Brit gets operated at Mumbai hospital for rare neuro disorder

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Nov 04, 2014 22:18 IST

A British national became the first patient to undergo a nerve stimulation surgery in an Indian hospital to cure his severe headaches, claim doctors at Jaslok Hospital.

George Johnston, 32, often complained of unbearable headaches, a common complain among patients having migraine. However, Johnston was battling a rare condition called Occipital Neuralgia which results in severe headaches that continue throughout the day.

Johnston was fortunate to be detected early with the neurological disorder. “There were times when I would work from home as the pain would not subside,” said Johnston who was the first patient to undergo occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) surgery to relieve him from the pain.

Doctors at Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road placed a neuro-stimulator in his chest. The device delivers electrical impulses via insulated lead wires tunnelled under the skin near the occipital nerves which is located at the base of the head. “The electrical impulses can help block pain messages to the brain,” said Dr Paresh Doshi, director of neurosurgery at the hospital.

However, doctors said that Johnston was lucky to be diagnosed of the condition early. In India many would have this neurological condition but would reach the hospital after battling pain for years.

For instance, Dr Doshi recently operated on Uday Shennai, 61, who was having Parkinson disease, a neurological disorder which affects movements. Shennai came to the hospital only after the condition left him bedridden. “In India patients reach the doctor at an advance stage which reduces the treatment options. Johnston was operated within a year of being detected, while Shennai took 17 years to reach the hospital,” said Dr Doshi.

Johnston decided to get operated in India as the NHS in UK would not cover the cost of his surgery. "The procedure cost me half of what it would have cost me there," said Johnston who spent Rs 11.5 lakh on the surgery.

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