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He wanted to be a painter, but ended up being one of the best cardiologists in the country, playing a crucial role in establishing two heart institutions in Bangalore - Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology and the Wockhardt Hospital and Heart Institute, which is now Fortis Hospitals Ltd. "My dream was to be a painter. I got admission to JJ School of Arts. But my family persuaded me to take up science. This is how I took up medicine, " recalls Dr Vivek Jawali.
There are hundreds of his paintings at home. "I seldom paint these days because painting absorbs me and it requires dedicated time. It is very difficult to paint with my busy schedule, " he adds.
Jawali completed his MBBS from M R Medical College, Gulbarga (Karnataka) in 1974. He topped Karnataka University and was named the 'best all-round outgoing student' for his participation in various extracurricular activities such as painting, debate, writing, and student leadership. He completed his MS from JJMC, Davangere, MCh in CVT surgery from KEM Hospital and Seth GS Medical College in Mumbai.
"When I joined MBBS, I didn't like it much. Even when I started practicing general surgery, I was not very excited. But when I was exposed to cardiac surgery accidentally, I realised that this is what I wanted to do, " he says.
The doctor who has performed over 16, 000 surgeries and has been president of the Indian Association of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons is also fond of trekking. He's trekked to the Himalayas, Manasarovar and even in the Grand Canyon.
He has contributed to the growth of the off-pump (beating heart) coronary bypass surgery (OPCAB) in India. Today, India conducts the highest number of OPCABs in the world. He was also the first to perform India's first minimally invasive bypass surgery in September 1994. In 2000, he performed India's first awake bypass surgery on a fully conscious patient without general anaesthesia or ventilator, using the technique of continuous high thoracic epidural analgesia. In 2002, he did the world's first awake open heart surgery on a 74-year-old patient.
The founder member of the International Society of Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgeons, Jawali is the only Indian on the editorial board of its journal - Innovations in Cardiac Surgery. Not too bad for someone who only wanted to paint.
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