As Abraham Lincoln once said: “In the end, it’s not the years of your life that count. This is the life of your years.
This famous quote is not only one of author Dr. Sadhna Bhatia’s favorites; it was the mantra that guided his life for many decades.
At eighty years old, Dr. Bhatia shared that his life has been full of triumphs and losses. Some were attributed to the circle of life, but just as many were also part of the challenges and rewards of being an Indian woman in the medical field. However, as she looks back on a life well lived, this brilliant woman is the first to acknowledge that she has been blessed beyond measure.
Dr. Bhatia pursued a medical career and began her medical residency in the United States in 1967. In 1973, she became the first female physician and the first foreign resident on staff at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, MA.
Even as a young girl in Ahmedabad, India, Dr. Bhatia knew she wanted to be a doctor. Born into a culture that favors men, her mentor and grandfather, Bapaji, used his teachings and unwavering love to instill a spirit of determination in his granddaughter.
“My grandfather was 100 years ahead of his time,” confirmed Dr Bhatia. “He was progressive and forward-thinking in everything he did, including reinforcing the belief that being a woman did not make me inferior. That gift of self-confidence helped light my way as I pursued a noble and fulfilling career in medicine.
With the support of his grandfather and immediate family, Dr. Bhatia studied hard and earned top marks. Sadly, her world came crashing down when her beloved grandfather passed away before he graduated from high school. Despite this devastating loss, she graduated with honors and was accepted into the prestigious Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi, India at age 17.
After graduation, she pursued a medical career in anesthesiology with deep determination. Her medical residency and internship years were spent at several hospitals, including the Woolwich Group of Hospitals in London, the Watford Group of Hospitals in London, the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, and the prestigious Boston Hospital for Women & Harvard Medical School. . In 1973, she became the first female physician and the first foreign resident anesthesiologist at Leonard Morse Hospital (LMH) in Natick, MA. Elected president of the anesthesia department in 1980, she held this position for fifteen years. Dr Bhatia then chose to step down from this role in 1995 when LMH merged with Framingham Union Hospital. She proudly worked in her chosen profession for forty years and attributes her accomplishments to Bapaji’s unwavering lessons.
“I was honored to be the chair of my department at LMH, and it’s an achievement that I know Bapaji would have been proud of,” she shared. “He always knew, and often reminded me, of what I was capable of achieving in life. In my new role as head of my department, I dedicated myself to excellence. With Bapaji’s teachings as spine, I was able to get out of many perverse situations with my head held high and my values intact.
After her retirement in 2010, Dr. Bhatia added an authorship to her already impressive list of medical degrees, honors and achievements. Published in 2021, “Bapaji and Me: A Memoir of India and Beyond” is the true story of a grandfather’s love and how his gifts of wisdom, willpower, guidance and resilience influence an incredibly determined young woman to become the Beloved and accomplished daughter, wife and doctor of anesthesiology. , mother and friend of many that she is today.
“Bapaji looked at everyone through the same lens and did not distinguish between caste, creed or gender,” Dr Bhatia recalled. “The only time he looked down on someone only to lift them. Bapaji has always been of service to others and was inspired by these words of Abraham Lincoln: “If I do good, I feel good If I hurt, I feel bad. He taught me that there is no duty more sacred than to remember to whom one owes oneself.
Even after his passing in 1956, Bapaji’s gifts of wisdom, willpower, guidance and resilience continue to guide all members of his family. Knowing that his grandfather’s legacy could potentially change the lives of others, Dr. Bhatia has made it his mission to share his wisdom with readers around the world.
“Looking back at my life so far, I see how much I have grown. However, I know I still have a long way to go,” Dr. Bhatia noted. passed away early in my life, but in that short time he laid the foundation for my future. My goal is to continue to grow in Bapaji’s teaching on integrity and discipline and to pass this wisdom on to present and future generations.
In the pages of “Bapaji and Me: A Memoir of India and Beyond”, readers will not only discover the wonders and beauty of India, but they will also see that with hard work, passion, love and the support of the family, everything is possible. possible.