Dr Fardoon Soonawalla completed his schooling in Mumbai from the Cathedral & John Connon School, as an Honours Student. He started his medical education in 1979 from the KEM Hospital, Mumbai, after standing first on the merit list among all medical colleges in Mumbai. During medical school, he was awarded the Menino DeSouza Prize for all round best medical student, and Dr. Shirwalkar Scholarship. He was also an active sportsman, and represented the college in the Intercollegiate Swimming, Football, and Hockey championships, winning numerous medals.
Going on to superspeciality training as a Urologist, after again standing first on the merit list, during the MS exam he was awarded the Dr. Bacha Gold Medal, Dr. C.S. Patel Gold Medal and the Dr. S.R. Moolgavkar Gold Medal. He completed training as Surgeon & Urologist in 1990. At this time he was awarded the G.M. Phadke Urology scholarship by the Urological Society of India. Then he went abroad for further training in London, at the world renowned Institute of Urology.
He returned to India in 1995, and started his practice as Urologist at the Breach Candy Hospital, Parsee General Hospital, Masina Hospital and Jaslok Hospital. He is also a trained transplant surgeon, and has done a very large number of kidney transplants. He was also part of the team to start the first transplants in Pune (at the Ruby Hall Hospital and Pune Hospital), Aurangabad and Nasik.
He has a special interest in the field of Andrology and Infertility. He is on the Medical Advisory Panel of the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI), which provides Family Planning services, Maternal & Child Health and other related services alt over India, particularly in rural areas to the poorer sections of society. Here he travels to conduct training camps for surgeons in techniques of non-scalpel vasectomy and other surgeries. He also travels regularly to many remote corners of India for medical camps to conduct surgeries, in areas where no adequate medical facilities exist. Needless to say all these are free services where patients do not pay a single paisa for any of the services or even surgeries.
Dr. Soonawalla reflects "Because he hails from that a family of doctors, it is always assumed that he was pressurized or expected to follow in his father's footsteps. But to the contrary, his parents always left our options open to them and it was entirely his decision to opt for medicine. Possibly at a subconscious level, growing up watching his father, Dr. Fardoon Soonawalla at work may have helped this decision. He feels that a lot of the credit for where he is today goes to his parents. He learned from his father that other than technical skills and knowledge, kindness and empathy to patients is equally important." Dr. Soonawala feels that "Medicine, and especially surgery, is a great leveler. You begin to realize that however much you may try, sometimes outcomes are not entirely in your control. On occasion, a surgery which has gone beautifully may have an unexpected outcome, and this is extremely frustrating and disappointing. However, for each such moment, there are hundreds of other occasions which result in happy outcomes for the patients. These a re so gratifying, and make all the heartache and stress worthwhile."
"Working as a doctor is mentally very stressful, and demanding of your time. This leaves very little time for my family. But you begin to realize that for those whom you care for most, all the time in the world is not enough. I have to thank my wife Arnaz, and my 2 children Rhea & Zal, for never complaining about this."
His best advice to youngsters can be summed up in the words of Kipling:
“If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run, then yours is the world, and all that's in it. And what is more, you'll be a man my son!”