In a tete-a-tete with Manasi Tahalani, 43rd Dhanvantari Award Winner and Head of Department of Cardiac Thoracic Surgery at Bombay Hospital, Dr Sudhanshu Bhattacharya, gave an insight into his journey as a doctor from a cardiac surgeon and the highs and lows of his life. Dr Bhattacharya expresses the need for strong medical education system in order to provide the young aspiring doctors with best medical education, faculty and state-of-art facility for their bright as well as the health-care system. How was your journey from a doctor to a noted cardiac surgeon? What was the driving force which pushed you to reach and excel in the medical field?
n I always aspired to be a doctor and therefore explored and specialized in the field of cardiac surgery. I continuously kept on working towards my goals and pushed myself to be creative and experiment with science. The passion of doing something for the betterment of patients and medical field encouraged me to create light in a room filled with darkness. In my journey, I have had good as well as bad days, but neither success nor failure stopped me from working hard. I designed surgical instrument, adopted the innovative technique of total arterial revascularization and performed over 5,000 cases using this technique. With this, I never looked back but only moved forward towards the path of success and glory.
How big role do lifestyle diseases play in rising cardiac ailments in the city?
n Lifestyle diseases such as smoking and diabetes act as contributing factors but genetic factor plays an important role in the cardiac diseases. Therefore, if your family is prone to all these problems and you have those genes, then unfortunately you are in trouble. Another aspect that plays one of the basic and biggest factors in the rising cases of cardiac ailments is stress. I have come across such cases wherein a 25-year-old woman who lost her baby a few months ago came to me with a heart-disease. There was no history of co-morbid factors but depression and stress led to heart-disease.
Today, in the competitive world, people are slogging day-in and day-out but it is equally important that you take the day off and relax yourself. There has to be time-management so that you allot equal time for work, friends and family and health to have a sound and happy lifestyle.
What is your opinion on the current health care system? And which are the areas where the government needs to bring in changes?
n As compared to previous years, today, we have a large number of hospitals and early detection is happening in some areas and sections because of increased awareness. However, the most disturbing part is that the government fails to choose the right person. In the health care system, you cannot have those people who want to make money out of health care as this system is supposed to give service to people. However, when situation arises, then the doctors need to take it upon themselves and show the hospital their capabilities and the high need for the required machines, medications or development. Also, it is the responsibility of the hospitals to ensure that the doctors’ demands are heard, addressed and worked upon and only then we will be marching on the path of a successful health-care system.
Today, majority of doctors are moving abroad for higher studies and private hospitals for practising. What is your opinion on this?
n Our medical education lacks good faculty which is driving students to move abroad for higher studies. According to me, if you are the best in your work then it doesn’t hold importance from where you are getting your medical degree. But it is high time that we need to come up with medical education programme which provides education on the current healthcare system and gives an exposure of the challenges and hardships. Further, the students should be exposed to both public as well as private hospitals in order to give them an insight into the functioning of both the hospitals.
How important is the role of doctor-patient relationship in today’s healthcare system?
n Doctor-patient relationship holds huge importance because if the doctor doesn’t have the skill to deliver the message to the relative in the right way, then he is not a complete doctor. There are times when doctors are in a dilemma whether to say the truth but it is crucial that the doctor is honest with their patients.
What message would you give to young aspiring doctors and surgeons?
n Doctors need to set their priorities as well as goals and be focused on it to achieve their objectives. Today, I see doctors setting money as their primary objective which is wrong because it is and will always be a bi-product in your career. Also, a doctor will face challenges in his path wherein he will fail but he needs to keep on working towards his goals. There is no shortcut to hard work.