DECADES OF DOCTORS
PERSPECTIVES IN MEDICINE : A DISCUSSION AMONG THREE GENERATIONS OF PHYSICIANS
The focus of this article is to gain insight about multigenerational medical families . I myself am a fourth-year medical student , and I interviewed my grandfather and father , both physicians . My grandfather , Amaleswara Rao Ankem , born , raised and educated in Andhra Pradesh , India , practiced family medicine in both India and Algeria . My father , Murali Ankem , followed in his footsteps , studying urology in India and America . He is a professor and has served as the Chairman of Urology at the University of Louisville for the past 10 years .
The following are edited excerpts from conversations with both my grandfather and father :
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE MEDICINE ?
Grandfather : Medicine was a calling . Growing up , there were no doctors in our village or in my family . When I was very young , I lost my older brother to jaundice . That was my impetus to study medicine .
Father : I pursued medicine because I ’ ve always had a love for science . I wanted to continue my family trade , and most importantly , I relish the gratification I get from making a difference in patients ’ lives .
WHAT IMPACT DID YOUR FAMILY HAVE ON YOUR DECISION TO GO INTO MEDICINE ?
Grandfather : My father encouraged me . He envisioned a better life for his children . We moved from our village to a
Akhila Ankem , MS4
city for better educational opportunities . He valued education by supporting me and my younger brother to go to medical school .
Father : As a kid , I wanted to be a detective just like in the Clint Eastwood movies ! However , family was a huge influence . They wanted me to study medicine and develop the career into a family tradition .
WHAT KIND OF PATIENT POPULATIONS DID YOU SERVE ?
Grandfather : In 1960 , I started in rural medicine and ran a diagnostic laboratory . Later in my career , I worked in the public health service . In India , we saw patients with many infectious diseases like tuberculosis , parasitic infections and hepatitis .
Father : In addition to general urology , I specialize in kidney stones and robotic options for urologic cancers .
WAS THERE A TURNING POINT IN YOUR CAREER ?
Father : It was the introduction of a robotic platform in urologic surgery . That inspired me to leave my practice in India , retrain in the U . S . and then do a fellowship in endourology and robotic surgery .
HOW HAS MEDICINE CHANGED SINCE YOU EN- TERED THE FIELD ?
Grandfather : There have been tremendous changes in terms of prevention and cure of disease . In my generation , we did more with less , and now I feel we do less with more . We did not have the resources you have now . But , more access to health care , vaccines and new technology have changed the
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