Padma Shri Nominee Dr KM Pathi Is A Messiah For the Poor In Odisha’s Ganjam

Berhampur: Retired Professor Dr Krishna Mohan Pathi, who will be conferred with India’s third highest civilian honour Padma Shri, has been healing the poor and tribal people of Ganjam for more than 30 years.

An Orthopaedician, Dr Pathi runs a charitable organisation Bharadwaj Gurukul Ashram, through which he has been providing free healthcare service to tribals.

The 82-year-old doctor of Berhampur says, “It is the grace of the Almighty. I am happy that I have been chosen for the award. I am the first doctor in Odisha serving in this state to get Padma Shri”, said Prof Pathi.

Prof Pathi joined as a teacher of medicine and served in all the three state-run medical colleges of Odisha. He was the Professor and HoD of Orthopaedics Surgery-cum-Principal VSS Medical College Burla and Superintendent-cum-Principal MKCG Medical College, Berhampur.

During his term in MKCG he had initiated various steps for the medical college’s development. New super-specialities including neuro surgery, CV surgery, trauma centre and paediatric surgery were created and equipped in MKCG Medical here.

In the early days of his profession, he went to England in 1972 as a Common Wealth Medical Fellow and worked at Radcliffe Infirmary Oxford, Liverpool and Birmingham.

He was just 32-years-old and was looking forward for a promising career ahead, when a letter from his father brought him back home. His father Bhimasen Pathi, a popular Ayurvedic doctor, wanted Krishna Mohan to serve the poor and tribal people of Ganjam.

Without a second thought, Dr Pathi returned to his village, Sukunda near Berhampur in Ganjam district to fulfil his father’s dream. “I have preserved my father’s letter in which he advised me to come back to Orissa and serve the poor and the tribal people when I was in England. I am not at all repentant. In fact, I feel proud to have been able to fulfil the aspirations of my father who was a great visionary,” said Dr Pathi whose daughter is also a doctor and settled abroad.

His wife is a home-maker while son who stays in Delhi is an engineer.

For the last three decades, Dr Pathi has concentrated on overall development of Madhapur by establishing the charitable organisation to deliver health care to tribals.

With no aspirations to gather wealth, Dr Pathi still lives in the house built by his father at Aravinda Nagar near New Bus Stand Berhampur.

The physician also has many records to his credit. He has featured in the pages of the Limca Book of Records, 1990 (Page 87-88 Sciences and Medicine section), when he was a professor and HoD-orthopaedic surgery at MKCG Medical in 1988.

He made to the Limca Boom for a rare surgery in those days. In March 1988, Dr Pathi operated upon one Pramodini Kumari Panda of Purushottampur village and helped her eat food using her mouth for the first time since birth.

Pramodini was only 20-years-old when she operated for opening the temporomandibular joint. Until then she was being through a rubber tube. “She did not have a joint between the mandible and the maxilla, a joint for opening and closing the mouth. I operated on her and she was able to eat after 10 days of the surgery,” Dr Pathi recollects.

He is also known for his interventions in helping poor patients suffering from sickle cell disease. “I provided free medicine and injections to the poor people and that is always a satisfying experience,” said Prof Pathi.

Other recognitions:

Prof. MG Kini Memorial Oration Award 1998 from the Association of Surgeons of India.

Dr. RG Ginde Memorial Operation Award 2000 from Association of International College of Surgeons

Presidential Citation Award at Dhaka in Bangladesh from South Asia Pacific Federation Congress in 1999

Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy National Award as eminent medical teacher of the country from President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in August 2004

Dr S Rangachari Endowment Research Award 2002 for original work on sickle Cell disease

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