Renowned surgeon Chitturi Satyanarayana's house to be converted into hospital

Even as they immerse the ashes of renowned ENT surgeon Chitturi Satyanarayana in the Godavari this weekend, his sons and grandchildren have begun work on realising the doctor's dream of converting his home into a hospital.

The house where Dr. Satayanarayana played host to Alexander Fleming (who discovered penicillin), legendary Carnatic musicians M.S. Subbulakshmi, D.K. Pattammal and G.N. Balasubramanian, former Presidents of the country, various politicians like Annadurai, Kamaraj, Krishna Menon and former chief minister MGR, had fallen silent ever since he moved to a quieter home in Anna Nagar, a decade ago.

The Chitturi House, a single-storey stately mansion with a wide driveway and a tiny patch of green at the entrance, on the busy Poonamallee High Road will be converted into a full-fledged hospital. A second level will be added to the existing structure.

Back when Dr. Satayanarayana stayed there, the ground floor was a dedicated clinic and the first floor was his residence. For his children and grandchildren, bumping into celebrities, who had come to meet the renowned surgeon, was a way of life. Dr. Satyanarayana's three sons followed in their father's footsteps. Like him, they studied and taught at the Madras Medical College.

Dr. Satyanarayana's early life is the stuff legends are made of. His nationalistic writings as a youth led to his arrest by the British and he fled to Madras from Pamarru in Andhra Pradesh to escape police action. In 1935, he went to MMC to buy an application form for the MBBS course and the rest, as they say, is history. “Wherever I go in the world, I hear about my father,” says his eldest son and vascular surgeon Satya Kumar. The septuagenarian and his wife Swarnalakshmi, a gynaecologist, were founder promoters of Apollo Hospitals.

A connoisseur of the fine arts, Dr. Satyanarayana's libraries in Chitturi House and in the Anna Nagar residence are a treasure trove of information, with about 20,000 books on medicine, arts, Vedas and the epic Mahabharata. His sons cherish the notebooks that contain his handwritten notes. He also published a book of poems and penned devotional songs.

He continued to receive the British Medical Journal long after he stopped subscribing it. “He wrote to BMJ saying he did not wish to subscribe to the journal anymore as he had given up active practice. The BMJ waived subscription and continued to send him the journal until his death,” said his second son Prasad.

“Once, at the age of 82, he told me that were four ways of bone resorption and not three as mentioned in the medical books. He must have read that in the BMJ,” he said.


R. SujathaJune 28, 2012

Arts, Entertainment & EventsMay 14, 2012

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