DR. SALIL K. MIDHA (Courtesy Photo)




MELROSE — If it is true that everyone is born for a specific life purpose, then it would follow that it is up to the individual to discern what that purpose might be. Dr. Salil K. Midha, former chief of cardiology at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH) and founder and president of the Boston Cardiac Foundation (BCF), heard his calling loud and clear when he was in grade eight in the city of his birth Chandigarh, India.

Not only has he overseen the care of countless patients who live locally, but through the BCF he has participated in missions throughout the world, including in Africa, South America, the Caribbean islands and India. Though Dr. Midha has stepped down from his former role, he will continue to care for patients in his Melrose practice and in the Cardiovascular Center at the Hospital.

“Dr. Midha has been and continues to be a treasure to the friends, family, colleagues and, most importantly the thousands of patients who have benefited from his generous and caring presence,” said Kelly Corbi, president of Melrose-Wakefield Hospital and Lawrence Memorial Hospital. “His work has been transformative in the delivery of advanced heart care services not only to the people in our community, but across the globe,” she added.

After 43 years of devoted service, Dr. Midha is in the middle of writing the next chapter of his life story: What will happen next? A look at the past shows that Dr. Midha’s life journey took him from his native India to NY and MA where he and his now deceased wife Madhu eventually settled. Together, they raised three children: daughters Anjali and Monica; and son Gaurav.

It was in 1981 when Dr. Midha began his medical career at MWH. One of six children, the Melrose doctor grew up in a tightly knit family and was not the only one to gravitate toward medicine. Ten other family members did, as well, including Monica, who is a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. A glance at Dr. Midha’s curriculum vitae showcases just how scholarly he is and his extraordinary aptitude for medicine.

Following graduation from the DAV School and College in Chandigarh, he continued his studies at medical school in the Indian city of Rohtak, state of Haryana and graduated in 1972 at age 21 as one of the top three students in a class of 125. After graduating from medical school, he completed a one-year residency program in obstetrics and gynecology. “It was a wonderful learning experience,” he said, adding that during his residency he not only attended over 1,000 births but gained great surgical experience.



FOR HIS TIRELESS DEDICATION and in loving memory of his wife Madhu, a plaque honoring Dr. Salil K. Midha hangs on a wall in the Department of Cardiology and Cardiac Catheterization Lab at the Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. (Courtesy Photo)


After settling in the U.S., his two-year medical internship at Mt. Auburn Hospital in NY focused on providing care for patients who had suffered heart attacks and heart failure. It was at this time that he decided to specialize in cardiology. During his tenure, Dr. Midha was nominated for best intern and resident, the latter of which was spent at the Jersey City Medical Center in NJ. “It was around that time that I diagnosed the first case of Legionnaires’ disease after the Philadelphia outbreak years ago,” he noted. “This helped me further explore (opportunities) and landed me at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge (associated with Harvard Medical School) where I completed my cardiology fellowship,” he said. Dr. Midha further commented that he always wanted to be a problem solver, which is why he chose cardiology as a specialty. “I felt that I could have a greater impact on patients and the community at large if I became a cardiologist,” he said. “I spent a lot of time taking care of sick patients in intensive care units and opted for a cardiology fellowship.

Over the years, he came to know and appreciate the many people in dire need of his medical advice and expertise. He still remembers with clarity one patient who suffered from cardiomyopathy and a dilated heart. “It seemed there was very little we could do for him,” he said. “After a number of attempts (to help him), he was accepted for a heart transplant. He survived for seven additional years and absolutely enjoyed his life and grandchildren. That was gratifying.”

Just as there were people who survived heart disease, there were others who lost their lives, much to Dr. Midha’s sorrow. “Before the days of angioplasty and stents, one of my patients had a massive heart attack and was transferred to a tertiary (third level) care center,” he said. “I decided to visit him and prior to leaving for Boston, I was pleased to hear from his care team members that he was getting ready for discharge. But before I could see him, he suffered cardiac arrest and unfortunately did not survive.”

Dr. Midha’s devotion to the community does not begin and end with medicine. In the past he was presented a Rotary Club award. He also established an annual golf tournament to benefit the BCF.

He has also handled charity work for the past 34 years and implanted more than 1,000 pacemakers free of charge in patients around the world. As if this were not enough, he was the recipient of the Indian Medical Association of New England award for charitable missions.

In addition, Dr. Midha was one of seven people chosen to receive a New England Choice award at a gala held last October at the Boston Marriott Hotel in Burlington. During the event, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu was quoted as saying that the “honorees are a testament of the possibilities we unlock when we empower our opportunities to thrive.”

In addition to medicine, other fields represented included technology, wealth management and music.

Perhaps his favorite award, though, is the recognition plaque placed in the Catheterization Laboratory at MWH. “The award is in memory of my dear wife Madhu who passed away in February 2017,” he said. “But spending time with my children has been the most precious award of all.”

Dr. Midha’s immediate plans include managing cardiac patients and continuing his passion to participate in charity missions that help the indigent here and abroad.

When he is not practicing medicine, Dr. Midha hopes to travel and continue to play the top 100 golf courses in the world. “Most of all, I would love to spend more time with my children, family and friends,” he said. This, of course, he will do while continuing to live the BCF’s motto, “Helping one heart at a time.”