To bust pressure, Docs considered PM too as a patient
What is it like for a doctor when he performs a major surgery on the Prime Minister? For Dr PK Rath, one of the cardiac surgeon who carried out the coronary by-pass on PM Manmohan Singh, the challenge was to perform under pressure like top cricketers such as Sachin and Yuvraj.Updated: Feb 01, 2009, 23:42 IST
What is it like for a doctor when he performs a major surgery on the Prime Minister?
For Dr PK Rath, one of the cardiac surgeon who carried out the coronary by-pass on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the challenge was to perform under pressure like top cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh.
"For us the Prime Minister is also a patient and we try to treat him as such. But there is a certain amount of pressure. A doctor cannot allow pressure to prevail. So the key is to perform well under pressure like Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh," said Dr Rath of Mumbai's Asian Heart Institute.
Dr Rath, who was a part of the team of surgeons who operated upon the Prime Minister in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on January 24, was responding to a query whether they were tensed because of the fact that the Prime Minister was their patient and there was so much media attention.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was brought to AIIMS after he complaint of chest pain. The angiography performed last Wednesday revealed multiple blockages and collapse of stents, which were placed in 2004 to dilate the vessels and ensure smooth blood supply to heart muscles.
"I was informed about the surgery only on Friday. I could not inform my brother and sister but I told my wife," says Rath adding that Dr Ramakant Panda may have been informed about it by the Prime Minister's office.
When asked about the most complicated part of the surgery, Rath said, "It is always the dissection of the heart."
He said since the surgery was a redo one it carried higher risk. Besides a beating-heart surgery was also a challenge.
"Because it was the second bypass for the Prime Minister, everything right from the opening of the sternum (bone which protects the heart from injuries) ...To opening the heart from chest tissues" was crucial.
Redos are done when the grafts placed in the previous bypass surgery get obstructed and fresh grafts are placed to smoothen the blood flow.
"We had to maintain the blood sugar level by administering insulin. We have also to ensure that heart does not get injured during the opening up of chest and then the grafting," he said.
During the operation surgeons ensured that there was no bleeding which always remains a risk during a repeat bypass surgery. They had planned four grafts initially but found that one more blood vessel was needing a graft, so finally five grafts were placed on Singh.
Rath, a passout from Beherampur Medical College in Orissa, has been with Dr Ramakant Panda, head of surgery team, for last 14 years and specialises in beating heart coronary artery bypass surgery.
So far he has performed more than 1000 bypass surgeries. The surgery of a serving Prime Minister came as a recognition of his talent.
"I felt very honoured when I was informed about the surgery," he said.