DR. SHEFALI DESAI
Dr. Shefali Desai is a Consultant Breast Surgeon who was trained at Stanford and MSKCC, NY. She is currently one of the directors of Samved Medicare. As a teaching faculty and a pioneer in the medical colleges of Ahmedabad, Gujarat for 14 years, she has served as a mentor to several students and surgeons and she was also instrumental in establishing a reconstruction with implants and prostheses for breast cancer after Mastectomy
What is your favourite word?
Passion and compassion. We must understand what the other person opposite to us is feeling. If a patient comes to me, I must understand what my patient is going through psychologically too, rather than just the tangible disease to treat. I need to treat them as a whole person. We should be compassionate towards the people that we work with and the people we see every day. Only when I have compassion and passion towards my patients, people, and my work will I be able to excel in what I do. Only through compassion and passion can we add meaning to what we do.
What was the moment in your life that made you Blossom into the person you are today?
Fortunately, even as a woman pursuing surgery back in the day, I never had to go through any kind of a struggle of explaining to my parents what I want to do or any of such sorts with anybody. My parents always had given me the freedom to do what I want to do. After I became a surgeon and got married, one of the things I knew I cannot compromise on is being a mother to my children. No matter what, the role a mother plays in a child's upbringing is a very crucial one. However, through my pregnancy to my kids actually growing up, I never had to take a day's maternity leave. My husband was a doctor too, so he had helped me out by taking responsibility for my patients too. I was able to be a mother, and with the help of my husband even be there for my patients.
As my kids grew up, they always inspired me to take care of my patients and my work. They gave me the confidence that they will be fine and pushed me to give equal importance to my profession. My daughter is now a breast surgeon herself, so I am sure she understands things way better now. In many ways, I have been blessed to always have people in my life who supported me and understood me.
What would you want the young boys & girls to learn from your journey ?
It was a lot of struggle as a woman to take up surgery as a career. Back then, I was the only woman in my class and at my job as a surgeon. From my journey, I would tell all the young girls to have a passion for what they want to do. Then pursue that passion with determination. There are certain D's that I believe one should follow to reach their purpose in life. The first one is to DEFINE your goals and define what you want, then you need to have the DETERMINATION to do it no matter what. Thirdly, you need to have the DEDICATION to the work you are doing. Nobody can stop you from doing what you want to do if you are giving the best results from the efforts you put forth. Also, it's important to DARE to do something different from what others are doing. You must be daring to push the limits further. You must also have DISCIPLINE in life. If you have all the plans to execute ready but you fail to have the discipline to stick to your decisions, owning your mistakes and learning from them - you will fail to grow. Lastly, the 6th "D" would be to understand the DEPTH. You must know the depth of the waters you are about to dive into and swim through. You wouldn't be able to grasp a whole understanding of the waters, but you must make an effort to understand the depth to the best of your knowledge before you take the step.