Meet our Clinical Chemistry Champ: Pratip Patiyane

I wanted to quit Metropolis in a month after joining. Now 16 years later, I cannot imagine life without Metropolis.

On a bright Thursday morning, we go over to meet Mr Pratip at the Metropolis Global Reference Laboratory (GRL). He is engrossed in the darkroom, reviewing slides. He requests us for fifteen minutes and then we meet him in the pantry over coffee.

Pratip says, “I wanted to quit Metropolis in a month after joining. I joined in 2002 and was the only breadwinner in my family. I wanted to be earning a lot more than what I was getting at that time. Little did I know then that my stint at Metropolis will change my life forever.”

Soon after joining, Pratip started training for blood sample collection. He collected blood samples and for every sample collected, he received a service fee of INR 50/-. At around the same time, Metropolis started building new centers. The master strategy back then was to have one center outside each hospital. The first center was outside KEM Hospital and Pratip used to work there for four hours in the morning. He received another service fee for this. With his finance problem now behind him, his real journey at Metropolis began.

Love for Chemistry developed at Metropolis
His strong urge to learn about the Chemistry department thoroughly led him to work 12-14 hours each day for about 8 years. Pratip totally believes in the principle, “work is worship”.

There was a brief point when the Metropolis central laboratory did not have a head of department (HOD) for the chemistry section. Pratip along with four other colleagues expressed their desire to Dr Nilesh and Ms Ameera that they were equipped to handle the section independently. It was approved and Pratip along with his colleagues were given the responsibility and freedom to run the section.

Pratip mentions the advice he received from Ms Ameera Shah, “Make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes, put your heart and soul in everything you do. You will all win if you follow this simple thing.”

Pratip adds “Mind you, I was no doctor. I was a simple scientific officer. I had to read up a lot on the internet, from books, other reference materials, go to conferences, talk to peers and get as much references and knowledge as possible. Metropolis allowed him to learn and grow. He proudly mentions that they conducted around 30-40 tests on ELISA in 2007 and today they conduct 160-170 tests with the same technology. This has only been possible through constant learning. One by one, he along with his team mastered and introduced newer technology each year namely, ELISA, Atomic Absorption, Immunofluorescence, Electrophoresis, HPLC, LCMS, FITR etc. “

Building Customised Solutions for Stakeholders:
In one of the projects, a pharmaceutical company wanted to do validation studies for its pneumococcal vaccines for 14 different stereotypes. No laboratory in the market was ready to do this study because everything had to be custom built. “Pratip and his team took this up as a challenge and created a kit for testing. The project was successful. Thereafter, Metropolis has been conducting vaccine studies like no one else in the industry.”

In a journey spanning over 16 years, Pratip has represented Metropolis in TATA Memorial Hospital, (Annual conference – Biochemistry & Haematology) on AMH (2013), NMO (2014), & Food Intolerance (2016). Under the valuable guidance of his seniors, he was able to achieve all this. Pratip and his team were also awarded the best poster created for AMH & Food Intolerance.

At this point, we ask him about his work-life balance. He chuckles and says that his family has now gotten used to seeing him work round the clock. “This is what I enjoy the most and I would not like to do it any other way. If there is a call to attend at 3 AM, then it has to be attended. A batch of samples might have been tested and it might not just be a sample. At the end of the sample is a report and someone might be dependent on that report desperately. We would be doing a disservice if that report does not go out on time.”

Building Reference Range for Indian Population 
We prod him further and ask him to share more memories. He fills us in on a story about one of the most important tests today, The Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test. When the test was introduced in the year 2008, Pratip and his team hardly received 4-5 samples a week for testing. They did a field study with the gynaecologists. The gynaecologists informed that there was no reference range for AMH in Indian population. This did not deter them. They took it upon themselves to build a reference range for the Indian population. They built a control group with the help of doctors, patients, employees, family and friends. Rest is history. Metropolis was the first to build this in India and today its Metropolis flagship test.

From being a modest home collection technician to successfully manning a center, Pratip grew on to become a deputy manager and today he heads the operations department of Clinical Chemistry section in our biggest laboratory. Which is why at Metropolis, the path to growth is limitless.

We ask him to sum up his Metropolis experience in one word and he comes up with ‘Unbelievable’. Pratip said and we quote, “Because of Metropolis, I have gained work and life skills and I feel proud about it”.

We ask him how long he sees himself at Metropolis and he replies, ‘I am Metropolis. I cannot picture myself working anywhere else. Pratip had once in jest mentioned to Dr Nilesh that he would never quit Metropolis. The only way he will quit is if he is asked to leave. And, we never let our champs take leave.