Bowen Center community remembers psychiatrist couple killed in plane crash
WARSAW, Ind. - The Warsaw community is in mourning days after a private plane crash killed an Indiana couple, who were well-known psychiatrists in the area. Tuesday, former patients and colleagues remembered the legacy the Kalapatapus leave behind.
Ohio State Highway Patrol officials say 63-year-old Umamaheswara Kalapatapu and his wife, 61-year-old Sitha-Gita Kalapatapu, died Saturday morning after the plane the husband was piloting crashed near Beverly Village in Ohio.
The halls of Warsaw’s Bowen Center seem a little emptier, without a veteran psychiatrist whose life was cut short Saturday.
“People may look at his picture and think he has a stern look, but he was super compassionate with me. He was really kind, and he always tried to like make jokes,” said one former patient, Donata Grimm.
Warsaw psychiatrist and pilot, Umamaheswara Kalapatapu was flying his plane out of Indiana with his wife, Sitha-Gita, when it crash-landed Saturday in Ohio, killing them both.
He served patients at Warsaw’s Bowen Center since 1993.
“It’s going to hurt a lot of people. Everybody’s going to take it hard without seeing him around, and a lot of clients that knew him and got to know him and trust him,” said Roy Kindig, Dr. Kalapatapu’s patient since 1995.
Another patient that grew to trust Dr. K, as many call him, is Donata Grimm.
She started seeing Dr. Kalapatapu to cope with her PTSD from her own plane crash back in 2011.
“I usually can’t remember what I did the day before, but when I saw that, all of the conversations we had came back, and I thought about our crash,” said Grimm.
“It was a really terrifying experience. We were trapped and in a plane, and I was with my daughter. I think that might be as a mother the worst part of it. And, it was very difficult. We almost didn’t get out of the plane and it was burning, so it was a repetitive nightmare,” she said.
Grimm says that nightmare repeated when she found out about her former doctor’s crash.
“It was just strange, he went down in a small plane. We went down in a small plane. He went down near a power plant. We went down near a water treatment plant, and there was just a lot of strange things, but yeah, it stirred a lot. It brought back a lot,” said Grimm.
Donata completed her treatment, but nearly 600 patients will now be left without their doctor.
“That is a challenge, because his patients have been with him for a very long time, and as I said he tended to care for the chronically mentally ill, so when we talk about patient care, it can be a little difficult for these patients to transition,” said Dr. Kishore Sriram, Medical Director at the Warsaw Bowen Center.
Dr. K hired him five years ago.
He says, it’s tough for his colleagues, too.
“For Bowen Center, you know he’s the key person that’s stayed for almost 25 years, and things that Bowen Center’s has seen ups and downs in the past, and he was with the Bowen Center, he was the support for the Bowen Center. I think it is a big loss. I don’t think we can replace that loss, but I think we can grieve you know and carry out his legacy,” said Dr. Sriram.
Patients and peers agree that legacy is one of compassionate care, which both the Kalapatapus leave behind.
“They’re very good people in the community and they have mutli-talented and they’re full of life. They enjoyed life,” said Dr. Sriram.
The couple also owned Raj Clinics further downstate.
A representative of the Warsaw Bowen center said, for now, the clinics have closed their doors, and they’re trying to figure out where those patients will be going.