My work is extremely diversified: Dr Kavita Somani

1. What do you do for a living?

I help others getting back to life. I am a doctor, I fight the deadly diseases so that others can live. I passed out from King George’s Medical University with a degree in Pathology and established Lucknow’s only 24×7 diagnostic centre in 2007 because a person may need care any time. I named this centre as Care Diagnostics. Since then, I worked to make Care an icon of care for the needy people of Lucknow. In addition to this, I am currently serving as the Head of Pathology and Director of the Apollo-Medics International Hospital.

2. How would you describe your work?

In the simplest way, I care for the people. I am a pathologist. The first and foremost way to diagnose a disease is through Pathology. For the last 3000 years of so, this is the most reliable way to understand a disease. The way I see it, the pathology is the strategist and information-giver of the army of medicine. Without them, the soldiers won’t know who to attack! A pathology determines what is wrong with a patient and confirms the suspicions a doctor may be having. We’re the people whose word is law in the doctor field.

3. What does your work entail?

My work is extremely diversified. I do lot of analysis on critical cases. In fact, I myself do the reporting of all critical cases. I do meet patients and understand what is going on in their mind pertaining to their disease. It helps me to relate myself with them and finally to treat them well.  In addition to this, my work entails helping younger pathologists and technicians learn important skills that only first-hand experience can teach.There are always more tricky diagnoses to be made and young pathologists to be trained.  As the head department of One of the largest hospitals of Lucknow, running a 24×7 diagnostic centre and two blood banks is not an easy job.

4. What is a typical work week like?

A typical work week is always an extremely busy one. I plan each of my day carefully so that I can ensure smooth functioning of all the institutions. On a typical day, I am a pathologist, I am a teacher, I am a doctor, I am an administrator, I am a social worker and on top of the above, I am a wife and a mother too. At times, I also leave behind my hospitals to go out and work in the rural areas or slums to increase health awareness among those who are not having access to healthcare. Long work hours come with the territory of being a doctor.

5. How did you get started?

When I started as a young student of KGMU, I was flabbergasted at the state of diagnostic centres in Lucknow. The thing which a patient needs most and was missing there was Care. They always seemed to be strict and run on fixed rules, devoid of warmth and their attitude towards patients was not as desired. So, my mission became to transform diagnostic medicine into something thattook care of its patients, on all days and all times. This is what lead to the conception of Care Diagnostic Centre, the first 24/7 pathology in the state.

6. What do you like about what your work?

When a patient comes to the hospital, he placed his trust in the doctor. For him the doctor becomes the godly figure. They believe that your word is life, and their life and its quality is now in your hands. It’s a massive responsibility that every doctor shoulder, and every doctor should strive to fulfil the expectations of his patient. it’s what makes me feel so connected to my patients. I believe that a medical professional’s biggest gift is their ability to save a life and to improve it.

7. What do you dislike?

The art of diagnosis includes the area of false positives and true negatives. Reporting can never be 100% accurate. When there are patients who hold you to such high regard, and patients you develop close bonds with, it’s truly terrifying that their life could be the cost of one distracted professional or one damaged piece of equipment.

8. How do you make money or how are you compensated?

I always believe that there isn’t a need to chase after money if you are working hard doing what you love. In my entire life, I preferred reputation and respect over money. I am satisfied that I earned enough of it. However as far as earnings are concerned, I earn enough through my Care and Apollo Medics to live an honest &happy life.

9. What skills are needed to do this?

Understanding, Sympathy and Knowledge are three things I feel are needed. One must understand what the patient is undergoing. Should have a sympathy with his life and knowledge to treat the patient well. While the first two are human traits, the last one is a never-ending process. We are always chasing the diseases, so we can fight them.

10.what is most challenging about what your work?

Having to repeat the process after losing a patient is by far, the hardest thing I have had to do during this job. This is because you develop connections with your patients and become emotionally invested in their lives. We put a lot of effort to treat them and still when they pass away, it hurts badly. But it is the profession of a doctor, the question of not one patient but the community too. So, you must keep your head up and go on to the next patient anyway.

11. What is most rewarding?

Saving a life, any day of the week, is the most rewarding thing one can do. I feel at peace with myself when I tell a patient that they are out of danger and watch them rejoice with their families. There is infectious happiness of the purest kind at that moment––one of simple existence.

12. What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

ABCD. Any Body Can Doctor. The biggest advice I can give to the youngsters considering this field is to warn them, it’s not an easy profession and does not lead to an easy-going life. But if you are as devoted to helping people and saving lives as most doctors are, then go for it. Ignore any lack of knowledge or intelligence that you might feel. Just stay determined and you’ll be a doctor in no time.

13. How much time off do you get?

It is the most difficult task to maintain work life balance for a doctor. You are always walking on the edge of a sword. But I am a wife and a mother too, so I learnt while being a pathologist as how to take time out for family and particularly my daughter. I keep varying work hours for this very reason. On some days, I could have a twelve-hour-long shift. On others, I go home at four to see my daughter in a play. At the end, it’s all about balancing the wheel of your work and home life.

14. What else would you like people to know about your career?

A doctor will never find an end to the knowledge they require. Even today, I often spend hours browsing books, research papers and internet over an ailment I am not aware of. I make my notes for future. As each human is different, diseases are also different, and every person has a different diagnosis. If we diagnose correctly, the physician or surgeon can perform his job easily and the ability to diagnose correctly comes with continuous learning which is a never-ending process in a doctor’s life.

15. What is a common misconception people have about what your work? 

People often think that medical profession is an easy way to earn money. Trust me, it is not. It is a matter of how you come over the trust placed in your hand by the patient. It entails spending decades of learning before you are prepared to handle the challenges. Medicine entails walking on the edge of a sword every single day. Medicine entails having to show up to work at 3 in the morning or to work sometimes for continuously 36 or 48 hours without blinking your eyes. It’s not an easy life and there are much easier ways to earn money, if that is what one’s goal may be.

Professional background & awards:

1.Dr Kavita Somani
Director and Head of Pathology
ApolloMedics Multispeciality Hospitals
LDA Colony, Lucknow

2.MRS India Universe 2018 Winner(MRS India Universe,beauty with purpose)