Spotlight: Dr. Padmavathy Guntamukkala
Posted on Feb 21 2017 by the Canadian Paediatric Society | Permalink
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Dr. Padmavathy Guntamukkala
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in India. After I finished my medical education, I worked in Guyana, South America for a few years, then moved to do a diploma in child health in Ireland. I worked in both Ireland and England for seven years. Presently, I am working at Charles S. Curtis Memorial Hospital in St. Anthony, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Can you describe your practice?
My practice is hospital–based. We are currently two paediatricians, including myself. There are times I’ve practiced as a solo paediatrician for a number of months in the absence of a second paediatrician.
My practice involves running general paediatrics, asthma, diabetes and multidisciplinary developmental clinics on a regular basis. I also do high-risk perinatal clinics, autism diagnostic and fetal alcohol syndrome diagnostic clinics.
I travel to Goose Bay and Labrador City – the other two main hospitals in Labrador. I travel three, sometimes four times a year to do high-risk perinatal clinics, autism diagnostic clinics and also to see children with complicated health issues who were referred by their family doctors. In the interim period, the family doctors follow up with their patients to ensure they are following my recommendations.
I am also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Discipline of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University in St. John’s. I am involved in teaching/training 3rd and 4th year clerks and CSAT candidates prior to them becoming family physicians.
What is the best part of your practice?
St. Anthony is a remote corner of Northern Newfoundland with a catchment area of 40,000 people. We are connected to the catchment area by road, plane and ferry in summer months. Our access to a tertiary centre is either by plane, which is a one hour flight, or by road, which is about 12-14 hours. Traveling is sometimes difficult because of the harsh winter climate.
This is a unique place where I deal with a variety of paediatric medicine. It is both challenging and rewarding for me to be able to provide services to the children of this region and their families. I owe many thanks to my specialty colleagues at the tertiary centre, as they are very supportive.
What are you most proud of initiating in your community?
After receiving additional training, I initiated high-risk perinatal clinics in all three main hospitals (St. Anthony, Goose Bay, and Labrador City) in 2004, autism diagnostic clinics in 2007, and fetal alcohol syndrome diagnostic clinics in 2014.
I started these clinics after seeing how difficult it was for patients and parents from the community to travel to St. John’s, where wait times for services are longer. This introduction brought awareness to the community, which resulted in early referrals and early diagnosis and intervention for the children involved. Children and their families now have access to these specialty services within our region.
This was all made possible with the the help of my medical colleagues and a multidisciplinary team, which includes other health and interventional professionals.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned as a community paediatrician?
The most valuable lesson that I have learned as a community paediatrician is the importance of working as part of a team along with the other physicians and health care professionals, to respect each other’s knowledge and share ideas for the best interest of patients.
What piece of advice would you share with a colleague just starting out?
It is always important to build a relationship with the local community and health care professionals. One has to be committed, compassionate and empathetic to patients and family members and always be open to new developments, challenges, and opinions.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like travelling, hiking and snowshoeing.
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