In the year 1920, the birth of Michael Shavarimuthu was hailed as a medical breakthrough in Kerala. Michael was the first person to be born through a cesarean section in Kerala. On Thursday, Michael passed away at the age of 98.
Michael was born at the Women and Children’s Hospital at Thycaud in Thiruvananthapuram, and the surgery was performed by Dr Mary Poonen Lukose – – the first woman surgeon of Kerala.
Shavarimuthu and Mary – Michael’s parents – were natives of Kundamankadavu. The couple’s first three babies died soon after birth – and the couple was reportedly taken aback when the doctors said that they could either either save Mary or their fourth baby.
Dr Mary Poonen however suggested a C-Section, and under her guidance, the surgery was performed and a healthy baby was born.
Reports state that for weeks after, visitors walked into Shavarimuthu and Mary’s house to get a glimpse of the baby.
Michael grew up to join the Indian Army, before working for the Government Press. According to reports, Kerala was set to organise the centenary celebrations of the first C-Section in the state in 2020.
Kerala’s first woman surgeon
Dr Mary Poonen was born in 1886 in Kottayam district. After having completed her schooling in Thiruvananthapuram, Mary went to London to study medicine.
She was the first female student of the University College, and the first Indian woman to get a medical degree from UK. Dr Mary returned to the state in 1916, after which she began to practice at the Woman and Child Hospital in Thycaud.
It was Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi who elevated Dr Mary from being a surgeon at the Thycaud hospital, to being the head of the Medical Department of Travancore.
In 1975, Dr Mary was conferred with Padma Shri award for her exemplary contribution to the medical field. A year later, Dr Mary passed away at the age of 90.
Earlier this year, Mr Mary was featured in the state's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac's budget speech, while he was talking about the health sector.
“Dr Mary Poonen Lukose was one of the extraordinary talents who influenced the growth of the healthcare system in Kerala,” Thomas Isaac had said.