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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 305

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This is the future grave of B. Vithal Shetty.

Yesterday, I wrote about what happens when you wander around cemeteries, seeing stories of interesting people. Well, sometimes you find yourself in cemeteries looking for someone and you see clumps of graves from immigrant communities. Now, most of these people are living lives of obscurity and I would never be able to look them up with any value, not to mention that many of the graves may have writing in Chinese or Arabic so I can’t read them anyway. So I was in a cemetery not too long ago and ran across one of these situations, where I discovered someone who was actually quite prominent and problematic in their home country and so I started doing quick Google searches on some of the people nearby. And while the said person was not from India, I did stumble on B. Vithal Shetty’s future grave.

Who is B. Vithal Shetty, you ask? He’s not someone you have heard of, almost for certain. But he is someone who may well be very important to your life. For he born in 1924 and who immigrated from India to go to college at Penn, developed Metolazone, the heart medication. I don’t know a dang thing about this, so let me quote Wikipedia:

Metolazone is a thiazide-like diuretic marketed under the brand names Zytanix from Zydus Cadila, Zaroxolyn, and Mykrox. It is primarily used to treat congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. Metolazone indirectly decreases the amount of water reabsorbed into the bloodstream by the kidney, so that blood volume decreases and urine volume increases. This lowers blood pressure and prevents excess fluid accumulation in heart failure. Metolazone is sometimes used together with loop diuretics such as furosemide or bumetanide, but these highly effective combinations can lead to dehydration and electrolyte abnormalities.

Metolazone was developed in the 1970s. Its creator, Indian born chemist Dr. Bola Vithal Shetty has been active in helping the U.S. Food and Drug Administration review drug applications, and in the development of new medicines. Metolazone quickly gained popularity due to its lower renal toxicity compared to other diuretics (especially thiazides) in patients with renal insufficiency.

No doubt some of you have more direct experience with all this than I do.

He has a couple of books about himself that no one seems to have reviewed. Best I can glean, he may be kind of a blowhard who thinks that because he invented a bunch of stuff and succeeded as an immigrant, anyone can. But I don’t want to say too much about that without doing more research for this post that I am actually going to do. Anyone who wants to look into this more can go ahead and do so and share it in the comments. Certainly, he wants to let the future know who he was by writing his own biography on his gravestone.

But as a whole, the reason for even this very brief profile of Shetty is to remember all the different people who actually have a pretty huge impact on our daily life but whose name we will never know. A guy who has spent his life in the pharmaceutical industry probably has a somewhat mixed legacy, someone who has no doubt developed critical drugs but in an industry that is very much looking to profit off those drugs, limiting their distribution to the poor. But then such is life in America, for better or for worse. He is in his 90s, but at least as per a few months ago, still living.

B. Vithal Shetty will eventually presumably be buried in Parklawn Memorial Park, Rockville, Maryland.

This grave visit was sponsored by LGM reader contributors. As always, it is much appreciated, as it allows this series to continue. If you would like to donate so I can wander around and find other relatively obscure people who may have impacted your life in significant ways, you can donate the cover the required expenses here. Who knows who is out there. Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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