Dr K. B. Mallya – Mangalorean Star
Mangalorean.com is very proud to crown our own enthusiastic, multi-talented, energetic Neurosurgeon member as our Mangalorean Star of the month of December 2004.As most of our readers know Dr. Kasargod B. Mallya, M.D. FICS.
As most of our readers know Dr. Kasargod B. Mallya, M.D. FICS. DABNS, through his captured moments, health beat articles, poems and cooking; no doubt he is a rare personality, an unique combination that is very hard to find. Mangalorean.com stumbled upon this rare jewel and he has been an inspiration to many.
Dr K. B. Mallya was born in Mangalore to Late K. Ganesh Mallya and Shantha Mallya. His father was a manager in Pangal Nayak Bank, which was later taken over by Canara Bank. He worked for the same bank until his untimely demise in 1979. His mother is a housewife and at present shuttles between USA, Canada and India. Dr. Mallya has a younger sister, who was widowed at a young age. After his brother in laws death Dr. Mallya made sure both his mother and sister lived comfortably and together.
Dr. Mallya did his very early education in Shimoga, in a convent! He traveled wherever his father was transferred, and his next stop was to a place called Chikkanayakana Halli, where he completed his middle and high school.
Dr. Mallya tied his knots with Bharati. This year they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Here is what he has to say about his beloved wife Bharati: “She has played a key role in making me who I am today and I am ever so grateful to her. She used to work as a nurse in Canada and once we had our first child we decided that she stays home.” Together they have three beautiful girls, Bianca, Sasha and Sonia.
Here we present to you his alluring life history from birth till now:
What fascinated you to become a doctor and that too a Neurosurgeon?
As I studied in a convent, my command over English language was far superior than my classmates and that’s as far as i went! Academically, up to this point, i would consider myself average to below average. Always passed my exams but barely!
Until one day as I was walking to school, I met the local doc, who asked me if I am interested in witnessing an autopsy. I was 14 yrs old and the doc knew my father very well. I said yes! Anything was better than attending school! That was the turning point in my life. I not only decided to become a doctor, but also wanted to be a Neurosurgeon. Just the appearance of the brain fascinated me more than any other part of the body.
How did you manage your scores during your college and med school? Were you involved in other activities during your schooling?
As my village had no college, I went to Tiptur for my PUC. I spent most of my time playing cricket and ball badminton for my college and won all the trophies there were to win. I completed the year and my grades were better than before but not sufficient to get me into medical school!
I joined Poornaprajna College in Udupi and did my B.Sc with Physics and this time my grade average was 92% and I was first in my class. I not only got admission to KMC Manipal, but also received Government of India Scholarship for Medical studies.
I continued to do well in med school and during my first year I was nicknamed “walking Gray’s Anatomy”, because I knew everything in that 2000 page textbook! I was teaching anatomy to my classmates as well as to my juniors! After my pre-clinical year and a half, my father took a transfer to Mangalore and I completed my MBBS in 1977.
During that period, I was entertainment secretary of my college, participated in debates and had lots of fun! Most of my friends were Catholics, so pork and fenny and visit to coffee estates became a routine. I moonlighted as medical officer at Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers, Vijaya Clinic near Bunts Hostel Road and had my own clinic in Thannir Bavi to make some spending money as I was completing my Internship!
After your internship what brought you to Canada and how did you manage your residency program and persuaded in Neurosurgery?
Following my Internship, I made a trip to Malaysia to write an exam that would allow me to go to USA. As I was getting ready to move to NY, I met my wife and decided to go to Canada with her.
Once I reached Canada, I realized things were not as I had imagined. I had never seen a CAT scan in my life, didnt know I had to write another exam to be eligible for residency training and I was told even if I passed the exam, there were not enough funds to support a foreign medical graduate! I applied for a job at University of Ottawa to teach Anatomy to medical students. While teaching the students, I studied for my exam. They were so impressed with my knowledge of anatomy and I was offered to do graduate work in Neuroanatomy. As I was doing my graduate work and teaching and studying I made sure I never lost track of my original goal of becoming a neurosurgeon. I kept in touch with the chairman of Neurosurgery department, who by the way was from Hungary, a foreign medical graduate himself!! I wrote my exam and as soon as I knew I had passed, I went to him and he advised me to join the Neurosurgery program, even if the funds were not available.
I worked as a resident for 5 years out of the 7years without being paid and my wife and her parents supported me! It was so tempting to switch specialty because everybody else wanted me in their specialty and as funds were available. Finally my professors got together and raised sufficient funds from their own private earning and offered to pay me. By then I really did not need the money, I suggested they create a fund for somebody else in my position! I was touched by their generosity!
Tell me about your fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and your hardship in becoming a Chief of Neurosurgery?
During my training I realized, research is an integral part and to get anywhere I need to show I had written scientific papers! Throughout my training period I made sure I at least wrote one or two papers. Following my residency training I accepted a four-year Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to specialize in the surgical management of brain tumors. Once I completed my Fellowship even though I was offered a job in New York, for my children and family sake I decided to move to Long Island, New York. Soon after I moved to Long Island, I wrote the American Board of Neurological Surgery Exam. I had written the first part of the exam when I was in Canada and I had scored top marks and I was in the top 5% in North America. Once I passed the final exam, I was immediately appointed as Chief of Neurosurgery at two large prestigious hospitals. In that capacity I introduced various treatment protocols for treatment of brain tumors, first one to use what is called, Neuronavigational system for brain surgery in Long Island and was featured in New York Times!
