When physicians Krishan and Vimal Goyle first came to Wichita in 1976, they were impressed by the wide open spaces.
They had emigrated from India in 1970. Vimal Goyle had never been on an airplane. She had never seen snow.
But Krishan Goyle, who had served in the Indian military, was used to flying.
“In the Indian army, they flew us to parts of India, which back then was the best way to see India. All that has changed tremendously now,” Krishan Goyle said.
After they completed their medical training at Rochester University, a friend invited them to establish practices in Wichita.
“When we moved here, I was the first Indian cardiologist,” Krishan Goyle said. “It was very different from India, which is quite populous. Even in the smallest place, there will be 50,000 people. We were city people. We were used to living with a million or more people. Wichita was a quiet place. We got to do a lot of things. We got to see things grow and do whatever we wanted.”
After nearly four decades in Wichita, the Goyles closed the Goyle Clinic at 1150 N. St. Francis on Dec. 31. They moved to New York City to be closer to their son Raj and his family.
And, although he is 79 and she is 76, they are still working full time as staff physicians, daily riding the subway and working in clinics in Harlem and Queens.
He is working as a cardiologist, she as an OB-GYN.
Last week, they returned briefly to Wichita to see friends, to sign the papers for their medical clinic to be auctioned and to finish the task of moving.
“It is a very different work environment,” Vimal Goyle said of life in New York. “The lifestyle is so different. Which way is a better way? We decided to close the private practice. Once we decided to close, it was difficult to stay home and not do anything, especially for my husband, who doesn’t have any hobbies. He studies and practices medicine. It is very hard for him. What would he do unless we found some sort of job for him?”
Three years ago, Krishan Goyle earned a new subspecialty certification in cardiology.
The Goyles considered staying in Wichita, but there were no family members left in Kansas. Their two sons are Sanj, who graduated from Collegiate High School in 1985 and now lives in California, and Raj, who graduated from Collegiate in 1993 and now lives in New York. In 2010, Raj Goyle ran in the general election against Mike Pompeo, who won the congressional seat. Before that, Raj Goyle was a state representative for the 87th District from 2006 to 2010.
“My parents had almost no money (when they first arrived in Wichita), so they got an apartment at Douglas and Rock, which coincidentally was in the state House district I ended up representing,” Raj Goyle said in an e-mail to The Eagle.
In Wichita, the Goyles were among the first Indian-Americans in Wichita. And for years, Vimal Goyle was one of the only female OB-GYNs in Wichita. She delivered more than 6,000 babies. She was the first medical director of the free Mayflower Clinic for the working uninsured, past president of the Indian Association and served on the national board of the American Association of Physicians. She also was president of the St. Joseph, later Via Christi, Toastmasters Club and a board member of Dress for Success and Midway-Kansas American Red Cross chapter.
Krishan Goyle is known for his skill as a cardiologist. In 1983, he cared for the first Kansas heart transplant patient.
“My patient was only 40 years old. He had severe cardiology disease, such an aggressive disease,” Krishan Goyle said. “We had to admit him so often, I was discouraged. He had four young sons who were beautiful and handsome. His wife was a wonderful person. They were crying, do something. The only option was a heart transplant. There was no other option for him.”
The transplant was done in Kansas City. The followup care was in Wichita.
“My Dad is renowned for never doing an unnecessary procedure and for being very focused on his patients,” Raj Goyle said of his father. “He also is a very serious student of medicine.”
But there have been other patients through the years that also touched the doctors. The Goyles reached out to the Vietnamese community and cared for many of its members.
“He is the one who saved my life,” said Vuong Truong, a patient since 1990. “I liked him very much. He and his wife are very nice. They took care of everybody. He take care of me and my mom, and all the Asians who have problems come to him. They are ready to help. When he moved to New York, I miss him. I want to cry. I told him there will be no one to take care of me. He told my mom and me not to worry. He would find a good doctor for me. And he did.”
In New York, the Goyles live a block from Raj, his wife, Monica, and their two daughters, ages 2 and 4.
Because she walks more in New York, Vimal Goyle said she has lost weight and is happier.
“We leave at 8:15 and are home by 6 p.m. I’m off on Fridays,” Vimal said. “I am on my own to do shopping, clean the house and do a little bit of cooking. It gives me a chance to walk and see our granddaughters. The little one is now speaking, and it is interesting to watch her and hear all the words she can say.”
Vimal Goyle can visit her grandchildren anytime she wants, but, she says, she does miss her Wichita friends.
In June, the Goyles will be back in Wichita for an open house for friends to say goodbye.
“I appreciate the friendship. I am grateful for their support for all these years,” Vimal Goyle said.