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Indian origin heart specialists to offer voluntary service at Sri Sathya Sai hospital in Gujarat

  • In Community
  • 00:00, 6 Jan
  • By Sudhir Vyas

Edison: Almost 50 top heart specialists of Indian origin from all over the world will be travelling to Rajkot and Ahmedabad to perform the surgeries at the Satya Sai heart hospital in these two cities. They would initially go to Rajkot and then travel to Ahmedabad when the super specialty heart hospital for children is inaugurated sometime in April 2016.

Talking exclusively to this correspondent, managing trustee Manoj Bhimani said one operating room and one Cath lab would be kept exclusively for these NRI doctors and would meet all the US standards. “The equipments would be latest and have state-of-the-art technology so that they could perform the same complicated surgeries that they have been doing here in the US.”

According to Bhimani, “some of the doctors also prefer to bring their own equipment and we will make sure that these equipment are made available to them when they land here”.

From the United States, Dr Nilesh Patel, top cardio thoracic surgeon and the pioneer in blood-less heart surgery along with Dr Mahesh Ghayal and Dr Yatish Merchant will be giving their voluntary services at these hospitals. An advisory board is also being set up here in the United States which will scrutinize the list of Indian origin doctors who would be providing their services to the Sri Satya Sai hospital.

Besides that several other doctors have also shown their willingness to offer their services to the hospital and the management is looking into how their expertise could be utilized, Bhimani said.

Some of the prominent doctors from United Kingdom like Dr Chandrashekhar have been regularly visiting the Rajkot hospital and performing almost 10 surgeries a day and giving a new life to the needy patients. They would also be doing the same, and sometimes more complicated surgeries in Ahmedabad when that facility is inaugurated”, he added.

Recently in Rajkot, the Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital celebrated late Sri Sathya Sai Baba's 86th birthday with a difference. Cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr Varsha Shah performed 11 open-heart surgeries at the hospital to mark the occasion.

The new venture in Ahmedabad  includes a charitable hospital dedicated to pediatric heart patients, with Sri Sathya Sai Heart Hospital set to foray into Ahmedabad by March of 2016.The 250-beded hospital is being designed by architect and Cept University president Bimal Patel and will be inaugurated in March 2016.  The construction work is presently underway at Kashindra village near Bakrol circle

As many as two container load of the most modern equipments befitting US standards have already been shipped from here, while one more will be sent out this month and another one will be shipped in March to meet the deadline.

"The four-storey hospital in Ahmedabad is being constructed on 30,000 square yard land. It will have nine cardiac specialists on board, of which six are surgeons," said Bhimani. The hospital will have four operation theatres with angiography and angioplasty facilities. The Ahmedabad hospital will also have  20- bed ICCU. sIt will also house eight wards with 20 beds each, an out patient department having capacity of 300 patients and all medical facilities like Echo cardiogram, ECG, X-ray, TMT, pathology and blood bank.

"Our motto is ‘Dil without Bill' the term coined by the late President A P J Abdul Kalam, and it's aimed to serve poorest of the poor in the country. "The hospital in Rajkot was set up in the year 2000 in keeping with Sathya Sai Baba's teaching that in a spirit of dedication to Sathya Sai Baba, doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators adopt a value-based approach towards patients. Many cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, physicians and Sai devotees have rendered voluntary services to the hospital,'' Bhimani said.

According to Bhimani, the hospital provides services free of cost, irrespective of caste, creed or religion and patients from across the country come to the hospital for heart-related disease. "While 784 heart surgeries were performed at the Rajkot hospital in 2014 that number jumped to over 900 in 2015. Our main aim is to serve the poor and provide them with the best treatment related to heart problems, free of cost. Medical service is not a saleable commodity and a patient is not a customer,'' he said.

The hospital will not only take care of patients but their attendants as well. Only one family member or relative will allowed with patient in hospital. In case, there will be more than one member, he will be provided accommodation at a dormitory free of cost.

In reply to a question of post-operative care. Bhimani said “we do follow up care after every surgery for almost a year through a strong monitoring system which we have in place. We also give one month’s medical supplies to the patients after the surgery and afterward we monitor it through the local medical centers who help the patients in need”. In Gujarat we have 48 such medical centers which are actively associated with us.

When asked about the concept of conducting free heart surgeries which otherwise would cost around Rs. 300,000 and how the Sri Satya Sai hospital could do it free of cost, Bhimani said, “we survive on donations by the community, the people and even the people who benefited from our services and were now able to donate after recovering from their heart ailment.” The only criterion for assessing services at hospital is that patient's monthly family income should be less than Rs 15,000.

In reply to a question about jealously creeping into the business as while other hospital would be doing expensive heart surgeries and Sri Satya Sai hospital doing the same surgery free of cost, Bhimani said, “there is a very wide gap between the demand and supply. The number of patients needing medical care for heart ailment is far more than the operating capacity of all the hospitals put together so it is not that we are taking anybody’s business”. Besides that our management is not top-heavy thereby reducing the overhead expenses, he added.

"Besides, hospital organizes mega free medical heart checkup camps every year in the state. More than 5,000 people are checked during these camps and those found with ailments are referred to the hospital in Rajkot. Sathya Baba wished that this model of heart hospital to be replicated in the country to reach out to as many poor people as possible,'' Bhimani said.

In past 15 years, Rajkot hospital has conducted more than 18,000 open heart surgeries free of cost and examined over 10 lakh patients in OPD section.

Bhimani said their main objective is to cover rural India as people still do not have access to any specialized healthcare. A recent study by Registrar General of India (RGI) and Indian Council of Medical research (ICMR), about 25% of deaths in age group of 25 and 69 years occur because of heart diseases.