Balamurali Ambati: MD at 17

   NEW YORK (AP) -- Last week, 17-year-old Balamurali Ambati acted his age
and got his driver's license. This week, the gangly Queens teen-ager will
do much more than act his age -- he's becoming a full-fledged M.D.
   Ambati will receive his degree Friday from the Mount Sinai School of
Medicine, school spokeswoman Leeza Broitman said today.
   Mount Sinai believes he is the youngest ever to graduate from medical
school, but that could not immediately be confirmed. The average age for
medical school graduates is 26 or 27, according to the Association of
American Medical Colleges.
   Ambati will spend a year as an intern at North Shore University Hospital
on Long Island before beginning a four-year residency in ophthalmology at
the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Broitman said.
   The teen-ager said he knew by age 4 what his chosen profession would be.
   "I spilled a pot of boiling water onto myself. I was in the hospital for
quite a few months," he said in a 1990 Associated Press article when he was
12 and a junior in college.
   He said then that he wanted to break a world record and become the
youngest doctor ever. "A lot of people want to break some record, don't
they? It's a matter of personal satisfaction," he said.
   Ambati's phone was busy and he could not immediately be reached for
comment today.
   As a fourth-year medical student, Ambati spent two months on the trauma
team of a hospital emergency room in Queens.
   He told the New York Daily News that his 6-foot frame often hid his age
from patients, but some "found out through the grapevine after a few weeks.
There was always a period of astonishment."
   The young doctor-to-be moved to the United States from his native India
at age 3, finished two elementary school grades each year and graduated
from high school in Baltimore at age 11.
   That year, he also wrote a book on AIDS with his then 17-year-old older
brother, Jayakrishna, which won an award from the American Medical
   Ambati graduated magna cum laude from New York University and entered
medical school at 14. However, he got his driver's license only last week.