For patient, Oswego internist ‘the best I've had in my 75 years'

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2008 Healthcare Hero
Padma Ram

Ram specializes in internal medicine at her office at 1 College Plaza, Oswego. She also maintains emergency department shifts at Oswego Hospital. She obtained her medical degree at Coimbatore Medical College, Madras University, India.

Ram said she loves the people of Oswego, an area she moved to in 1996 with her family. "It's a wonderful experience. I'm going to stay here, and so are my parents," she said. "The people here are so very nice." She says of the winters: "I like the seasons, so it's OK."

What is most challenging, says Ram, is "when someone has symptoms and I don't have an answer; I hate to say it's all in the person's head. I try to investigate to see what it can be and not give up."

As an internist, Ram is accustomed to dealing with deadly diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. She sees obesity as an epidemic. "My policy is that you can be thin and unfit and heavy and fit," she said. "I believe in fitness rather than weight or size." She said studies show that at age 70, thin people don't do well when stricken with an illness because of a lack of reserve.

According to Margot Cole, one of her nominators, Ram is "caring, compassionate and understanding. She takes her time with each person, making you feel you are important to her," Cole said.

Josephine Ferrazzoli, another patient of Ram's, said Ram is quite thorough. "Of all the doctors I've had in my 75 years, she is the best," Ferrazzoli said.

Lisa Giglio of Oswego is also a staunch advocate of Ram. "She took extremely good care of my mother to the day of her death of May of 2005," Giglio said. "Even at times when my mother needed to be hospitalized or needed rehab and was against it, Dr. Ram took the time to explain to her why these things were in her best interest and how they would help her get better."
"She spoke to my mother as a friend with a gentle touch and not just a doctor who gave orders," she added. "This kind of spirit is what helps people get better."

Claudette Stevens also lauded Ram as someone special. "If she has any doubts about her diagnosis, she doesn't hesitate to call other specialists for their help or opinions," she said. "She would stay all night with a patient if it made them feel better."

The Colloca family of Oswego shed praise on not only Ram, but her expert staff as well.
"Her physician assistant, Doug Leonhardt, is always pleasant and attentive to patient needs," they wrote.

In fact, Ram considers gathering a great team to work with as being one of her most significant accomplishments. "Patients don't feel nervous," she said. "They always feel better when they leave the office. Seeing patients in their own surroundings, while on a house call, gives me great satisfaction," Ram said. "Always receiving a warm welcome is wonderful as well."

Ram has mentored physician assistant students from Le Moyne College, as well as students from SUNY Oswego, the Board of Cooperative Educational Services as well as local high schools. "This allows them to gain practical knowledge," she said.

Ram, 51, was born in India. She has three children: Syraj, 26; Sona, 22; and Sunil, 18. She is the medical director for Oswego County 911.
(By Lou Sorendo)