Former Vadodara Mayor and Padma Shri-awarded surgeon Vitthalbhai Patel died late Friday night at a private hospital,where he was admitted following a severe heart attack. Patel,81,is survived by his wife and four daughters. A veteran surgeon,Patel held several important positions and performed some path-breaking heart surgery during his career spanning 45 years.
Patels funeral procession was taken out from Sanjiv Hospital,which he had set up in 1968,after coming back from the UK,where he received Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). Over 200 odd people,including city Congress leaders and supporters,joined the procession.
Born into a business family in 1932 in Kheda districts Pandoli village,Patel trained himself as a surgeon and was well-known not just in Vadodara where he mostly practised,but all over India. He was awarded Padma Shri in 1989 for public affairs,socio-medical relief and medical education by the then President,R Venkatraman. He also received Dr B C Roy National Award under socio-medical category in 1985.
During the late 1970s,Patel became politically active and joined Congress,becoming the municipal councillor of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) between 1980-1986,then serving as city Mayor in 1983. He also served as the president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in 1999-2000,president of Gujarat State Surgeons Association in 1974,and member of All India Surgeons Association.