|Year : 2023 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 31-34
Obituary – Dr. V. Balasubramaniam
Malati Sathiyasekaran1, Mohammed Ali2
1 Senior Consultant Gastroenterologist, MGM Healthcare and MGM Hospitals, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Gastroenterologist @ Billroth, VS Hospitals and Kumaran Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Submission||22-Dec-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||22-Dec-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||28-Dec-2022|
Gastroenterologist @ Billroth, VS Hospitals and Kumaran Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Sathiyasekaran M, Ali M. Obituary – Dr. V. Balasubramaniam. Gastroenterol Hepatol Endosc Pract 2023;3:31-4
“Life without you around to guide, coach, instruct, and provide stability again will be challenging for us. You have been a great leader and we draw inspiration from you all the time”
Born 06.11.1948 Died 11.12.2022
DR. V. BALASUBRAMANIAN
B.Sc., MD, DM (Gastro) FRCP (UK)
Patron - Indian Society of Gastroenterology - TN Chapter,
Secretary - Tamil Nadu Gastroenterology Trust.
Dear friends and colleagues, I was shocked, grief-struck, and collapsed when I heard the news about the tragic sudden and untimely death of my beloved teacher professor VBS. I hereby offer my tribute to this great teacher. My association with him has been for many decades starting from my PG days in the Department of Gastroenterology, MMC.
He was always composed, polite, and a gentleman who respected everyone. He went about his chores with a smiling face. He always taught us clinical skills, which he said he imbibed from the Great Doyen of Gastro Prof. NMG.
He had a great passion for teaching and was gifted with the knack of carrying along with even those who disliked him (very few). Be it UGs, PGs, junior colleagues, or senior consultations all were attracted toward him like a magnet because he was always able to solve their problems.
At DDHD under Prof. Subhash, the department became a premier center doing therapeutic work, but it was Bala sir who single-handedly managed the sea of patients at the OP.
He was instrumental along with Dr. KRP in reviving the TNISG and was deservedly made a patron. He shot to national fame after the successful organization of the Midterm and National ISG conferences. He motivated the seniors to establish the Tamil Nadu Gastroenterologist Trust, which is unique only to our state. This trust sponsors the journal.
When I took over as Secretary in 2007, Sir told me, “Bhai (he is to address me like that) please arrange two seminars in our society.” – What gastro surgeons should know about medical GE and What MGEs should know about surgical GE. This was a great success.
He made his life as exuberant and effervescent as possible by jeopardizing envy, hatred, pride, greed, and ego and left behind footprints on the sands of time to become a legend and icon for all of us to emulate.
He along with Dr. KRP were the backbones of our society, but he alone undisputedly was a live wire (the void left behind cannot be replaced).
He was a very passionate person much attached to his wife and two sons. I think he must have had a premonition about this tragic event, and just a few months back, he called me to be a witness for the “Will” he drafted.
He lived a life full with a purpose to serve humanity in spite of all his physical disabilities. But man is helpless before the Almighty, and although cruel death has separated him from us, he will ever remain fresh in our hearts and memories.
I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and pray to the Almighty to give them the strength to bear the irreparable loss.
A heartfelt tribute from a beloved and obedient student, Dr. Mohammed Ali.
Reminiscences of my dear friend “Dr. BALA”
By Dr. Malathi Sathiyasekaran
It was a jolt from the blue when I heard the shocking news on December 11, 2022, that my friend Dr. Bala was no more. Just a week before, I was informed that there was another setback in his health, but little did I imagine that I would not see him again. I was confident that he would bounce back as usual to the life he lived for others spreading joy and happiness to those around him. However, my confidence was shattered.
My association with Dr. Bala dates back to more than three decades. Although Dr. Bala is no longer physically present, I am definite he lives in the hearts of many who knew him. Yes, “the song has ended but the melody still lingers on.” I am sure the book “Memories of Dr. Bala” will contain a number of pages filled with several anecdotes and events, which took place in his life. As I turn the pages, I want you to join me as I open and read the chapter titled “Those were the days in Govt. Peripheral Hospital. Anna Nagar.”
This hospital was the brainchild of Prof. N Madanagopal whose dream was to establish it into an Institute of Digestive Diseases and Health. Dr. Jayanthi and I had the privilege of working with him from the time of inception of the department. After Prof. NMG retired, Dr. B Ramathilakam followed by Dr. S Subash headed the department. It was during this period that Dr. Bala, the charismatic gastroenterologist, joined the department with a warm, captivating smile and won the hearts of all the hospital staff. We were more like a family sharing the OP work, writing case sheets, doing rounds, and performing endoscopies and ultrasounds. Amid our work, Dr. Bala ensured that we enjoyed some lighter moments with his jokes and stories. We nicknamed Dr. Bala “the blue eyed boy” of the department because he was the favorite of the Head of the Department and therefore got special privileges!
I would like to remember the attributes of Dr. Bala by using his name BALA as a mnemonic.
B. Balanced personality: He could balance profession and family, work and leisure, and patient and colleagues. Ups and downs in life and mountain top and valley experiences. He could understand and handle the different moods of people very elegantly.
A. Appreciative and Authoritative: Dr. Bala had a mix of both these qualities. He was very appreciative of others and always made it a point to openly comment and encourage their performance, either work or lecture. This inborn nature only reflected his humility and the love he had for his colleagues. He was not only appreciative but also authoritative. He has had several friends in all walks of life and could get things done just with a ping! “Bala solitaaru” was what I heard several times when he took decisions for TNISG. I still remember when he called and said “Malathi, You should give NMG oration” and the next time he called and said “Malathi we are making you the President of TNISG.” That was his capacity to command and sheer absolute ability to command and get work done.
L. Leadership and Learning: Dr. Bala was not only a born leader but also a mentor to many and trained his juniors to attain and build leadership qualities. Dr. Jayanthi will remember the 1-day Endoscopy Camp that was meticulously planned and executed. The ability to keep everyone relaxed and complete the work with responsibility was a gift bestowed by God to Dr. Bala. I will always cherish the pleasant memories of the train journey. Dr. Bala was also a lover of learning anything new in gastroenterology and revising what he had learned. He loved to listen and was very attentive when others spoke and would be prompt to interact with the speaker. He also loved teaching, made gastroenterology very practical, and simplified whenever he shared his thoughts. His love for learning was one of the main reasons he encouraged in bringing out a journal from Tamil Nadu.
A. Admirable: As I watched Dr. Bala, I noticed that he was admired and respected by his students, colleagues, and seniors. In addition, a host of paramedical staff admired him for his patience and care. The clerical staff were also very appreciative of his administrative skills.
BALA, you have lived your life as a beacon of light to many. This light will continue to burn.
Dear Dr. Bala, I know I will not see you again sitting in the first row during the future gastro meets. You will neither be there to encourage and appreciate when I give a talk nor be there to make us happy with your unforgettable smile we will miss you. You cannot be replaced but will be remembered.