Noted rural surgeon and social activist Dr Ravidranath Tongaonkar, who popularised the use of a mosquito net mesh for repairing hernia, succumbed to coronavirus infection at a hospital in Nashik on Monday. He was 78.
Dr Tongaonkar used to practice in Dondaicha village of Sindhkheda taluka of Dhule district. He was closely associated with Dr Narendra Dabholkar’s Maharashtra Anti-Superstition Movement and was a recipient of several awards.
Recalling his immense contribution, Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, former IMA president, said Dr Tongaonkar will always remain an inspiration. “An era has come to an end… the era of a resilient, rational, passionate man,” said Dr Wankhedkar.
He recalled the time when Dr Tongaonkar had refused an opportunity to study FRCS, in the UK, and started practicing medicine in Dondiacha instead. Renting a tiny mission hospital, he started his three-bed hospital. When a fourth patient arrived, he gave the only cot in his house to the patient, and himself slept on a mattress, said Dr Wankhedkar.
Dr Tongaonkar had served as the president of the International Federation of Rural Surgeons, and Association of Rural Surgeons of India. The World Hernia Foundation had mentioned him in its hall of fame as one of the most important contributors to hernia repair surgery.
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