Wednesday, 13 November 2019

A Doctor Who Started As One Who Once Repaired The Punctured Tyre And Is Now One Of The Best In Repairing Hearts Meet Dr Purushottam Lal

Updated: March 6, 2010 12:28 pm

From repairing punctures of bicycle tyres to puncturing blocks in the arteries of hearts, Dr Purushottam Lal, a wellknown angioplasty expert and chairman, Metro Group of Hospitals, has come a long way, so to say. He has single handedly done over 30 thousand angioplasty in the space of past four years, a figure that is a global record of sorts. The doctor recently made headlines because of a claim that was made in University of Illinois.

            The USA University claimed its first case of angiogram (a gold standard test to gauge the thickness of the blockage of the artery) via a puncture in the wrist, as a global first. But it turned out that it was same that Dr Lal started about a decade ago under the nomenclature ‘Metro Coronary Screening’. It is the rare case in which reverse in case of a treatment procedure has happened. It has moved from India to America rather than vise versa. He has over 10 thousand angiograms through this method to date. He took this route to make this test as simple as giving blood for test.

            The traditional angiogram is done by a puncture in the groin and entails a prohibitive process and a longer period of immobility. Contrary to this, the one done by Dr Lal is executed in a couple of minutes while the person may be talking to someone on his Mobile. The person can go to his work just after the procedure. If it was found that a critical blockage was there in the artery, the angioplasty (the method of opening the blockage after angiogram by ballooning and stenting) takes not more than a hour.

            When he had started this method, a few of his rivals’ eyebrows were raised but he held his ground. And, lo and behold, the US University prided on an achievement that already rightfully belonged to Dr Lal.

            Dr Lal has no hesitation in remembering his past when, in his school days, he mended the punctures in bicycle tyre with precision. The grip and the strength that he feels in his fingers while doing angiograms, he imputes to his stitching days. He is rather proud of his rags days when his father eked out his living by repairing bicycle. But the penury could not prevent him from his avowed aim of becoming a doctor and serving the poor. The gritty Lal made it to US and, after getting his training as a doctor, came back to India, shunning all the pecuniary allurements that came in the way there.

            He says: My past has instilled in me a compassion for the poor, which is a must in this profession. When a patient comes to me, saying he is unable to foot the bill, I feel near tears. Going by his soft corner for poor patient, it was only befitting that the late Surjeet Singh, one of the founders of CPM, used to take his treatment in Noida Metro. So much expertise Dr Purushottam Lal, who has been conferred Padma Vibhusan by the Government of India, has attained in angioplasty that he has that guts to declare that the traumatic bypass can now be easily bypassed, to the chagrin of the likes of renowned heart surgeon Dr Narsh Trehan. He says: “People themselves are not ready to go though the travails of bypass and they have increasingly started opting for angioplasty. Over the years angioplasty has refined it so much that it be applied even in situations where earlier only bypass was indicated.”

By Vaishali Tanwar

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