When Dr Sumana Kolar Ramachandra isn’t working as one of the few women surgeons in the speciality of liver and multi-organ transplantation in the world, she’s off exploring new places or road tripping across the country. The surgeon is an avid traveller and has explored the entire state of Rajasthan. She has also travelled from Delhi to Bengaluru via road with her friends.
“Most road trips aren’t planned. We would just hit the road and stay wherever we find accommodation. You cannot look for luxury then,” she says. The senior consultant, HPB surgery and liver transplant, Fortis Hospitals, has also been to Nairobi, Kenya on a wildlife tour and has done skydiving in Sydney, Australia. Apart from this, she has also taken off on short trips.
But managing time isn’t always easy. There have been occasions when the doctor has had to cut short or cancel her holidays. She recalls the time she was driving to Shivamogga for four days with her mother and sister for a family event. “But I had to return for a transplant surgery the next day. After driving for about seven hours, I did the surgery,” she says. The surgeon has missed many such family events because of her work but has no regrets as she is following her passion and that’s all that matters.
Love and marriage have no age restriction. The doctor got married in December last year, at the age of 45. “One should always do what they want to do and not what they are told to do. Time doesn’t matter,” she says, adding that she is now married to a cardiac surgeon. While the doctor went beyond the conventional age barrier, it isn’t the first time she has deviated from the norm to prove herself. When the transplant surgeon came back to India after her training in the US in 2010, she was one of the few female surgeons in a team of about 10 male surgeons. “As a woman, you have to work twice as hard as men to earn half their salary. You need to prove that you are good despite having already proved it with your credentials,” she says.
While this remains the issue in many fields, it’s more prevalent in surgery, says the doctor, who explains that surgeries can be physically taxing since they last 14 hours or longer. “Sometimes, you have to work the next day despite being awake the whole night. But women can do it, that’s why they are in the field,” she adds. Dr Ramachandra has done over 2,000 transplants till date
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