A Star Pathologist: Meet Dr Kirti Chadha

“We are dealing with human lives. As a doctor, I have a responsibility towards the patient that has to be fulfilled all the time. Metropolis is an organisation with a heart, making it easy to deliver this promise.”

Dr. Kirti joined Metropolis with a strong hospital background. A gold medallist from Armed Forces Medical College, she has been previously associated with some of the biggest hospitals in India.

She recalls meeting the Chairman and MD back then in 2009. During the meeting, it transpired that the Histo department was a loss-making unit and it required a serious turnaround. Never one to shy away from challenges,  Dr. Kirti took upon the mantle of making the Histo department profitable at Metropolis. Little did she realise that she would play an integral part in forging an era of Reflex Conclusive Diagnosis in Onco-pathology, a concept unheard of in India.

Currently, she heads our global reference laboratory located at Vidyavihar, Mumbai. The laboratory churns out more than 12,000 reports a day and processes 30 million samples a year, with samples coming over from 7 countries and 20,000 labs across the country.

As a pathologist, her primary role is to ensure that every patient gets an accurate diagnosis in the shortest time (TAT) possible. A healthcare provider like Metropolis and for doctors like her, time is essential because both clinician and patient are waiting to take the next step basis a report. As a senior pathologist, she also has to align the goals of her juniors and also mentor and inspire them to the overall vision of the brand. In addition, she also has to look after the support system in the pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical stages to ensure a seamless experience for doctors and customers.

Dealing with Human Lives: A Huge responsibility
We request her to recount any strong memories from her journey and she fills us with stories that leave us moist-eyed. 2 years back, she received a sample from a young man who was scheduled to get married in about 2 months. He had developed an infection and doctors were of the opinion that it was a peripheral hair follicle infection. The consulting doctor had referred the patient to Metropolis for testing 6 markers. However, the case was peculiar and it needed more testing. Upon realising this, Dr. Kirti got special approval to test the patient for 35 markers and at no additional cost to the patient. A final diagnosis of acute leukaemia (Blood cancer) was given to the patient and he was immediately put under treatment. He went on to get married and have kids.

Dr. Kirti says, “We are dealing with human lives. As a doctor, I have a responsibility towards the patient that has to be fulfilled all the time. Metropolis is an organisation with a heart, making it easy to deliver this promise.”

Impacting lives of patients, every single day:
Another peculiar case is of a patient – a 23-year-old female with a past history of lymph node enlargements. She was suffering from recurrent cold, cough and purpuric skin rashes all over the body. After multiple incorrect diagnosis and ineffective treatments, the case was brought to Metropolis Healthcare where she was investigated for Auto Immune Lymphoproliferaive Syndrome upon clinical suspicion. The reports by Metropolis Healthcare confirmed that the patient was suffering from Castleman disease, a rare disease with a very specific treatment. The patient has undergone various tests and had been put under different treatments for over 15 years and yet her symptoms persisted. She had undergone adenoid resection, tonsillectomy, cholecystectomy, been treated for TB though she didn’t have, had multiple biopsies & investigations over the years.

Metropolis conducted a battery of tests to give a conclusive diagnosis and ruled out all other possibilities. That single most conclusive report helped the clinician and patient. For the first time in 15 years, the patient has responded well to treatment and is leading a normal life! Dr. Kirti spends around 10 hours at the laboratory and we ask her if work-life balance exists at all? She says, that her family and two beautiful daughters are extremely proud of the work she is doing. They tell her that her purpose is to impact lives.

She summed up her entire Metropolis journey in one word, “Awesome”.

At Metropolis, Dr. Kirti has spearheaded the histopathology section, introduced Oncomet, reflex conclusive diagnosis, sub speciality onco pathology and has been instrumental in expanding the test menu in the onco-path division. She has been credited with introducing many tests like BRCA, HPV and Mammatyper at a cost that is most affordable to patients. She adds “We have brought down tests that cost patients about 2 and half lakh to mere 48,000 Indian rupees.”

Dr. Kirti is also present on the WHO expert panel for cancer. She has delivered numerous orations on cancer across the country. Her most recent achievement includes introducing Digital Pathology at Metropolis. Metropolis is the first pathological laboratory in the country to launch it. We ask her about all these achievements and she gives the credit back to our Chairman, Dr. Sushil Shah.

A Mentor in Chairman, Dr Sushil Shah
She states, “Dr. Shah is a visionary. He asked us to introduce Sub Speciality pathology when not many were aware or gung-ho about it. In healthcare, he can correctly predict the timeline of the near future beforehand. Today, we are in the lead as compared to our competitors. This has happened on account of his vision, constant guidance and trust in his people to deliver the set goals.”

Metropolis is always supportive of its employees. An idea needs to have a scientific rationale and a commercial validation. If it’s there, the employee can roll with the idea along with the support and guidance from the senior colleagues. Dr. Kirti says and we quote, “Metropolis is a goldmine of scientific knowledge”.

Dr. Kirti plans to launch genomics and molecular division in the near future. She is pressed for time and we are about to take her leave, when she gets a call from a distressed doctor. She urges Dr. Kirti to look into a sample that has come in for a borderline breast cancer diagnosis. Blessed are people like Dr. Kirti who have the opportunity to impact human lives on an everyday basis. It is because of Champion Metropolitans like Dr. Kirti that Metropolis today is a leading healthcare brand and is able to deliver the promise of accurate diagnosis, every single time.