History of IAPS

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History of IAPS

In the beginning,........
The history of paediatric surgery, while short in duration compared to its older sibling specialities, is still an exciting story. It has grown from from a sedate start in the mid twentieth century to rapid growth in the current millenium. The period can be divided broadly into three phases. The first phase, spanning from 1940 to 1960, followed by a consolidation in the second phase from 1960 to 1990, and then the third phase after 1990 of rapid growth and innovation. These phases overlap with each other but each still has a distinct flavor of growth and its own momentum. Historically, in the ancient times of Sushruta, children were indeed operated upon, but in the era prior to 1940 general surgeons undertook these procedures on all ages. The interest in the field of pediatric surgery remained limited, one of the main reasons being the high mortality for most conditions and the dangers of anaesthesia at that stage. The major breakthrough happened in 1941 when Dr. Cameron Haight from Michigan reported the first survival of esophageal atresia in a 12-day-old baby using a primary single-stage left-sided extrapleural approach. It galvanized a group of general surgeons and propelled them to learn more about pediatric surgery and some decided to devote their careers to this developing field. Incidentally, the first esophageal atresia was successfully operated in India by Prof Subir K Chatterjee in 1964.

The Pioneers
In India, a set of pioneers started the fledgling branch of paediatric surgery . Among these were Dr. U. C. Chakravorty in Kolkata, Prof. Raman Nayar in Trivandrum, Dr. Subhash Dalal, Dr. V. C. Talwalkar and Dr. R. K. Gandhi in Mumbai, Dr. I. C. Pathak in Chandigarh, Col R. D. Ayyar in New Delhi, Dr. M. S. Ramakrishanan in Chennai, Dr. T. Dorairajan in Madurai, Dr. Anjanyelu in Hyderabad, Dr. Purushottam Upadhyaya in New Delhi, Dr. Taliat and Dr. K. K. Verma at Calicut, Dr. Meerabai at Hyderabad, Dr. Singhal at Banaras, Dr. K. C. Sogani at Jaipur and a few more. It is noteworthy that Prof U C Chakravorty, Kolkatta Medical College, Prof D Anjaneyalu, Niloufer Medical College Hyderabad, Dr Raman Nair, Trivandrum Medical College were among the first few general surgeons who restricted their career to pediatric surgery in india. Further progress in our country has been possible because successive generations of pediatric surgeons have stood on the shoulders of these giants. The initial years of setting up the speciality were undoubtedly very difficult surrounded by the general attitude of others and most likely like it is said of truth itself - first it is ridiculed, then it is violently opposed, and then it is accepted as self-evident. These pioneers with their passion to take care of children with surgical diseases sowed the seed and nurtured the early growth for the field of pediatric surgery in India and created a strong foundation on which the speciality stands tall today. We all do owe an incalculable debt to these pioneers.

A new baby is born --IAPS
This group of pediatric surgeons approached the parent Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) to start a section devoted to pediatric surgery during the Silver Jubilee Conference of the ASI held in 1964 at Mumbai. The then ASI President Dr. R. N. Cooper and Secretary Dr. A. Venugopal allowed the discussion and after a lengthy debate, the proposal was approved. Dr. Arthur de Sa was elected the first president and Dr. R. K. Gandhi the first Secretary cum Treasurer. The section made rapid progress by learning, inspiring and competing with each other in creating history, which turned out to be good for the growth of pediatric surgery in India. The first conference of the Pediatric Surgeons was held in Delhi in 1966.

In 1979, the IAPS was converted as full- fledged separate speciality. The first constitution of IAPS was adopted in 1967 and the present constitution was adopted in 2008. The IAPS continued to have their annual conference alongside the annual conference of ASI. In addition to these, a mid-term conference of pediatric surgeons was started from 1967, which was held every second year and since 1984 it is held every year. Due to the popularity of mid-term conferences, in 1990 it was decided to change the terminology to annual conference of the IAPS and only sectional meetings were continued along with the annual conferences of Association of Surgeons of India. In 1994, the IAPS separated from the ASI. Subsections

With the advent of minimally invasive procedures and the number of paediatric surgeons specialising in these advanced procedures, a need was felt to form a separate subsection to encourage growth in this new field. During the laparoscopic workshop organised at B. Y. L. Nair Hospital, Mumbai in 2004, it was decided to launch an organisation of pediatric surgeons interested in the field of endoscopic pediatric surgery. The formal “Pediatric Endoscopic Surgeons- India” (PESI) was launched in the meeting at

Coimbatore in 2005 and later on the section was converted officially as the section of IAPS (2007). PESI- IAPS is one of the most active sections and has its annual conference with workshop since the last 10

years. Subsequently “Pediatric Urology Section of IAPS” and “Research Section of IAPS” were started and they are active since last five years and have their regular annual conference with workshop. The oncology section, Thoracic Surgery are recent additions.

The future
These subsections have been very popular among the pediatric surgeons and their annual conference and workshops are well-attended. It has given a platform to showcase the talent among the pediatric surgeons of India along with the opportunity. As the times evolve, more subchapters and sections have been formed and we need to encourage the growth of these in the near future. This will keep the association healthy and in the growth mode. We are here for the future yet we honour those in our past who have brought us this far. We owe it to the pioneers and the millions of children in the future who our hands will heal. Long live Pediatric Surgery.

R Shah. The past, the present, and the future of pediatric surgery in India. J Indian Assoc Pediatr
Rao KLN. History of Pediatric Surgery in India. In :History of Surgery, Kaushik SP (Ed), Ied, Paras
publishers, Hyderabad, 2013: pp132-9.