But he was good at heart. The only time he spoke softly to me was when I went to invite him for my marriage. I believe my wife and myself were his pet students, but he has never seen us together. What he asked, do you want to know. "Were you two in love before". I left it unanswered as an old man's curiosity.
Teachers in Surgery
On the Surgical side, I was under Prof. Thyagarajan and Prof. Karthikeyan. I vividly remember the day when Prof. Thyagarajan gave me an opportunity to assist him for an operation when I was only a third year medical student. I hardly knew to put on gloves properly at that time.Even final years were not allowed that! Prof.Karthikeyan, a very well trained vascular surgeon showed us the stamina of a surgeon by taking up difficult vascular surgery lasting for 6-8 hours. Subsequently he was our Surgical counterpart, when I joined the Gastroenterology Dept. But I owe him a lot. He painstakingly and daringly operated upon my father-in-law, when he was down with cancer of the stomach. I always appreciate Prof. Rajagopal.K.P., for his clean and blood less surgery, and my sincere thanks are due to him for his prompt help in operating my son Tom with appendicitis even at a short notice. Another surgeon, a gem of a person who was unnecessarily victimised and later exonerated is Dr. Sasidharan, the Superintendent of Medical College, Calicut. He was of great help when my mother was admitted with intestinal obstruction. Thanks to his skillful hands she is very much hail and hearty today. None can forget Prof. Mohan Kumar (Nicknamed Gurvayoor Kesavan because of his towering personality) He had a special liking for me. His surgery required lot of blood and I used to arrange blood promptly by hooks or crooks.(He died in January 1999)
Teachers in other Departments
My beloved teachers in other specialties were: Prof. Gopinathan of Dermatology, Prof. K.C. RajaGopal of Paediatrics, Prof. Joseph of Surgical Paediatrics, Prof. Roy Chaly of Urology, Prof. Ravindran and Prof. Sugathan of Cardiology, Prof. Ashok Kumar of E.N.T., Prof. Thomas Mathew of Nephrology, Prof. Vinayachandran Nair of Gastroenterology, Prof. Guharaj of Forensic Medicine, Prof. Aysha Guharaj of Community Medicine, Prof. Leena Devi of Pathology, Prof. Hariharan of Pharmacology, Prof. Jayaram Panicker of Microbiology, Prof. Malathi of Ob& Gyn. hey all leave fond memories of my student days in my alma mater. Prof. Ashokan Nambiar (Cardiology) was a teacher and a friend also.
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