Starting medical career at 40, a doctor pioneered breakthrough surgery
Dr C Palanivelu receiving Life Time Achievement Award in International Cancer Congress organised by HCG NCHRI, at the hands of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari. Dr Purvish Parekh, Dr B S Ajaykumar, Dr Ajay Mehta, Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and Mayor Pravin Datke look on.
By Vikas Vaidya
FROM matriculation at the age of 21, starting medical career at 40, to becoming pioneer of a breakthrough surgery, it has been a momentous life journey for Dr C Palanivelu. A late bloomer, purely by circumstances than anything else, the inventor of key-hole surgery is now guiding young medicos all over the world. It’s a remarkable story of determination and dedication.
Dr Palanivelu received Life Time Achievement Award at the hands of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in International Cancer Congress on Saturday. ‘The Hitavada’ caught up with him on the sidelines and he shared memories of his outstanding life during which he struggled to re-start his education after coming back to India at an early age.
A resident of Pudur in Namakal district, the young Palanivelu had to migrate to Malaysia with his family as drought hit his village.“There was drought-like situation in our village and our family migrated to Malaysia. We returned to India when I was in Class V. My parents tried to admit me in a school but they were not ready since I did my education upto Class IV in Malaysia. All the efforts for my education went in vain,” recalled Dr Palanivelu. It was much later the persistence paid off and he was admitted by a school. His education started but it was too late for a boy of his age. Normally, children complete their matriculation by the age of 15. In Dr Palanivelu’s case, he did his matriculation when he turned 21. That did not deter Dr Palanivelu from pursuing further studies. There was another reason that inspired him to get educated. “I do not regret the delay. I observed in my small village that there was no medical facility, not a single doctor. I saw villagers suffering from diseases, injuries and lying untreated. At that very moment I decided to become a doctor,” he said. Dr Palanivelu did his MBBS at the age of 28. By the time he attained the age of 32, he had a Post-Graduate degree in Surgery. He wanted to go for MCH in Surgery but since this was not available he waited for it.
At 38, MCH degree was in his hand. In the year 1990, when he turned 40, he joined Coimbatore Medical College as a teacher. The medical career actually started taking shape at middle-age when most people of his age are well settled into their profession. But for Dr Palanivelu it was never a job but a passion. This passion helped in turning down lucrative offers after completing MCH. “I kept telling those people that I am the doctor of my village Pudur,” Dr Palanivelu said. The high point in his medical career came soon when he developed the famous key-hole surgery that reduced the cost, stay in hospital and tension for patients as well as their relatives. “Society needed such a thing that would ease patients’ sufferings,” he stated.Another milestone came in the year 2014 when Dr Palanivelu defeated a Robot in laparoscopic surgery. The contest was held in Hong Kong. Now, Dr Palanivelu is invited by many medical schools in UK, Korea, US, Japan, China, Latin America. He visits, teaches and trains young medicos. He has also founded ‘Care for Life’ foundation through which he helps poor people.