Boston Author Dr. Sadhna Bhatia Releases Her Book: Bapiji and Me: A Memoir of India and Beyond

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As Abraham Lincoln once said: In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

That famous quote is not only a favorite of author Dr. Sadhna Bhatia; it is the mantra that has guided her life for many decades.

At eighty years young, Dr. Bhatia shared that her life has been full of triumph and loss. Some were attributed to the circle of life, but just as many were also part of the challenges and rewards of being a woman of Indian descent in the medical field. However, as she looks back on a life well-lived, this brilliant woman is the first to acknowledge that she has been blessed beyond measure.

Dr. Bhatia pursued a medical career and began her medical residency in the U.S. in 1967. In 1973, she became the first female doctor, and the first foreign resident on staff, at Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, MA.

Even as a young girl in Ahmedabad, India, Dr. Bhatia knew she wanted to be a doctor. Born into a culture that favors males, her mentor, and grandfather, Bapaji, used his teachings and unwavering love to ingrain a spirit of determination into his granddaughter.

“My grandfather was 100 years ahead of his time,” Dr. Bhatia confirmed. “He was progressive and forward-thinking in everything he did, including reinforcing the belief that being female did not make me inferior. This gift of self-confidence helped to illuminate my path as I pursued a noble and fulfilling career in medicine.”

With the support of her grandfather and immediate family, Dr. Bhatia studied hard and earned top grades. Sadly, her world came crashing down when her beloved grandfather passed away before her high school graduation. Despite this devastating loss, she graduated with honors and was accepted to the prestigious Lady Hardinge Medical College in New Delhi, India, at age 17.

After graduation, she pursued a medical career in Anesthesiology with deep determination. Her medical residency and internship years were spent at several hospitals, including Woolwich Group of Hospitals in London, Watford Group of Hospitals in London, New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, and the prestigious Boston Hospital for Women & Harvard Medical School. In 1973, she became the first female doctor and the first foreign resident Staff Anesthesiologist at Leonard Morse Hospital (LMH) in Natick, MA. Elected chairperson of the Anesthesia Department in 1980, she held that position for fifteen years. Dr. Bhatia then opted to step down from that role in 1995 when LMH merged with Framingham Union Hospital. She proudly worked in her chosen profession for forty years and credits her accomplishments to the unwavering lessons from Bapaji.

“I was honored to be the chair of my department at LMH, and it was an achievement I know Bapaji would have been proud of,” She shared. “He always knew, and reminded me often, what I was capable of achieving in life. In my new role as leader of my department, I dedicated myself to excellence. With Bapaji’s teachings as my backbone, I was able to extricate myself from many perverse situations with my head still held high and my values unsullied.”

After her retirement in 2010, Dr. Bhatia added an author’s title to her already impressive list of medical degrees, accolades, and accomplishments. Published in 2021, “Bapaji and Me: A Memoir of India and Beyond” is the true story of grandfatherly love and how his gifts of wisdom, willpower, guidance, and resilience influence one incredibly determined young woman to become the accomplished and beloved daughter, wife, doctor of Anesthesiology, mother, and friend to many that she is today.

“Bapaji looked at everybody through the same lens and did not differentiate between caste, creed, or gender,” Dr. Bhatia recalled. “The only time he looked down on someone only to lift him or her up. Bapaji was always in service to others and was inspired by these words from Abraham Lincoln, ‘If I do good, I feel good. If I do bad, I feel bad.’ He taught me that there is no more sacred duty than to remember to whom you owe yourself.”

Even after his passing in 1956, Bapaji’s gifts of wisdom, willpower, guidance, and resilience continue to guide all of his family members. Knowing that her grandfather’s legacy could potentially change the lives of others, Dr. Bhatia has made it her mission to share his wisdom with readers across the globe.

“Looking back on my life so far, I see how much I have grown. However, I know I still have a long way to go,” Dr. Bhatia noted. “My grandfather may have passed away early in my life, but in that short space of time, he laid the foundation of my future. My goal is to continue growing in Bapaji’s teaching of integrity and discipline and pass that wisdom on to the present generations and the ones yet to come.”

Within the pages of “Bapaji and Me: A Memoir of India and Beyond” readers will not only discover the wonder and beauty of India, but they will also see that with hard work, passion, and the love and support of family, anything is possible.

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