He Tunes In Joy Tunnels For Deaf
For the dexterous ENT surgeon, Dr JM Hans of BLK Super Speciality Hospital at Pusa Road, the most coveted title for himself now is not that of being a ‘Doctor’ but of being an ‘Artist’. This title was given to him by one of the most eminent scientists of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation), Prof. Bhujung Rao, its former chief. Prof. Rao had gone to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, as an emissary of the erstwhile President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, to witness how deft an ENT surgeon Dr Hans really was. Kalam had heard and read a lot about Dr Hans’s ability as a surgeon but he wanted to confirm it. Prof. Rao was so mighty impressed by his skill of carving out a tunnel in the scalp to cable the electrode of Cochlear Implant, a magic machine that makes deaf to hear. And the scientist painted Dr Hans as an artist. That was the time when Kalam was dreaming of getting a cheap and affordable Indian version of Cochlear Implant created at DRDO, so that it be accessible even for those deaf who are poor. The ‘artist’ has so far tuned in joy tunnels for over 800 deaf, mostly children, a record of sorts.
When Dr Hans was in the sixth grade, he would not have given up the title ‘Dr.’ even for the world. Going down the memory lane, Dr Hans remembers how besotted he was to the title. He says: “When I was in the sixth grade, I had usurped this title and started writing Dr before my name. Whenever I went to Amal, my village in Rohtak, to see my grandfather, Hukum Chand Hans, I would be so ‘smitten’ by the kind of respect that an RMP doctor there commanded from the villagers that I started conjuring up getting the same when I would myself become a doctor.”
Dr Hans had been able to attract the attention of Kalam because he was the first ENT surgeon in the country who had started tunnel route, just of 1.6mm, for the insertion of electrode in the skull. Before this, a crater had to be scooped in the skull. Dr Hans had gone to Presidential Palace with bones and his computer to make Kalam understand the template of Cochlear Implant. Later on, it was Dr Hans who did the trial of Cheap Cochlear Implant created by DRDO on cats. A couple of months ago, Kalam as chief guest at a function organised by BLK, dedicated this Cheap indigenous Cochlear Implant to the nation.
Dr Hans also values the fact that he was picked up by Rita Choudhary, the visionary chairman, BLK, as a prized find. And what Mrs Choudhary said to Dr Hans after he joined BLK was really music to his ears. Dr Hans says: “Mrs Choudhary told me point blank that she wanted ENT department of BLK to be an institution in itself, no matter how much cost it incurred.”
In fact, after doing about 300 Cochlear Implant surgeries in Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, he needed a patron like her for pushing the boundaries of his expertise as an ENT surgeon. A new feather in his cap now is his success in auditory brain stem implant, which comes handy when Cochlear Implant is not possible.
Last but not least; Dr Hans has some music for his better half’s ears too. Dr Hans says: “My wife Dr Charu Hans was also a great fillip to my career. When I was in Lohia Hospital, as Head of the Department of Microbiology, she provided me with an infection-free operation theater before I landed BLK’s state-of-the-art ENT Operation Theater.”
By D Kumar