A Medical Center fellow died of heart-related complications after collapsing during a game of racquetball at Yates Field House on Wednesday.

Department of Public Safety Director Darryl Harrison said that the fellow, who was identified in an e-mail sent to Medical Center faculty and students as Kandavelan Viswalingam, a first year fellow in pulmonary critical care medicine at the Medical Center, “just collapsed” at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Viswalingam was playing racquetball with Charles Read, associate professor of medicine and surgery, according to an e-mail sent to edical Center staff by Dean for Medical Education Stephen Mitchell on Thursday. Viswalingam was 32 years old.

GERMS President Alicia Nelson (COL ’08), said GERMS was dispatched and arrived on the scene within 10 minutes. She said she could not reveal other details about the response.

“Efforts were made to revive him by the Yates staff and the fellow doctor,” Harrison said, adding that both cardiopulmonary resuscitation and an automatic external defibrillator were utilized. According to Mitchell, a student at the scene also assisted in efforts to resuscitate Viswalingam.

Viswalingam was transported to the Georgetown University Hospital emergency room, where he could not be resuscitated. He was pronounced dead after arriving at the emergency room, Harrison said.

The D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner listed the official cause of death as arteriosclerotic vascular disease with occlusive coronary atherosclerosis and myocardial fibrosis.

“I want to express my appreciation and respect for the staff at Yates Field House,” Read said in an interview. “They responded to a stressful situation in the most professional, controlled way. Their willingness to assist in the CPR efforts and maintain a calm demeanor helped me incredibly. They should all be commended.”

Jim Gilroy, director of Yates, declined to comment.

One observer at Yates during the incident said that although the ambulance drew attention, students were not disrupted by the incident.

“I saw them going in with the stretcher, but everything was fairly calm,” said Lissy Hill (MSB ’10), who was at Yates at the time.

Hill said that those in Yates when the incident occurred were not made largely aware of the details of the incident as it developed.

“Someone asked the front desk if it was serious, and they said they didn’t know, but it could be,” Hill said. “Other than that, I didn’t hear anything about what was going on.”

Viswalingam earned his medical degree from Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India and later completed an Internal Medicine residency at The George Washington University Hospital, Read said.

“During his third year of residency he was recognized as the Resident of the Year, the highest honor bestowed upon a resident,” he said.

“He had a passion for medicine. He was a kind, caring, mature, intelligent professional,” Read said. “He very easily became an endeared member of the tight knit family of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Georgetown.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kandal’s family and friends,” Mitchell said. “He was already a beloved teacher of our students and residents.”

A memorial service was held Friday in the Gorman Building for the hospital community to pay tribute to Viswalingam.

Viswalingam is survived by his wife, Sindu Stephen, their nine-month-old son and their three-year-old daughter.

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