2019 Top Doctor: Shailee S. Kavathia

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Photography by Steve Craft
Photography by Steve Craft


Med School/Year Graduated: University of Texas at San Antonio, 2008
Years in Practice: 6

What inspired you to pursue anesthesiology?

The human body is fascinating, and I was excited to understand how it functions in various conditions and stages of life. In the OR, I get to apply this knowledge of physiology in a variety of cases. I may take care of an elderly patient with heart disease, a laboring female and a young child all in the same day.

What is the biggest misconception about anesthesiology you encounter?

Everyone knows the anesthesiologist as “the one who puts you to sleep,” but we truly take care of you before, during and after your surgery. Most of what we do is predictable and routine, but keeping someone alive and comfortable during a procedure requires vigilance, foresight and the ability to act quickly and accurately when crisis arises.

Many, if not most, patients only meet their anesthesiologist on the day of their procedure. Is there any scenario in which a patient would actually evaluate and select their own anesthesiologist?

Although we may meet you the day of surgery, we evaluate your medical history to formulate plans with you and your surgical teams, sometimes in a matter of minutes. At times, patients are seen for a pre-operative evaluation, typically due to the complexity of their medical condition or need for advanced coordination.

Some anesthesiologists branch off into the field of pain management. Is this when anesthesiology becomes more clinically based, as opposed to procedure-based?

Pain management is a subspecialty that does have a clinical basis and often a procedure-based component to the practice as well.

You’ve been named a Top Doc three times now. We hear you have a fun anecdote about your first list?

It was certainly a memorable one! Moments before our twins we born, my husband received a message that we were both voted Top Doc for the first time. Afterwards, we got many messages congratulating us “times two,” not always sure which one it was for, but we were overjoyed!

How has motherhood changed you?

Motherhood has given me a new perspective, and toddlers have a way of reminding you to find the simple joys of life. I am grateful that Valley Anesthesiology has been so flexible and supportive in allowing me to embrace this new role.

You went to medical school in San Antonio. Do you miss Tex-Mex food?

Texas, and all the delicious food, will always be near and dear to my heart. Luckily, I’ve lived in places known for amazing restaurants, whether it was Texas, New York and now Phoenix, because I love to eat!

What are you watching on Netflix these days?

If it’s funny, I want to watch it! Whether it’s comedy specials or The Office, I love the art of a good joke!

“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”

If I wasn’t a doctor, I would love to encourage learning and creativity as a teacher.

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