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The Saviour Doctor

Updated: February 11, 2012 12:53 pm

Being a doctor he hardly ever bothered about heaven or hell. But through six years of doing 850 liver transplants, the largest number in a single unit in the country, he has now avidly started conjuring up that ethereal abode. Every time a liver transplant patient would get the gift of life, the surgeon in return would get blessings from the inner recesses of his heart for long life and heaven thereafter. He would have it mostly by way of verses from the Koran because he gets a large number of patients from not so friendly neighbouring country Pakistan. This is Dr Subhash Gupta, Chief Surgeon of Liver Transplant Unit in Apollo.

Dr Gupta admits he has really started counting the pure and crystal ‘pebbles’ of blessings that might line his way to heaven. He says: “Through these heart-touching moments that came my way, I have started feeling stirrings of the kind that I did not before. They have sublimated me into a person who has started relishing sharing-and-caring more than the money these surgeries bring.” More than his purse, his heart is brimming with human milk of kindness.

Doubtless the liver surgery is a prohibitive one, cost wise, but miniscule if compared with the cost incurred in the USA, the UK and other developed countries. In India it is over 20 lakh rupees and the expenditure on costly medicines throughout life. But it pains Dr. Gupta to know that someone lost his life because he thought he would not bear the cost. He pleads: “Do not get put off by the cost; at least come to me once. We have many ways to get help for those who are hard and short of money.” In fact, he avidly looks for those liver patients who have resigned themselves to their fate, thinking of the exorbitant cost involved. He scouts for such helpless patients and, if he comes to know that money is preventing them from coming to him, he even visits the houses of those patients and offers help. He says: “If someone really is not in a position to bear the cost, I can do it for half the amount. There are organisations which come forward to do their bit. I try my best not to let go the patients disappointed. I cannot bear the sight of a liver being wasted for want of money.”

 

Paving the way for heaven with liver patients’ blessings

Dr Gupta feels the liver is besieged from all sides. Alcohol, junk food and Hepatitis B infection are proving to be a dangerous combination for the liver. That’s why he wants people to be aggressively sensitised about the endangered liver. He has seen the trauma and anguish that a liver cirrhosis patient goes through. Sensitising people about the dangers lurking for the liver can spare a lot of people from pain.

He says the liver is a fantastic organ created by God. It gives us a lot of warning signals before succumbing to the point of no return. So he is more for preventive campaign for liver than the curative one. He has taken upon himself to disseminate the ABCD of liver. He advocates early referrals for transplant because that ensures the success of the procedure.

Dr Gupta is saddened by the fact that even wife, sons, brothers and sisters refuse to part with a morsel of liver that can save the life of their dear ones. “But I do not blame the spouses of alcoholics for being apathetic to them when they become cirrhosis.”

Now Dr Gupta has embarked upon the dissemination of training and teaching of liver transplant so that people do get transplant facilities near their homes. He has been instrumental in establishing the transplant unit in The Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS) established by the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi as an autonomous institute. Out of 40 liver transplants there so far, he has done 25.

By D Kumar

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