Dr. Subhadra Jalali – keeping the darkness away since 1997

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With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art. – from Hippocratic Oath

While doctors’ aura of Godliness is a myth, it is a profession that has been called noble as there is nothing nobler than saving human lives and promoting good health. At the time of miseries, a doctor is treated as a healer and nobody gets bothered by the doctor’s religion, caste, race or sex. A doctor creates hope when there is none and helps in restoring the patient’s faith. Meet one such doctor, Dr. Subhadra , who is spreading the light by keeping the darkness away.

Dr. Subhadra Jalali, an ophthalmologist at L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, has been fighting Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a potentially blinding disease, in premature babies since 1997. As a faculty member at LVPEI at the time, she and her team members were alarmed to see 12 consecutive cases of ROP in a single month in the year 1998, after which she went to the US for training on treatment of premature babies.

Dr. Subhadra started conducting city-wide check-ups in Hyderabad. She used to visit 50 hospitals every month to conduct screenings and perform corrective laser treatment. She also started conducting month-long training for doctors across the country. Dr. Subhadra has trained 350 doctors to date. She returned to India and contacted all government centres in Hyderabad to establish a programme for detecting and treating ROP at neonatal care units.

“My inspiration behind starting these check-ups was all these blind children and desperate parents. People are so happy when their first child is born, and then you have to tell them that he/she will be blind for life! They feel so helpless and don’t know what to do,” she says

She and her team have screened over 15,000 babies from India and the surrounding Asian countries. The government also set up an ROP task force three years ago and LVPEI is working with it to implement a nationwide programme.

In this era where ‘medical negligence’ has raised its ugly head, it’s doctors like Dr. Subhadra, who have kept the profession, noble, by following a regimen which, according to their ability and judgment, they consider for the benefit of their patients, and by abstaining from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.

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