Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dr Sun Siyu, one of Asia’s leading gastro endocrinologists from China

by Shalet Jimmy
published in The New Indian Express
August 26, 2013
photo courtesy : Mithun Vinod

With no scar and considerably less complications, Gastrointestinal endoscopic surgery can be used to treat intestinal cancer. Here the diagnosis and surgery are done simultaneously. But the method is yet to gain momentum in the country.

Dr Sun Siyu, one of Asia’s leading gastro endocrinologists, from China said that his country has woken up to the advantages of the surgery,but in India it is yet to pick up due to lack of awareness. He was in Kochi to participate in the two day workshop conducted by the Gastroenterology department of the Medical Trust Hospital.

The anomaly should be detected at an early stage for the surgery to be successful. “It is of scant help in advanced stages. To put it simply, an instrument with a camera is inserted through natural orifices (openings) of the body. If a growth is diagnosed in the intestinal tract, it is removed at once. It leaves no scar”, he said.

“Some of  complications that can arise from the surgery are bleeding, stenosis - stricture of Gastro Intestinal (GI) tract - and perforation. But these can be treated as soon as they arise”, he says. One of the reasons why the surgery is yet to catch up here is the absence of experts. “Since it deals with the inner walls of the body, meticulous study of the technique is necessary.”

Dr Siyu said that since the technology is only eight years old, government intervention is pertinent in luring the public to undertake screenings. “Cancer rate is high in India and China. Early stage detection happens in China as the government allots funds for screening of cancer. But in India, owing to less awareness and no government support, detection happens at an advanced stage”, he says. Besides, in China, information regarding the updates in the health sector is available on the government’s website.

Dr Siyu pointed out that tremendous effort has to be put in to make this enterprise successful. “I conduct 50,000 screenings a year, 5000 EUS (Endoscopic Ultrasound), more than 1000 Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and many more. I work five days a week with 14 hours a day. I travel all through China and across the globe on Saturday and Sunday to give training programmes on this new system. I never had a vacation in many years. This is the kind of work we have to put in to make this method a huge success”, he concluded.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Padmabhushan Dr Girinath - Chief Cardiovascular surgeon of Apollo Hospital, Chennai

by Shalet Jimmy
published in The New Indian Express
September 30, 2013
photo courtesy : P K Jeevan Jose

His scalpel has handled more than 25,000 surgeries and he has won awards and accolades, including Padmabhushan for his contributions to his field. But Chief Cardiovascular surgeon of Apollo Hospital, Chennai, Dr Girinath, also one of the  pioneers of heart transplants in the country, is unperturbed by the buzz created by these recognitions. However, he is happy with the way the country has woken up to heart transplants but concerned about the social problems arising from it.

“Recently, I did a heart transplant on a 25-year-old man from Kolkata. He is recuperating. But now his parents want to marry him off. They approached me for suggestions. What am I supposed to tell them? You can’t guarantee anything,” he says.

Dr Girinath was in Kochi to receive the Life-time Achievement Award instituted by the Heart Care Foundation. He points out that the technicalities involved in the surgery are simple but things can go awry in the post-operational period. “Lungs can get infected any time. The normal heart is not used to the diseased lungs and is directly exposed to the atmosphere. The anti-rejection medicines can help or encumber the progress of recovery. If you increase the anti-rejection medicines, it will automatically reduce the immunity of the patient. If you decrease it, you may be exposing the patients to risk. The patients have to be isolated and barrier nursing is required to avoid any infective complications. Strict monitoring of the patient is a prerequisite. Moreover, meticulous care has to be given while taking care of a heart transplant patient. No one can conveniently gloss over these facts and complications involved in it,” he points out.

To put it honestly, it is kind of replacing one disease with another. “But definitely it would give a qualitative life to the patient,” he said. Recollecting an incident, he said that India is on the process of surpassing many other countries in giving qualitative treatment. “I had a patient from Jordan. He was living with an artificial heart. But after two years, it started giving him nightmares. After browsing thorough the Net, he zeroed in on us. His heart was transplanted successfully and is now recuperating in the hospital,” he said. He lauded the doctors who are committed enough to undertake heart transplants. “It is time-consuming and needs single-minded devotion. Besides, heart transplants can be efficiently undertaken by senior surgeons who have an active unit. Dr. Jose Chacko Periyapuram deserves special mention in this regard,” he said.