The Legend That Is Dr Ghanashyam Vaidya

Earlier this month I decided I would write about a different person every week that has really inspired me in the field of medicine. Hopefully, It may inspire others or spark curiosity as it did in me.
Ghanashyam Vaidya is a man you may have never heard of before. He is a renowned Indian Surgeon, educator and medical cartoonist. I was first introduced to this exceptionally gifted man after acquiring his highly sought after book entitled ‘General Practice’ , a book that is extremely difficult to find outside of India. I was very lucky to obtain it through a friend who was traveling to Delhi and, since then, it has become one of the major foundations of my own medical education. In the early 1980’s, only a year after graduating, he published a series of video lectures that were entitled ‘clinical cassettes’. These are an extensive library of clinical videos with audio voice-overs that clearly outline concepts ranging from surgical pathology to ECG reading. He has pioneered the concept that educational videos ,when well produced, are often better than books.

 

Appendicectomy Educational Clinical Cassette

Appendicectomy Educational Clinical Cassette

 

Demonstration of Grid-iron incision

Demonstration of Grid-iron incision

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In these videos Dr Vaidya has a very thorough and coherent explanation of surgical procedures which often saves hours of study time. In addition to his contributions to medical education,  Dr Vaidya is also a medical cartoonist . In his work he often makes light of corruption, that occurs in the Indian education system, through his dark satirical humour. Below are a few examples of his cartoons which are very amusing and are not far from events that sometimes take place in the West;

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Dr Vaidya also explores the art of bluffing, and how students will, and quite often senior medical staff, use this technique to appear more knowledgeable than they really are. Here is a memorable piece that I keep on my wall:

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Dr Vaidya now works at The Karnatak Health Institute, a rural charitable institute based on the philosophy of altruistic work with minimal wage for each of its employees.It is truly remarkable that an institution as large as this can be self-sustaining in such a capitalistic world that we live in. The hospital is equipped with 350 beds and modern diagnostic tools with state of the art technology.

Dr. Ghanashyam Vaidya has dedicated his life to this institution, and works in the capacity of Joint Chief Medical officer and Governing council member of the institute. His professional interests are in endoscopic surgeries – specifically gastroscopies, bronchoscopies, laparoscopic surgeries, and Transurethral resection of the prostate. He has conducted well over 25,000 surgeries spanning a career of  more than 24 years. I would advise any medical students to invest in his materials as they are timeless classics and, in my opinion, far superior to currently available study tools.

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