Rustom Jal Vakil obtained MRCP and MD (1937) degrees from University of London, UK. He served as Assistant Honorary Physician, JJ Hospital and Grant Medical College, KEM Hospital, and Seth GS Medical College, Mumbai.
Academic and Research Achievements: Vakil focused the attention of western medical scientists on Rauvolfia serpentina. As a result, he won the sobriquets `father of Indian cardiology’ and `father of Rauvolfia’. He was the first to carry out large-scale statistical studies on the incidence of various types of heart disease, especially coronary heart disease. He published a survey of 20 years’ study of several thousand cases of ischaemic heart disease, including 25,000 cases of coronary thrombosis observed personally. He suggested several new classifications of abnormal heart rhythms, anterior thoracic pain, and congenital heart disease. Vakil was interested in another Indian plant Nardestachya jatamanshi and wrote about its utility in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. First to use the term `pre-infarction syndrome’, Vakil also made some other entirely new clinical titles in medical science, namely: Hexalogy of the Heart, Giant Cell Arteritis in Aortic Regurgitation, Transitory Pulsation in Coronary Thrombosis, Gummatous Forms of Rat-bite Fever, and Subacute Pulmonary Oedema. Vakil authored many books, to name a few: Clinical Diagnosis, Textbook of Medicine, Diagnosis and Management of Medical Emergencies and The Romance of Healing, and other Essays.
Other Contributions: Vakil served as Trustee of the Wadia Institute of Cardiology, Pune.
Awards and Honours: Dr Vakil won the Lasker Award by American Public Health Association (first Asian to receive it) (1949), First Dr BC Roy Award by Indian Medical Council (1969); SS Bhatnagar Prize and the first Dhanwantari Award (1973), and one of the four Indian clinicians to figure in American Register of International Notables. The Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre at the KEM Hospital, Mumbai, is named after him. He was elected Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London, American College of Cardiology, and American College of Physicians. He was also Governor, Western Indian Chapter, American College of Chest Physicians, and President, Cardiological Society in India.