Pak doc on India mission

Pakistan-born paediatric cardiologist Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi took time off during a visit to India to perform complex heart surgeries on several children in Kerala.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2003 11:30 IST

A Pakistan-born paediatric cardiologist now settled in London took time off during a weeklong visit to India to fly to Kerala to perform complex heart surgeries on several children.

Shakeel Ahmed Qureshi is in the country to attend a meeting of the Cardiological Society of India that will begin in Kolkata on Thursday.

Qureshi arrived here in Kerala on Monday and performed three heart surgeries at the Sree Chithra Thirunal Institute of Medical Technology.

On Tuesday, he performed two more surgeries at the Amritha Institute of Technology at Kochi before leaving for Kolkata.

The 51-year-old doctor, who is also chairman of Britain's Paediatric Cardiology Training Programme, is on his third visit to India.

"The first visit was eight years ago and it was a smooth affair, the second visit was in 2002 and it came through after a few hiccups, but this time even at the eleventh hour I thought I would be unable to come," he said.

"But at the last moment I was cleared," said Qureshi with a sigh of relief.

Qureshi migrated to Britain almost four decades ago with his father, who was determined to make his son a doctor. Initially it was tough for the Pakistani boy who had to face a lot of abuse because of the colour of his skin.

Overcoming problems, Qureshi passed out of medical school and looks back with a sense of pride, saying he is what is today because of his hard work.

Qureshi is currently a senior consultant paediatric cardiologist at Guy's Hospital in London and is popularly known for inventing the Tyshak balloon, used to dilate blood vessels in children, in 1989.

He said he was happy with the reception that he got every time in India.

This was his first visit to Kerala and it became a reality because of his former colleague at Guy's Hospital, M. Sivasankaran, who currently works at Sree Chithra.

"I would be glad to come to India to perform similar operations in any hospital in the country. The problem is, will they let me in?" asked Qureshi in a lighter vein.

"But I'm happy that in the last few days there have been encouraging signals form (India and Pakistan) and I sincerely hope things will change for the betterment of relations between the two countries," he said.

"Kerala fascinates me and I wish I will be back soon in this beautiful place," said Qureshi.

First Published: Dec 03, 2003 09:45 IST