Spotlight on Los Alamos: Son and medicine enrich doctor's life

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By Carol A. Clark

Dr. Aparimita Lahiri is often seen walking around town with her 12-year-old son Soumyo Lahiri-Gupta by her side. Whether entering Los Alamos Medical Center to admit a patient or her private practice in Central Park Square, they make a delightful pair.

“Sometimes my patients want to meet Soumyo, so I let him come in and say hi because it brightens their day,” Lahiri said. “But most of the time he’s in the lobby area or in the nurse’s station.”

The sixth-grade Aspen student smiled, saying, “I like talking to the nurses and getting to know them. Sometimes I get to help them with little things.”

Lahiri was born in Glasgow, in the United Kingdom, to doctors working on their post-graduate degrees. Upon graduation, the family returned to Kolkata, India, where Lahiri grew up.

Lahiri earned her medical degree in India and came to the United States in 1988. She completed her residency in internal medicine and her fellowship in endocrinology and diabetes at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. She is a board-certified endocrinologist.

“My marriage was arranged by my mother when I was 27,” Lahiri said. “My ex-husband lived in the U.S. and was a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. I love the U.S. It is the epitome of how advanced everything is – diagnosis, treatment, equipment. This is the best training you could get anywhere in the world. It’s medicine at its best.”

While India is significantly more advanced now, Lahiri explained that 20 years ago, she and her colleagues would fight over the one oxygen tank in the four-story facility where they worked.

In Los Alamos, her patient population is the best aspect of Lahiri’s work, she said, describing them as well educated, well informed partners who take an active interest in their medical care.

“They understand why they need to take one medicine over another and they make it a pleasure to work here,” she said. “I learn something new everyday from my patients.”

The challenge for Lahiri is not in medicine, she said, but in being a single parent. “I’ve had sole custody of my son since he was two years old,” she said. “It’s always a challenge to know if I’m giving enough to my patients – if I’m giving enough to my son – and always feeling guilty.”

Lahiri-Gupta participates in the Family YMCA after-school program. His dad picks him up at 5 p.m. and brings him to Lahiri’s office, Lahiri said. She makes a point of attending his school functions. “But still I worry - is it enough,” she said. “Medicine is something I adore and I adore my son. They are the two things that make life totally worthwhile for me.”

Lahiri speaks Bengali to her son at home and during their family visits to India every other year. He is interested in comedy and in teaching math, preferably to sixth- through eighth-graders.

“I don’t want a kindergarten class. They are too rowdy,” he said. “I also want to work at mom’s office with the computers.”

Lahiri opened her office, Lahiri & Mesibov LLC, in 2004 with Dr. David Mesibov. Aspen Medical Care formerly occupied the space. Lahiri was employed there from 1996 to 2004.

Lahiri is the eldest of three. Her brother, Sanjib, is an electrical engineer in Kolkata. Her sister, Anindita, has an MBA and is vice chair of the Tea Board of India.

Editor’s note: Dr. Aparimita Lahiri is Carol Clark’s doctor and also cared for Clark’s mother.