My story is a humble one – I’m the daughter of two fiercely honest and unbelievably diligent people with outstanding qualities which I imbibed. Growing up, I was fortunate to never lack anything. My father, a medical doctor and Major General in India’s army from Chittoor, knew of CMC’s reputation and encouraged me to apply. It was at CMC that I experienced for the first time the real needs of patients and people who could not afford to pay their bills but were nonetheless met with the same kindness and care as everyone else.
After graduating from CMC, I served on as faculty until my parents arranged my marriage to a financial expert working
in the US. I pursued my medical career in the States with the incredible support of my kind husband, Thangamuthu (Mike) Kodumudi and now our awesome two sons Gopal Kodumudi MD, and Vijay Kodumudi, a medical student.
Following my residency in anesthesiology at USC in Los Angeles and Pain Fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I joined the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale University. Rising through the ranks, I was promoted to Full professor and was given an honorary Master of Arts from Yale University as well for which I am truly grateful.
My niche and academic focus has been in perioperative ambulatory pain medicine. While at Yale, I invented the laryngeal mask with inbuilt suction in the dorsal portion of the cuff to enable easy suction of the hypopharynx to remove any secretions from the nose and mouth. The university allowed me to pursue development of patents and activities related to the patents, resulting in 18 patents and patent applications for multiple devices that are distributed by three companies in which I am a major shareholder in USA, India, and Australia.
It is a joy to know that many people who cannot afford to pay for care can now be helped by my invention.
The Indian company Gnana Medical Private Ltd (named after my mother), has sold the first-generation laryngeal mask, Gnana Laryngeal Airway (GLA) to hospitals across India. The small company has been doing well with the motto of honesty and diligence. Motivated by the need of people in Vellore, which I remembered seeing as a medical student. Coupled with the good work that CMC always does, we decided to make an in-kind contribution of 1,000 GLA masks as well as a cash donation to the new Chittoor campus. It is a joy to know that many people who cannot afford to pay for care can now be helped by my invention.
The second-generation laryngeal mask, the GLA4, is now on US soil. It obtained FDA clearance and state license and is currently housed in a Connecticut facility, and the GLA4 can now be sold in the USA. We are also currently working to bring other sizes of GLA into the USA.
With nothing but a small drawing, big dreams, and wonderful and overwhelming support that cannot be shaken, it happened. Throughout this journey, CMC and CMC graduates have been an integral part of my life. Thank you for your blessings and support.
By Dr. Nalini Vadivelu (Batch of ‘70)