The Coastal Star

Health and Harmony: Generations in, family medical practice endures

Dervi Ganesh-Baluyot and her father, Selva Ganesh, are surrounded by snapshots of newborns

he has delivered in his decades as an OB/GYN physician. The family’s practice is in Boynton Beach.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Lona O'Connor

    From an early age, Dervi Ganesh could hardly miss the positive effect her father’s medical practice had on his patients’ lives.
    “People tell me, ‘I knew your parents before you were born,’” she recalled. “He was in the Atlanta airport once and somebody rushed up to him and brought out pictures of a baby he had delivered.”
    In due time, Dervi Ganesh, now 32,  went to medical school at the University of Miami and now practices in Boynton Beach with Selva Ganesh, her father, and Jan Ganesh, her mother, a psychologist. The couple lives in Gulf Stream.
    Their waiting room is filled with pregnant women, and the walls of the small office are covered with photos of newborns, some of whom are the fourth generation Selva Ganesh has delivered over his more than 40 years as an OB/GYN.
    Now Dervi Ganesh-Baluyot, who lives in Lake Worth, is married and expecting her first child. She joined the Ganesh practice earlier this year. Her younger brother, Devin, is an orthopedic surgeon married to an emergency room doctor.
    “It’s a happy profession, both for me and my brother,” Dervi Ganesh-Baluyot said. “I don’t think of it as a job or a duty. It’s a privilege.”
    The daughter has also joined her father in teaching and mentoring students from the University of Miami medical school, who regularly visit the Ganesh offices to see patients.
    Jan Ganesh has a general practice, seeing patients of all ages and both genders for couples counseling, addiction and other issues. But she takes a particular interest in postpartum depression.
    “We screen [patients] throughout the pregnancy as well as postpartum,” she said.
    The medical staff is alert for signs of depression, which can appear as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. Then there may be a need for a family conference with counselor and gynecologist.
    “We might bring in the mother and the grandmother and an aunt, to form a support system,” she said.
    Kathleen Weigel has been a patient of Selva Ganesh for about 20 years. Then she met Dervi and Devin Ganesh when they were students in the international baccalaureate program at Atlantic Community High School, where Weigel was principal. Weigel is now dean of education at Lynn University.
    “I made a lap quilt for Jan because she’s always cold in the office,” Weigel said. “Now I’m making a baby quilt for Dervi.”
    Selva and Jan Ganesh make a strong team.
    “They are both very observant and they collaborate on how to help the patient holistically,” Weigel said. “I have referred a number of people to them and they touch people’s lives.”
    Selva and Jan Ganesh met 41 years ago when both were starting their careers, working at a women’s center.
    While Jan Ganesh was working on her Ph.D., Selva Ganesh worked with Planned Parenthood and started a rape crisis clinic. He also did rape exams for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office at JFK and Bethesda hospitals and testified at trials.
    They opened their practice in Boynton Beach in 1975 and, though they’ve moved a couple of times, have stayed within a mile of their original office.
    During the last 42 years, Selva Ganesh was the doctor for Katie Barber’s mother and grandmother, delivered Katie Barber, and is scheduled to deliver her child this year.
    “He’s known my entire family,” said Barber, a lawyer. “He delivered my nieces and my cousins. They all say, ‘Tell Dr. Ganesh we said hi.’”
    The Ganesh offices are in downtown Boynton Beach, a short drive to Bethesda Medical Center, which Selva Ganesh praises for its ability to handle high-risk pregnancies. The UM students have been able to observe a variety of conditions they might never see during their education, including postpartum cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart failure that can prove fatal to new mothers.

‘Love for the field’
    At 70, Selva Ganesh says, “I need to work for my head, for my health. I see patients all day and I go home happy.”
    He had been up all night with a delivery and was back at work the next morning after a four-hour nap.
    “He has such a love for the field,” said Dr. Gauri Agarwal, UM regional dean. “The pace is fast, and it can get wearing. But he has passion and excitement, a sense of humor, he’s very kind and knowledgeable and down-to-earth.”
    With Selva Ganesh already on her teaching faculty, Agarwal was quick to urge Dervi Ganesh-Baluyot to join after she completed her studies.
    “Dervi was a student of mine from her first year,” Agarwal said. “She’s a tough teacher, with high standards. But she’s one of the students’ favorite teachers because she is so clear about expectations and so engaging. When she came back to practice with her dad, I said, you have to join the faculty. The students love both of them.”

Lona O’Connor has a lifelong interest in health and healthy living. Send column ideas to Lona13@bellsouth.net.

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