Dr. Sreenivas Rao Honored with McLeod Merit Award

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(1/15/10) - Receiving an award is always an honor, but often what means more to the recipient is knowing that those who are honoring you are the colleagues and friends who work by your side daily.
Recently, Dr. Sreenivas Rao, an Oncologist with Carolina Health Care, was bestowed a McLeod Merit Award for his dedication to patients, their families and the staff of McLeod Health. The McLeod Merit Award is given by McLeod employees who nominate their fellow co-workers for exemplifying the McLeod Values. These recipients are recognized for their compassion, enthusiasm, and dedication to their profession, as well as their willingness to help others.

Dr. Rao was nominated by Pamela Elliott, the Director of the McLeod Oncology Unit. 'Dr. Rao is an amazing physician because of his caring and compassionate nature. He is well-loved by patients and families and for good reason. He is involved -- truly involved -- in the care of his patients from the very beginning of their long, and often tumultuous, cancer journey. He also spends a great deal of time with patients, teaching and consoling them,' explained Elliott.

'And, sometimes when the journey is drawing to an end, it is quite common for him to sit quietly on the bed, holding their hand, stroking their arm, and listening silently while the patient and family members share their most intimate moments of tears and fears. When the battle is lost, Dr. Rao remains to continue to provide comfort to the family in the only way still remaining -- sharing in their grief,' added Elliott.

During the award ceremony, Dr. Alva W. Whitehead, Sr., Vice President of Medical Services for McLeod, quoted Harvard physician Dr. Francis Peabody, ' 'The secret of caring for the patient is caring for the patient.' And Dr. Rao is the personification of this statement,' he said.

The goal for every physician can be summed up in just a few words, Dr. Whitehead explained. 'We should aspire to raise the character of medicine as a profession and to improve its science. Dr. Rao is doing this in his practice and research at McLeod.'

Dr. Whitehead added that when Dr. Rao applied to McLeod in 1999, a colleague included these statements in a letter of recommendation:

'As our training transpired, it became more and more apparent to all of us that we were in the presence of an extraordinary individual. In addition to an overwhelming fund of knowledge, Sreenivas displayed an unwavering work ethic, an unrelenting curiosity and a self effacing soft-spokeness that endeared him to colleagues and patients alike. He is an extraordinary individual from any perspective.'

'He has truly earned the title of one who is worthy to serve the suffering,' Dr. Whitehead said.

Responding to the honor, Dr. Rao said, 'I think more than anything, this honor reflects the work of the whole team involved in caring for our patients. This work on behalf of cancer patients requires a special dedication, helping to heal the soul, the heart, and the body through this illness.

'We have to take care of both the patient and the family, whether they do better or are coping with the end of life.'

Dr. Rao also underscored the outstanding patient care environment and superlative services at McLeod. 'The nursing at McLeod is incredible, and Administration is very responsive to patient needs and improvements. The care here is exceptional and this award reflects you all as excellent caregivers.'

Dr. Rao added that he comes from a medical background of service at fine institutions in New York and as an oncologist at several other 'boutique' hospitals offering specialty services for cancer care and treatment. 'In January, I will mark 10 years of caring for patients at McLeod. And, I can truly say, this is the best hospital I have ever worked in and with.'

Dr. Rao is board certified in Pathology, Internal Medicine and Oncology. He received his medical degree from Gandhi Medical College Osmania University, Hyderabad, India. He also completed residencies at Gandhi Medical College Hospital, Secunderabad, India; Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York, NY; and Lincoln Medical Center, New York, NY. In addition, he completed an oncology/hematology fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY.