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Dr. H.S. Bhat (Hattangadi Shashidhar Bhat) A.K.A HSB

Shashidhar was born to Dr.A.R Bhat-Surgeon to the British army and Ratna Baipi on 21st January 1921 in the town of Udipi near Mangalore. He was the eldest son among seven siblings. He was inspired to follow in his fathers footsteps seeing his commitment to patients, attending to them across deserst on camels. Those were days when general anesthesia was not very popular. He always said that if he didn’t make it as a doctor-he would be a Historian.Throughout his life he had a brilliant memory for History-both world and Indian. His early schooling was in Udipi, where his grand-father-a teacher- was convinced that the most suitable and ambitious career he could ever pursue was that of a school peon!! Having lost his father very earlyhis family experienced immense financial difficulties, he used to walk 15 miles morning and evening to reach schoo. No money could be spent on public transport!!. He soon found his calling and joined Stanley Medical college and completed his MBBS from 1940- 1945 during the second world war. He used to often say that his children were privileged, because he had to manage all his expenses within the 25 Rs/month his widowed mother could manage for him. There were times his Professor Dr.C.Raghavachari used to provide him aid to tide over crisis that were not rare! He completed his MS general Surgery from CMC Vellore and stayed on to later establish the Urology Department. In the interim period between Gen Surgery and urology he spent years in ENT,OBG, Anaesthesia, Orthopedics, hand surgery under Dr.Brand, and neurosurgery with Dr.Chandy!

His colleagues who did medicine at the same time were the Great Prof. B.Ramamurthy(BRM), prof. Vishwanathan, Prof.A.Venugopal, Prof.T.J.Cherian (TJC), Dr.Sunadaraman among others. The teachers who were his role models and gave him the push first to surgery and then on to Urology were Prof.C.Raghavachari, Prof. Sommerwell, Prof.J.C.Carmen and Prof.Barnes. The latter 2 were his mentors who made him master TURP in the 1950’s and early 60’s and set up the first department in India to start MCh course in Urology in 1965. It is with their guidance and the support from his urology friends (Drs.Phadke,Arthur Desa, T.S.jeyaraman, Collabawalla, Karanjiawalla, A.Venugopal)that the 1st All India Urology Conference was held in CMC Vellore in 1971.

In 1953 a young beautiful medical graduate from CMC met with a near fatal accident and was under the care of Prof. Sommerwell for comminuted fracture femur and dislocation of the hip. Dr.H.S.Bhat was the surgeons assistant. There was romance in the air and Prema and HSB were married on 20th December 1953. Their 4 children-all four delivered by Caesarian section. After the 1st two, the Obstetrician backed out! But the couple had decided on 4 so switched the doctor!
His compassion and empathy towards patients, devotion to his students, understanding of Urology and seminal work on GUTB, Giant hydronephrosis and large ureters led him to be called as a teacher of teachers. He literally trained all the Urologists who later became giants in the field and eminent techers themselves.They disseminated Urology throughout the length and breadth of the the country always trying to emulate their teacher. The included Drs, Mohan Rao, Venugopal, Mathur, Rowthray,Ranganath Rao, Vasanth Krishna, Sampath Kumar, Annamalai, Rajashekaran, Chinnaswamy, Kandaswami, Ganesh Gopalakrishnan, AP Pandey amongst others. They set up MCh centers all over the country. He was the last Urologist to deliver the Himadri Sarkar Oration at the Annual conference of the Association of Surgeons of India. He received the coveted B C Roy eminent teacher award. He was the designated surgeon to the President of India and chief minister of Tamil Nadu. He treated eminent personalities like Jayprakash Narain, Karunanidhi, Ramasamy Periyar, Ramnath Goenka and many more also developed a close friendship with him.

After 3 decades in CMC Vellore , he rtired and settled in Bangalore and practiced Urologyat a catholic Mission Hospital (St.Philominas) in Bangalore. He brought the concept of Urology as a speciality to Karnataka. During this period he was called upon literally to save the life of Cinema legend Amitab Bacchan who was injured during shooting of the film “ coolie” during which he ruptured his small bowel during a fight sequence. He had a personal friendship with Bachan who visited him at his home whenever possible.

In 1978 he came in contact with Sri Sathya Sai Baba and became a close disciple and the too developed a mutual admiration. In 1992 Baba gave him the oportunity to continue his mission in life towards poor patients when the SSSIHM hospital was established in Puttaparthy. He closed his practice overnight and moved with Prema to Puttaparthy. He always wanted to work in a medical Institution where patients would be treated without the latter ever having to worry about the money he could bring along. He did not want that treatment options were decided by the patients financial capability but by his clinical condition. The SSSIHMS provided him the opportunity to live his dream. He established the Urology Dept in the rural setting and added his passion of combining academics with it. 18 batches of DNB urology students graduated from SSSIHMS under his guidance. He even managed to set up a museum that always excited him. There was no greater joy he felt than the time he spent with his patients and his students, almost to the envy of his children. The strength behind all this was his wife,who allowed him to be the invisible father to his children, while he was allowed to live out his passion in the hospital.

There was a time when the Government informed him of a padma award, but somewhere there was a slip between the words uttered and the final communication. For him the greatest recognition was the affection and respect he got from students and patients. After nearly 7 decades practicing medicine he passed away on 19th November 2010. The Family has institutde the H S Bhat symposium during the annual conference of the Urology society of India in his memory. The H S Bhat oration during the annual conference of the Association of Southern Urologist is delivered every year by eminent faculties and from 2013 onwards the Annual midterm workshop of the ASU has been instituted in his memory and will be conducted around his death anniversary every year.

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