Many Akron Children’s employees say they like working at the hospital because of its culture, team-oriented approach and positive energy. Over the years, these favorable reviews have resulted in family and extended family members working at Children’s. And while most of them work in different departments and locations, two family members have recently found themselves teaming up temporarily in the heart center.
Earlier this fall, Dr. Viral Patel, a thoracic and cardiovascular surgery resident at Cleveland Clinic, began a pediatric rotation at Children’s. During the course of his work, Dr. Patel sometimes finds himself operating on the patients of Dr. Chandrakant R. Patel, director of maternal-fetal cardiology and pediatric cardiologist, who happens to be his dad.
This temporary arrangement has deepened the bond between father and son.
“It’s been a real privilege to spend time at Akron Children’s and work with my dad,” the younger Dr. Patel said. “This is my first time seeing and working with pediatric congenital heart patients. I didn’t always understand what my father did before now, but being here, I’m able to discuss patient cases with him and seek his experience with pediatric and adult congenital heart problems.”
For the older Dr. Patel, it’s been a blessing, especially during the pandemic, to see his son when their paths cross at work.
“It’s an honor to work with my son,” he said. “I’m proud he is working in the place where I’ve spent most of my career.”
And like most parents, the older Dr. Patel finds himself dispensing advice every now and again.
“I tell him to work hard and try to get as much experience as he can while he’s a resident,” he said. “Once he finishes, he’ll be the attending physician and will need to take charge.”
Dr. Viral Patel is in the fourth year of a 6-year residency program. During this rotation, he is being trained by Dr. Robert Stewart, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Akron Children’s.
Although he hasn’t been at Children’s for 15 years, the younger Patel remembers coming to hospital with his dad, mom and brother in the early 2000’s.
“I used to come for holiday parties and for awhile, I volunteered at the information desk,” he said. “Being here now, it’s as if parts of my world are colliding, past and present. It’s been an enjoyable experience.”