Asia’s first woman neurosurgeon, T.S. Kanaka, died in Chennai on Wednesday after a brief illness. She was 86.
Dr. Kanaka, who retired as professor of Neurosurgery, Institute of Neurology, Madras Medical College (MMC), in 1990, was known to have inspired many women to take to the field of neurosurgery in the country.
One of them was her niece, G. Vijaya, who presently heads the Department of Neurosurgery at Sri Narayani Hospital and Research Centre, Vellore.
“She was the third woman neurosurgeon in the whole world. She has inspired at least 75 to 80 women to become neurosurgeons in the country. As an 11-year-old child then, I started to look up to her and went on to become a neurosurgeon, the second in our family,” she said.
She also served as an army medical officer for two years during the India-China war.
“Her main aim after retirement from MMC was to serve the needy and poor. She wanted to treat the geriatric age group, and went on to establish a centre, Sri Santhana Krishna Padmavathi Health Care and Research Foundation in Chromepet with all her pension benefits,” she said.
One of her areas of interests was deep brain stimulation, Dr. Vijaya added.
K. Deiveegan, former head of department, Institute of Neurology, MMC, said she has done a lot of pioneering work in stereotactic surgery along with professors V. Balasubramanian and S. Kalyanaraman. Another important area of interest for her was cerebral palsy.