Indian Transplant Newsletter.Vol. 14 Issue No.44. Mar 2015-Jun 2015
Print ISSN 0972 - 1568

Dr. Vijayanand Palaniswamy He is a marvel!

Dr. Vijayanand Palaniswamy, 38, could  well be a Superhero himself – much like  the Marvel comics Superheroes that he so admires and watches with his 11-year-old son. So move over Iron Man, Spiderman, X-Men…here comes Miracle Man aka Dr. Vijayanand Palaniswamy. He and his team at G Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital (GKNMH), Coimbatore has accomplished the amazing feat of 27 deceased donations in just 16 months (February 2014 to June 2015).

In the years before Dr. Vijayanand donned his role as an Adult and Paediatric Intensive care specialist in GKNMH, life was straightforward for young Vijay in Coimbatore, where he did his schooling. His greatest influence growing up was his father from whom he learnt the valuable lessons of hard work, sincerity and honesty. Although, he had a “bumpy ride” in his travels through Perundurai medical college, his Professor of Medicine, Dr. Venugopal helped him get past the road blocks. He then worked in the department of neonatology at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore for two years, after which he did his post graduation in Paediatrics. The Vellore experience was an eye opener for him and the thirst to become an intensivist started there. His greatest influence in CMC was his Professor in NICU, Dr. Atanu Kumar Jana. Not only did Dr. Jana help him become strong in the fundamentals of intensive care, but he also learnt the lessons of commitment and dedication from him. Sometime later he moved to Sundaram Medical Foundation, Chennai. His passion for paediatric intensive care increased here in his role as the ICU in-charge for two years. In further pursuit of his passion, he went to Australia in 2007. He completed his Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) training in Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne. Then under the guidance of Dr. Warwick Butt-Director of RCH PICU, he joined adult intensive care training and completed it in Alfred Hospital, Melbourne.

All through his 11 years of work and training, Dr. Vijayanand says that his mentor was Dr. Ramkumar Raghupathy, who is currently the Dean in GKNMH. So it was a no-brainer that when he decided  to  return  to  India he joined GKNMH. He says that he learnt and continues to learn invaluable lessons from Dr. Raghupathy – both personally and professionally. He adds that whenever he is in a difficult situation, he pauses to think about what his mentor would do and that always points him in the right direction to deal with it.

On returning to India, the challenge for Dr. Vijayanand was to adapt to the Indian setup, deal with different personalities and the work culture, and most importantly have people trust you and your decisions. He says his passion, dedication, hard work, commitment, and his ability to stay cool in stressful situations have stood him in good stead. He says that as an intensivist he is a complete physician and it gives him immense satisfaction as one can change the life of not just one person, but the whole family.

Elaborating on the deceased organ donation programme in India, Dr. Vijayanand says that when he returned from Australia he was shocked at the ignorance in the medical community about it. But looking back at the needs of people with organ failure he decided to make a start in his hospital. He says that the work of Dr. J. Amalorpavanathan, Convenor, Cadaver Transplant Programme, Govt. of Tamil Nadu and Dr. Sunil Shroff, Managing Trustee, MOHAN Foundation in the field is inspiring.

Dr. Vijayanand feels that if awareness among the health professionals increases, more people would certify  brain  death  and counseling could ensue. He is of the opinion that the Indian Medical Council should make organ donation awareness a compulsory certification course for all medical professionals at some stage of their training, preferably the final year of under graduation or in specific specialities. He also feels that the deceased organ donation and transplantation programme needs to take off in government hospitals. This would help the cause as a whole otherwise it could be perceived as a private hospital centric programme.

Each of the 27 deceased donations that Dr. Vijayanand has facilitated is unique. And a couple of them were a real challenge. One was a GKNMH employee who became brain dead in his unit. All the hospital employees gathered asking whether something could be done to change the patient’s outcome. Convincing such a big crowd about organ donation was a daunting task, but he achieved it. There was another family that lost a daughter who was

6 months pregnant. Counselling the family was an extremely difficult proposition, but the amazing family did agree. The baby was still born. The mother’s organs were donated saving six patients and their families.

Challenges remain. But Dr. Vijayanand’s “never-say-die” spirit seems most appropriate when talking about them in the deceased organ donation programme. And so he continues to perform miracles in the lives of many patients with organ failure.

How to cite this article:
- Shroff S, Navin S. Dr. Vijayanand Palaniswamy He is a marvel!. Indian Transplant Newsletter.Vol. 14 Issue No.44. Mar 2015-Jun 2015

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- Shroff S, Navin S. Dr. Vijayanand Palaniswamy He is a marvel!. Indian Transplant Newsletter.Vol. 14 Issue No.44. Mar 2015-Jun 2015. Available at: