A man revered both in the medical field and in the
community at large, Dr N S Murali, founder of Seethapathy
Clinic & Hospital, was known for his vision, his service to the
community and his simplicity. A gold medallist in surgery
from the Madras Medical College (MMC), Dr Murali went on
to pursue his MS in General Surgery. He was actively
involved in the medical relief wing, the social service group
of medical students. He then served as an honorary
assistant surgeon at the Govt General Hospital, Madras
In 1963, he started his private practice at the clinic named “Seethapathy”, inspired by his maternal grandfather, a renowned physician, Dr Seethapathy Iyer. From the start his cousin Dr Sarojini Raman, a renowned and much loved paediatrician, was a part of the Seethapathy Clinic.
A true general surgeon, he had the capacity to do thoracic, gastroenterological, urological and oncological work with equal felicity. He ensured that his services were available at affordable costs to all who approached him . His idea was to ensure that everyone, rich or poor, would get the same quality of care. Over the years, his name became synonymous with trust and competence and many families sought his medical expertise and guidance for non surgical matters as well.
Over the years, the clinic grew into a hospital expanding both in size and the specialities offered. His aim was to provide quality care at affordable costs even in the private sector and he built the hospital imbibing this philosophy. The good will he developed over generations still stands the hospital in good stead.
Dr Murali’s unique technique to conserve the diabetic foot
was named after him, Dr Murali’s De-compression of the
Diabetic Foot, was an original work that was accepted
internationally. In 1978, he was made Fellow of the
International College of Surgeons.The good will he developed over generations still keeps the hospital in good stead.
Dr Murali was among the first few to sign up with VHS, right from its founding, joining the institution as an honorary consultant and conducting out-patient services in Mylapore, which was then the registered office of the VHS. Dr Murali, was seen as the successor of K S Sanjivi, founder of VHS. He served as the medical superintendent and then the Hon secretary of VHS. He helped perpetuate Sanjivi’s grand vision to provide the common man with quality medical care irrespective of the capacity to pay. In his own words “VHS evolved as a model to provide quality care that was dependent not on the purse of the individual, but his or her illness.” In recognition of his services, Dr Murali was given the For the Sake of Honour Award by the Rotary Club of Madras; he was also conferred with the Life-time Achievement award by the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University during the inauguration of the 5th International Conference on HIV/AIDS. Dr N S Murali was the President of the Tamil Nadu Voluntary Health Association, Chennai since Sept. 2001 to August 2005. He worked tirelessly for the cause of the underprivileged and was described by some as the patriach of the NGO movement in the state.
A man of few words, Dr N S Murali believed in letting his actions speak for him. People knew and still remember him for his impeccable integrity, generosity and ability to silently help many in his personal and professional capacity. The impact he left on the large number of lives he touched speaks volumes. His legacy lives on at the Seethapathy Clinic & Hospital, till date.
The grand matriarch of Seethapathy Clinic & Hospital, Dr Sarojini Raman believed that the inherent philosophy with regard to patient care was to earn her patients’ love and aﬀection...
In the story of the founding of Seethapathy Clinic & Hospital, Dr Sarojini Raman has an integral role to play. Nearly 56 years ago, with her cousin, a general surgeon, Dr N S Murali, she started the clinic’s pediatrics wing. Born with an innate ability to connect with children, pediatrics was her natural choice while studying to become a doctor.
Over the course of her journey at Seethapathy Clinic & Hospital, Dr Sarojini Raman, who had had the privilege of tending to fourth generation patients, the focus had almost always been on providing quality care. “I spend considerable time with each patient trying to understand them, their concerns and contexts deeply,” she had said. Her grandfather – Dr Seethapathy Iyer -, had been her greatest inspiration, and it is he who inculcated in her lofty ideals and a social-minded approach as a doctor. He had taught her never to get carried away by applause, and she had followed that religiously. Back in the day, when she began her practice, she ensured she treated two out of nine patients she met, absolutely free of cost. Over the years, she served society in numerous ways.
She always believed that to understand a child’s condition, a doctor need not depend on scientiﬁc tools, but simply listen to the mother and allow intuition to guide in the diagnosis. Her philosophy was to educate the mother about the well-being of a child, so that prevention can be ensured, and also aid the mother in bringing up the second child with more ease and care.
As a woman herself, she realized the pressure of the various roles a woman had to play as a wife, mother and daughter-in-law, and hence, stressed on the equal support and contribution of the father in the upbringing of a child. Until a few years before her sad demise, she deliberately consulted on Sundays, so that fathers could also attend the consultation meetings with their wives and children.
The grand lady of the hospital, Dr Sarojini Raman, was fondly referred to as paati (grandmother), and was an integral part of the most signiﬁcant occasions in the lives of her patients. She felt that she had earned the wealth of aﬀection and regard from her patients, and for her, that was more valuable than anything that money could every buy.
Dr E V Kalyani was a legend in Obstetric and Gyneacological services. Her lifetime achievements are varied and remarkable. Breaking with tradition, her father, Dr E V Srinivasan (a nationally renowned ophthalmologist) sent his daughter to school and then medical college against the wishes of society, which in those times, condemned all child widows like Dr EVK to a lifetime of seclusion and emptiness. She passed her MBBS in 1932, her DGO in 1934 and obtained an MD in 1937. She was the ﬁrst MD in Obstetrics & Gynaecology in Tamilnadu. Her father was her ideal and idol and stood behind her like a tower of strength.
From 1934 to 1965, she worked in the Government Hospital for Women & Children, Egmore, Chennai, starting as a House Surgeon and retiring as an Honorary Civil Surgeon and Professor, a post she held for the last 10 years of her service. She enjoyed teaching students and postgraduates with many of her trainees going on to occupy important academic positions.
After retirement from service, she went on to set up the OG department at the Gujarati Sahayakari Hospital and also worked as an honorary consultant at the Voluntary Health Services Hospital, both of which are public hospitals that are run mainly for the service of the underprivileged. She also served as an honorary consultant to the Cancer Institute, Adyar.
The E V Kalyani Medical Centre stands as a permanent testament to her contributions to her chosen ﬁeld. It was begun in temporary premises in 1940 and was moved into the present location in 1950. From inception, it has remained the largest and most prominent private medical facility for women in this city. Under her guidance and inspiration, it has grown from strength to strength and now oﬀers a complete range of obstetric and gynaecological services.
She has stood for and delivered a standard of care for women that is unsurpassed. Her devotion and love for her patients is legendary and was the prime motivation of her life. She set up the tradition, continued to the present, of never letting a patient's ﬁnancial capabilities come in the way of delivering the best possible healthcare service. To the last day of her retirement from active practice at the age of 83, she displayed enormous intellectual curiosity and an enthusiasm for new surgical innovations, lacking in many a younger person.
Until she passed away in her 94th year, she continued to live her life to the fullest, still being involved and interested in the world in general and the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology in particular.