Thursday, 4 June 2020

Meet Metro Man’s Chosen Surgeon

Updated: April 21, 2012 4:53 pm

Remember the roads of Delhi before Metro came into being? They were like clogged arteries of a sick heart. ‘The Fist Engineer’ of the country E. Shreedharan, the no- nonsense Managing Director of Delhi Metro was picked up as a ‘doctor’ par excellence to salvage the situation. Do you know who the doctor was whom the Metro Man himself chose when clogged arteries of his own heart needed a surgeon? He is Dr Ganesh Mani, the consultant cardiac surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital and Pushpanjali Crosslay in Vaishali as well.

That Metro Man entrusted the bypass of the logjam in his heart’s arteries to Dr Mani, speaks volumes about his ability as a cardiac surgeon. Out of 18 thousand heart surgeries so far, this one bypass of Metro Man makes him surpass all other cardiac surgeons. But the moment you start praising him, the humility invariably takes the better of this surgeon.

Shreedharan has known him since the days when both were in the Railways. When the need arose Shreedharan was too sure that he would be completely safe under the knife of Dr Mani . Incidentally, when Indraprastha Apollo started in Delhi, the first heart patient was also entrusted to Dr Mani for bypass surgery. And when Apollo Group was still in the making, its feisty chairman Dr C Pratap Reddy came calling on Dr Mani for the bypass surgery of his school teacher some Sampat.

From the first heart surgery at Apollo and that of Shreedharan not long ago, Dr Mani has come a long way towards achieving a rare distinction that every cardiac surgeon dreams of—zero mortality. In his last 1000 elective heart surgeries, not a single death has occurred. Now he is trying hard to achieve this distinction in emergency cases, which is a real tough task. But given his tenacity, this one also does not seem impossible.

Initially, he was not inclined to become a cardiac surgeon. But the death of his father, couple of days after his bypass in 1971, prompted him to change the track. At that time, cardiology had not evolved in India as it is today. His father was operated upon in GB Pant Hospital, by a doctor from Australia, Dr Smith Nikes. His father could not survive because of the lack of adequate care after surgery. He made a resolve to develop cardiology in the country and changed his tack.

Now cut to his persona in a non-hospital environment. He turns over a new leaf so much so that a stranger can not guess that he could be a famed heart surgeon. His ‘hearty’ persona has the knack of infecting the whole environment. This was in full display not long ago in Naukuchia Tal where Pushpanjali Crosslay Hospital had taken all the health writers of Delhi for a joy trip. He is an avid singer and has got an enviable baritone but he kept this fact close to his heart till the singer in him erupted in a jamboree. He took no time to become the toast of every health writer there who bemusedly watched the ‘heart maestro’ lilt the crowd by his charm. Even the one singer who was especially called by the hospital to cajole the party paled into insignificance. When it is time for him to let his hair down, you can see him with gay abandon. He has no trappings of a high-profile doctor and his geniality is the quintessence of his personality. His smile is so disarming that the patient under his knife is infused with the feeling that no harm could flow from such a gentle mien.

His other attributes include playing veena, a saintly musical instrument. And so it is only natural that he knows full well that if music has to be the food of life, its wires like that of veena, should not be too tight or too loose. This is evidenced by the poise that reigns in his family life. When studying, he could not ‘bypass’ his anesthetist wife Manju jee’s charm offensive and fell for her for ever. At 64, his heart has been ticking for her for the last 30 years all the same.

By D Kumar

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