From the time he was in second grade, Dr. Sunil Patel, an internal medicine physician with Porter Physician Group, knew he would become a doctor.
“As the oldest son in the family, it was always in conversation that when I grew up I would be a doctor like my father,” Patel said. “He was the first doctor in our small village in India, a family physician in a town smaller than Chesterton.”
Patel did just that, completing medical school in India and pursuing a residency in internal medicine. As he followed in his father’s footsteps, it was only natural that his father would become one of his biggest sources of inspiration and mentorship.
“My father, Navinbhai, was the person I always looked up to,” Patel said. “I strived to take on a role like his in life, follow in his path. I think for the most part I have done that, and I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to fulfill that.”
Patel’s choice to specialize in internal medicine also stemmed from his father.
“When my father had difficult cases, he would refer them to a specialist in a nearby city,” Patel said. That specialist was an internal medicine doctor, and when I saw that I thought, ‘You know what? I want to be that specialist that my father sends his patients to.’”
Patel has been practicing in the Region since the early ‘90s, beginning in Michigan City in 1991 and moving to the Valparaiso and Chesterton area from 1999 onward.
“This is my passion,” Patel smiled. “If it weren’t, it simply wouldn’t be worth it to be where I am.”
His passion for taking care of patients is apparent in the way he speaks about his career and his ability to help others, something he’s always held at the forefront of his moral compass.
“I’ve always felt that no matter what you do in life you should try and do the right thing for other people,” Patel said. “Be fair to people, try to do the right thing, and do good for any person you come across, whether it’s health related or any other situation in life.”
With his drive to help others, it’s no surprise that Patel’s favorite part of the job is diagnosing patients to get them the help they need.
“It might sound corny, but I genuinely enjoy treating my patients and seeing things turn around for them,” Patel said. “Especially if they are sick and in the hospital, if I can take an interest in their life and their health and make them feel better, that’s really exciting to me.”
When he’s not helping his patients, Patel enjoys listening to Indie music and playing golf, even if some days his swing isn’t quite right.
“I love golfing in the summertime,” Patel said. “Some days you’re good at it sometimes not so much, but that’s what makes it fun and challenging.”
Patel also enjoys traveling. His favorite place? The beautiful beaches of Hawaii.
“I just love Hawaii,” Patel said. “We went there for vacation several years ago and it was so beautiful and natural. One of my friends used to say that if God was living on Earth, He would live in Hawaii! I thought about that, and I really think he’s right!”
Patel’s dedication and passion for helping others is unparalleled, and the experienced physician has some profound advice for aspiring medical professionals.
“Don’t go into medicine thinking that doctors make a lot of money or for other reasons,” Patel said. “Go into the medical field if you truly love medicine and truly want to help other people. I tell this to my children and to anyone I come across. Whatever you do, whether it involves the medical field or not, do this with your love and passion. Let nothing else be your motivation.”