Two deans at PGI won’t help boost research, says Dr KLN Rao on final day | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Two deans at PGI won’t help boost research, says Dr KLN Rao on final day

“There is no great activity that is required on the part of the dean of academics and the dean of research, except giving a little helping hand to the director in planning. It will not lead to too much increase in the research activity,” said Dr KLN Rao, who retired as head of paediatrics surgery and sub-dean of the PGIMER on Wednesday.

punjab Updated: Jun 01, 2017 20:32 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Dr KLN Rao
Dr KLN Rao (HT Photo)

The idea of having two deans at Post Graudate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is a cosmetic exercise that wouldn’t improve its situation, said Dr KLN Rao, head, paediatrics surgery and sub-dean of the PGIMER, who retired on Wednesday. 

Dr KLN Rao, who has written 450 research publications, believes that to strengthen research the institute has to provide assistance to the faculty. 

“There is no great activity that is required on the part of the dean of academics and the dean of research, except giving a little helping hand to the director in planning. It will not lead to too much increase in the research activity,” said Dr KLN Rao. 

“For research, you need decent amount of time, but clinicians are burdened with clinical work and the assistance available to them is very meagre. The amount of assistance that is required in terms of logistics, collection of research articles, keeping track of patients, X-rays, patient records is not there.” 

From humble beginnings in AP to 32 years in PGI

Born in a small coastal village of Andhra Pradesh, Dr KLN Rao’s journey as a PGI faculty member started in 1985. 

“Coming from a poor family, I wanted to set an example for others by proving that children from humble background can achieve anything,” said Dr Rao. 

The doctor has witnessed the institute growing from one building to several super specialty centres in three decades. “When I had joined, paediatrics centre was only limited to one block on the third floor of Nehru building. There were only 23 beds. Today, there is a 260 bed separate building, popularly known as advanced paediatrics centre,” he said. 

The number of paediatric surgeries has recorded an increase of 500%, that is from 900 surgeries in 1985 to over 4,000 per year. 

Under his supervision, the newborn surgery unit of PGIMER has become the largest in the country. Here over 800 surgeries of neonates are performed per year. 

Pioneer of surgical techniques

There are at least five surgical techniques, which were invented by Dr KLN Rao and were later followed by doctors across the country. For instance, he developed ‘cross table prone lateral view’ to examine children born without anus. Earlier, children were held upside down for X-ray, which was discomforting. With the new technique, a child lies on the table and X-ray is down from lateral view. 

Record breaking number of surgeries

The doctor restricted to some niche areas of paediatric surgeries, which are quite rarely performed in the country. 

“I have performed over 300 surgeries of children suffering from portal hypertension (blood vomiting) and 1,050 surgeries of children suffering from hydro nephrosis (kidney swelling), which is highest in the world,” said Dr KLN Rao. He has performed 800 surgeries of children with infection of urinary tract and 550 cases of posterial urethral valve. “No other surgeon in India, have conducted more than 100 cases of these surgeries,” he said. 

No fixing of responsibility led to delay of 250-bed hospital 

“In the case of 250-bed hospital, no responsibility was fixed on a single person, as a result the project got delayed and there were several loopholes in its planning. It was started in 2007 and more than five people headed its planning. Proper planning is missing, leading to delay in projects,” said Dr Rao, who had chaired the committee of 250-bed hospital. 

Challenges ahead? 

The ever increasing rush to the PGIMER is a major challenge. To cater to this problem, the institute is now expanding. We have got 50 acre land in Sarangpur and are coming up with new buildings. 

What next? 

My vision is not to join a five-star hospital. I want to give affordable treatment to people. Most likely, I will join CMC, Sector 17, where my teacher Dr IC Pathak is a managing trustee.