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OLAF FUB SEZ: It was English author Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) who observed, "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." . . .

ON THIS DAY -- In 1932, the infant son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh was kidnapped from the family home near Hopewell, N.J. His remains were found the following May. . . . In 1961, President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps. . . .

"REMARKABLE" has been one of the words used by literally thousands of Western New Yorkers to describe Dr. Padma C. Vaidyanathan of Springville. Other descriptions of the widow and mother of two, who became chief of surgery at Bertrand Chaffee Hospital in 1981, have ranged from "considerate" and "compassionate" to "tough" and "a no-nonsense doctor."

She joined the hospital's staff as an attending surgeon in August 1979. Her waiting room seemed always full with men, women and children in need of help to relieve their pain and, quite often, to save their lives. They came from all over -- Springville, of course, as well as other southern Erie County towns and villages and from Wyoming, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.

Her operating room successes became legend. So did her vacation travels, which eventually included all seven continents.

"Dr. Padma" has become a household name to many families. She believed she could be a better doctor to her patients if she also knew their families. She went out of her way to meet and inquire about them.

In January, her office called her patients to tell them she would be retiring at the end of February. Friends said she loves to travel and wants to spend more time with her children, who were raised in Springville. Her daughter is a physician and her son an engineer, both in Cleveland.

Friends also noted that she has recorded many achievements in pediatric and general surgery and always strived to be the best at whatever she was doing. She was "the best" graduating student and valedictorian when she graduated from Madras Medical College, University of Madras, India. She won the Hallett Prize in the primary examinations at England's renowned Royal College of Surgeons in 1966.

She came to the United States in 1970 and served many residencies and surgical assignments. She was chief resident in surgery at Robert Packer Hospital and Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, Pa., for two years before moving to Springville.

"Dr. Padma" plans to work with Hospice patients, without compensation. Friends say she will keep busy in volunteer work until she sells her home and moves elsewhere, possibly Cleveland. She will be missed. . . .

ette Benson, Brianna Safe, Emily Dabek, Pat Paul, Joan Gravanda, Mark Laufer, Don Schmitt, Sister Beth Griffin, Tara Fitzpatrick, Rita Brkljac, Jovo Brkljac, Leo Grill, Russell DiVincenzo, Chelsea Porto, Gerald B. Kopacz, Doris Krause, Beverly Davison, Peg Hammond, Mary Catherine Duquin, David P. Flanigen, Brian Bosworth, Kevin Kibler, Monsignor Robert C. Wurtz, the Rev. Marion Tolczyk, Susan Gibson, Kitty Mallaber.

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