Who are your role models and their influence in your life?
During my life so far, I have met several people who in some way or other have participated in molding my outlook on life in general but more specifically mine. Especially a friend whom I met recently, I admire her and she is a source of inspiration to me.
What brought you to Bangalore and what are your goals?
Prior to coming to Bangalore, I was in Bahrain for a year setting up Neurosurgery department at a private hospital. At present I am Chief of Neurosurgery at another private hospital but in Bangalore. Once again I am trying to establish a Neurosurgery Department with standards similar to what’s available in North America. Recently I was appointed to the advisory board of the Center for Advanced Research and Development, their Neurosurgery Division! In that capacity I am responsible to make sure patients receive the best treatment that’s available for brain tumors. I have been in several advisory committees in the past in my capacity as Chief of Neurosurgery, in establishing guidelines for various treatment protocols.
One of the other reasons I decided to come back to India is to help patients who normally couldn’t afford my services. I write my professional fees off if a patient is found to be in financially poor situation. I am also trying to introduce new procedures and protocols. I have done research during my entire Neurosurgical training period and at present I am looking into starting Spinal cord Injury Research using Stem Cells. I am also traveling a lot in and around Bangalore, giving talks to physicians to make them aware of latest treatments that are available for various Neurological diseases.
In addition to being a Neurosurgeon you are a multi talented person, could you please explain your hobbies and your interest in paintings, cooking, poetry, etc. etc.?
My hobbies are varied – Photography, Music, Portrait painting, Fruit carving, Sports cars, writing poetry and cooking to mention a few. I love music of all types especially old hindi songs, Ghazals, Indian classical Instrumental and western music. My favorite singers are Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Santana and some of my favorite groups are Dire Straits, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd. Right from my high school year I used to sing and even to this day I love singing. Even though I wanted to write poetry, I never really sat down to write one until believe it or not I joined mangalorean.com! I enjoy cooking, that’s when I get some time to think, people who have tasted my cooking tell me “its one of the best food I have tasted”. Painting is something I took up as recently as of January 2004, and always enjoyed the expressions on people and have done only portraits! I enjoy a good game of badminton these days and I play regularly at catholic Club in Bangalore. Most of you have seen my hand at photography and I enjoy the outdoors.
Last, but not least, what is your message to Mangalorean.com readers:
“Set a goal and work towards it… never give up… if I can do it… you can too. Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future.”
“Finally, I want to thank Mangalorean.com and its readers for their comments and constructive criticism and I wish you all MERRY X-MAS AND A VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!!”
Dr. Mallya is a member of The American Association of Neurological Surgeons and International Association of Computer Assisted Surgery, and Fellow of the International College of Surgeons and Diplomat of the American Board of Neurological Surgery. His work in the area of surgery of brain tumors is internationally recognized and is practiced worldwide. He has published several scientific papers both in national and international journals. Several of his publications are cited in almost all Neurosurgical Textbooks. His scientific paper presentation on surgery of brain tumors was adjudged as best paper presentation by a Fellow in Neurosurgery at the International Congress of Neurosurgery held in New Delhi.
Dr. Mallya worked in Long Island, New York, where he was Chief at Good Samaritan and Brookhaven Memorial Hospitals.
Some of his publications are:
Mallya K.B. et al : CSF Dynamic Study in Children with Borderline Hydrocephalus and Macrocephaly Journal Pediatric Neurosciences 1 : 114-122, 1985
Mallya K.B. et al: Gangliogliomas of the Temporal Lobe. Childs Nervous System 2:63-66 1986
Mallya K.B. et al: Choroid Plexus Papilloma in a four month old Child. Journal of Child Neurolgy 1: 153-155, 1986
Mallya K.B. et al : Interhemispheric Subdural Hematoma. Canadian Journal of Neuorological Sciences 14: 172-174, 1987
Mallya K.B et al: Modified Open Thoracic Rhizotomy for Treatment of Intractable Chest wall Pain of Malignant Etiology. Annals of Thoracic Surgery 48: 820-823
Mallya K.B. et al: Survival in Patients with CT Documented Gross Total Resection of malignant Glioma. International Congress of Neurosurgery Scientific Paper Presentation. 1989, New Delhi, India. Journal of Neurosurgery.
Mallya et al: Multiple Operations in the Treatment of Recurrent Brain Metastasis. Neurosurgery Society of America. 1990 Journal of Neurosurgery.
Mangalorean.com wishes Dr. K.B. Mallya all the very best in his future endeavors.
Mrs. Sandeep Raja, India:
Its been a privelage to interact with Dr. Mallaya at several occasions and also in touch with Bharati Mallaya at present for some property matters. I feel proud now after reading this article that Dr. Mallaya was such a great person and i happened to know him.
Lynn Darby, USA:
Hello Dr. Mallya I wish to thank you for my surgeries of the years 1997, 1999 and 2000 while on Long Island, NY. Do you recall the name of the Spine Center? I admire your pursuit in your country at present and wish you to know I became a children’s author. My husband and I retired to North Carolina. We wish you continued pursuit in your field. web page is www.lynndarbycreations.com.
Lynn and Larry Darby
Interesting article. Is it true that Dr Mallya is no more?
Brian Wark, Canada:
Sounds like a very good and life affirming man. Sorry that I missed meeting him.