‘HOOSIERS WE’VE LOST’: Physician ‘Dr. Bala’ was set to retire


Editor’s note: This is one of a continuing online series of profiles of the more than 12,000 Hoosiers who have died from COVID-19. The stories are from 12 Indiana newspapers, including The Republic, who collaborated to create the collection to highlight the tremendous loss that the pandemic has created. The series appears daily at therepublic.com.

Name: Dr. Ramalingam “Bala” Balamohan

City: Fort Wayne

Age: 73

Died: Jan. 16, 2021

For more than four decades he was known around the halls of Bluffton Regional Medical Center as “Dr. Bala.” The highly respected cardiologist and native of India was set to retire this year.

Now the community he helped heal for so many years, despite offers to go elsewhere, is left mourning after Bala died in January from complications of COVID-19.

He cared for thousands of patients, including hundreds of third-generation families. As news spread around the community of Bala’s death, many recalled his care for either themselves of their loved ones. They used words like passionate, dedicated, caring and remarkable. A hospital official says his passion to teach physicians and nurses will live on.

When he wasn’t at BRMC, Bala enjoyed spending time in his favorite recliner at home, watching politics, sports and programs about the stock market on TV.

Among the memories his family keeps of him: “His sort-of-funny dad jokes,” according to his obituary, and “his meticulous habit of clipping and mailing news articles to share advice.”

Remembering her father’s service to his family, hospital, patients and colleagues he devoted his life to, his daughter, Sumi Maun, said the small-town feel played a large part in keeping her father in Bluffton.

In a 2014 interview, Bala said the community accepted his family well. He also said there’s nothing else he’d rather do.

“When a patient hugs you and thanks you for taking care of them,” Bala said at the time, “there’s nothing better.”

— From the Bluffton News-Banner