Usually introduced as the first gynaecology family of Thane, Late Dr Manohar Panandikar started Dr Panandikar Hospital in 1959. He was the first post-graduate doctor from Thane. The hospital was run from the same building near station, from where it is run even today. His son, Dr Datta Panandikar who successfully is carrying the legacy forward is a known name for majority of Thanekars. Not only is he an expert gynaecologist, but also a gem of a human being. What makes Dr Panandikar so special? Read on to know…
Born in Mumbai and brought up in Thane, Dr Datta Panandikar completed his MBBS from Grant Medical Collegeand MD (obstetrics and gynaecology) from JJ Hospital. After a year of lectureship in Nair Hospital, he went to Germany to study laparoscopic surgery, a super speciality. Dr Panandikar was fortunate to study laparoscopic surgery under the father of laparoscopic surgery – Kurt Semm himself! He returned to India to assist his father, Dr Manohar Panandikar, who was one of the best gynaecologists of his time in Thane and surrounding areas.
Ask him why he opted for gynaecology, and Dr Datta Panandikar is quick to reply, “I was always interested in surgeries and not merely checking patients and prescribing medicines. So during my MBBS days I decided to keep an open mind for general surgery or gynaecology. I realised I’m more interested in gynaecology. Also, thanks to my father’s practice, I knew that if I chose gynaecology, my struggle period would be bit lesser.”
Though Dr Datta joined his father, they were poles apart when it came to the approach by which they attended patients. While Dr Manohar was serious and quiet, Dr Datta has a more patient-friendly approach and he is jovial makes his patient feel at ease. “My father would ask you about your problem and give you the best advise possible and that was it. He would never utter a word more than what he has been asked for. Contrary to that, I love to joke with my patients and keep the atmosphere lively,” shares Dr Datta Panandikar.
Since a child is the most precious for any couple, and in order to feel safe during pregnancy, women at times fall prey to many superstitions. It takes a lot of convincing and counselling for them to understand the reality. Dr Datta Panandikar not only explain them that it is hazardous to follow certain superstitions but also ask them to follow some harmless superstitions to keep the elders happy. Winning the patients confidence helps him to create a feeling of assurance. That is perhaps what makes Dr. Datta different.
Dealing with women, Dr Panandikar has to face a lot of queries. Majority of them, according to him, are out of worry and concern for the wellbeing of their child rather than themselves. However, there is not always a good news. How does Dr Panandikar share the bad news? “In our profession, we have to share bad news bravely. There are times when the growth of the baby isn’t satisfactory. At times, the foetus is not alive. At such times, counselling is essential to make them understand the reason for terminating the pregnancy. If this counselling is done well, the patient accepts the worst of the news. You also have to encourage them to take another chance,” he explains.
Communication, Dr Panandikar agrees, is the most important aspect of the medical profession. The light-heartedness and ease in communication makes the patient comfortable. “People who work under me are MD and they know their subject well. What they come to learn from me is these soft skills,” shares Dr Panandikar.
The pattern of patients has drastically changed in last two decades, claims Dr Panandikar. “There have been two major changes –patients read much more today. Thus, we have lot of questions to answer. They are more aware. This has its advantages and disadvantages. While the awareness is on a rise, certain misconceptions also grip them,” he stated.
There problems during the pregnancy have also changed. While blood pressure related issues have gone down, new problems like dengue, hepatitis E have cropped up. “We have been able to control the problems earlier faced during the pregnancies with continuous research in our sector. However, the newer problems are keeping us on the toes. Evolving, refining skills and changing mindset is an eternal process,” Dr Panandikar opines.
Being a gynaecologist is a stressful job. Ask Dr Panandikar how to beat the stress, and he feels, “Beating the stress is utmost important. My daughters are my biggest stress-busters. I love listening to music and watch cricket – no matter how old the match is,”he shared.
Dr Datta Panandikar agrees that balancing professional and family life is very difficult for a doctor, particularly for someone from his field. Fortunately, his family has been supportive and don’t complain much.
Dr Datta Panandikar had been active in college politics and was the CR, GS and later Election Commissioner of his college. From 1999 to 2002, he also served as the joint secretary of IMA Thane branch. He also was the secretary from 2013 to 2015 and is currently serving as the President. In the last four years, Thane IMA is the only branch of IMA Maharashtra that hold a lecture series called CME every week. Many doctors from neighbouring areas attend CME.
IN THE BOX:
Dr Datta Panandikar – a role model
When Dr Datta Panandikar was four months old, he suffered from diarrhoeafor which he was admitted to a hospital. While he was recovering, he got infected with hospital infection that spread till bones. This resulted in shortening of his left side. This became his first hurdle. However, he never considered it as one. Even today, though people notice it, he is used to it. “No one is born perfect. Some have fallacies internally, some have it externally. It’s part of life and must be accepted,”he preaches.
Dr Datta Panandikar lost his mother at an early age. His father never remarried, thus acting as mother and father to Dr Datta and his elder sister. Even when they used to go for a movie, there were times when Dr Manohar Panandikar had an emergency at his hospital and for a long time he was gone. Meanwhile, during the movie, the kids (Dr Datta and his sister) used to be shocked to see a different person sitting in their father’s seat. That person would then reveal it to them that their father had an emergency and that he (that person) is the patient’s relative. “My father is my biggest inspiration. Even if I am 50 percent as good as him, it would be an achievement,” Dr Datta Panandikar beams.