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Focus on Sudhir K. Jain, MD, FACC

Sudhir Jain, MD, FACC, is associate professor of internal medicine in the cardiovascular division, and director of Washington University Heart Care Institute in South County. He sees patients at:

  • Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Heart and Vascular Center in South County, 11124 South Towne Square
  • The Center for Advanced Medicine, 4921 Parkview Place
  • Parkland Health Center, 1101 West Liberty, Farmington, MO
  • Washington University Heart Care Institute in West County, 1020 N. Mason

TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, PLEASE PHONE (314) 362-1291.

What happened in the course of schooling to influence you to choose your specialty?

I’m originally from India, and did my general surgical residency there. I came to the United States in 1989, married my wife and began a residency in internal medicine at the University of Kentucky. It was there that I had the opportunity to work in the coronary care unit with Anthony Demario, MD, chairman of the cardiology program. He became my mentor and influenced me to switch my specialty to cardiology.

Dr. Jain and his family

What brought you to Washington University?

Dr. Demario recommended Washington University for my cardiology fellowship. This was the first and only place I interviewed; I did not want to go anyplace else. The people were extremely nice and the program was excellent.

After my fellowship, I went into private practice, but continued to keep in touch with the cardiology department here. In 2004, I was given the opportunity to open what was then called Washington University Heart Care Institute in South County. This was the ideal location to serve patients in southern Illinois, southern Missouri and the southern area of St. Louis. Because people from those areas were sometimes reluctant to drive to see the doctors at the Washington University Center for Advanced Medicine, we decided to come to them.

Which aspect of your practice is most interesting?

I see patients five days a week and enjoy talking to them – everyone has his or her own story. My patients become part of my family and friends. Most of my patients know how many children I have and what they do. I take the time to listen to my patients and their stories. It’s not unusual for me to see three or four people from the same family. They feel at home and are at ease when they talk to me – that’s one of my biggest assets.
 
What new developments in your field are you most excited about?

Washington University is one of the best institutions in the country. We perform procedures such as percutaneous aortic valve replacement, the Maze operation and patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure – procedures that no other hospital in the St. Louis area does.

We are a major center for PFO closures -- repairing a hole in the heart. John Lasala, MD, PhD, performs the procedure percutaneously through the groin – without opening the chest.
 
Cardiology has a bright future. As the population ages, we are also gearing toward providing geriatric cardiology in a very sophisticated manner with the same results, but with less risk to the patient.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in India, but I’ve lived here for the last 21 years – this is home now. My father lives with me, I have one brother in Chicago, another brother in Europe,and my sister lives in India.

Is there a particular award or achievement that is most gratifying?

I’ve received a number of academic awards over the years, but patient satisfaction is the most gratifying. The best award I can receive is when a patient’s family thanks me for taking care of their loved one. There was a patient I took care of for ten years, until he passed away. During the memorial service, his wife thanked me in front of his family and friends. It was very touching to be acknowledged at that moment.
 
Several years ago, another patient of mine wrote a letter to my parents in India. I knew nothing about the letter until my parents told me. This patient likened me to her own son, told them how caring I had been to her and that they should be very proud. It was astonishing that someone would take the time to do that.

Getting awards are nothing compared to a few words of thanks from the patient’s family – that’s most important.

It’s also very rewarding when a member of my patient’s family also becomes my patient because he or she was satisfied with the medical and emotional care I’ve provided -- that speaks volumes about his or her faith in me.
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What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

I always treat my patients the same way I expect my family or myself to be treated. That helps me make the right decision in caring for my patients.

If you weren’t a doctor, what would you like to be doing?

I can’t see myself doing anything else. I was very motivated right from high school to be a doctor and I’m very satisfied with my profession – it was what I always wanted.
My mother was my biggest motivator and the reason I’m a physician -- I want to thank her.

How do you enjoy your free time?

I spend it with my family -- we like to travel to new places.


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Copyright 2014 Washington University School of Medicine