In the 28th week of her pregnancy, a woman delivered a premature newborn. The baby weighed only 900 gms. To complicate matters further, the child was diagnosed with Bartter syndrome – a kidney disorder that occurs 1 in 1,000,000 of the population. Staffers of Jaslok Hospital’s paediatric ward broke out in a cold sweat. “This form of the syndrome that develops in the antenatal period is life-threatening,” informs Jitendra Haryan, CEO of Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre. “But our team of specialists, which included a neonatal intensivist, a paediatric nephrologist and the neonatal intensive care team, worked tirelessly to send the baby home after being in the neonatal ICU for 115 days.” The preemie weighed 2 kgs at the time of discharge.
Thousands of such success stories have gone into the history books of Jaslok Hospital. As the Pedder Road private hospital completes 50 years this month, The Free Press Journal looks back at its formation years and its legacy.
Jaslok was founded in 1973; at a time when the hospital landscape in Mumbai was very different from what it is today. “The city's healthcare infrastructure was gradually evolving to meet the growing needs of its expanding population,” recalls Haryan.
“Five decades ago, Jaslok’s founders, Lokoomal Chanrai and his wife Jasoti Chanrai, recognised the need for a tertiary care private hospital which met the highest international standards in Mumbai. A hospital that would provide a range of medical services, better infrastructure and facilities irrespective of the financial and social status of patients.”
The responsibility to give wings to this dream was entrusted on Dr Shantilal Jamnadas Mehta — a surgeon and a doyen of the medical fraternity.
“Dr Mehta visited the finest medical centres across the world as well as the leading international manufacturers of medical equipment. Drawing on his interactions with medical personnel and senior administrators, as well as on his own rich experience as a surgeon, a teacher and an administrator laid the medical and academic foundations of Jaslok Hospital,” adds Haryan.
The hospital has since evolved to meet the healthcare needs of the community, incorporating advancements in medical science and technology.
“Adoption of evidence-based treatment and care protocols have helped our patients have early access to life-saving treatments; indicators such as door-to-imaging time (the time from patient’s hospital arrival to brain imaging), door-to-thrombolysis time (time gap from reaching the hospital to breaking up blood clots of patient), door-to-balloon time (time taken from arrival in the hospital to undergoing balloon angioplasty) can be benchmarked against some of the best institutions of the world.”
“Additionally, we have developed personalised treatment plans using artificial intelligence algorithms, leading to more precise diagnoses and tailored interventions, ultimately reducing medical errors,” the CEO adds. “We have expanded our speciality departments to encompass emerging medical fields such as genetics, the establishment of a comprehensive onco-sciences department, kidney transplant programme, advanced treatment in cardiology, neurosciences and multidisciplinary care in our critical care units.”
The hospital has recorded multiple milestones over the years. In 1988, Jaslok became the first private centre to have introduced microscope and endoscope for neurosurgery in Western India. Cut to this year, Jaslok launched India’s first restorative and regenerative department to offer treatment for psychiatric diseases or chronic pain in neurological conditions in the form of non-invasive neuromodulation. Meaning, the treatment can restore body functions among patients with cognitive decline due to conditions like Alzheimer’s, etc.
“Jaslok Hospital has utilised a range of modern technologies in its healthcare services. Advanced diagnostic imaging technologies such as MRI, CT scan, and PET scan, state-of-the-art surgical equipment, robotic-assisted surgeries, advanced laboratory and pathology services, telemedicine facilities, and more. Adopting new technology has resulted in more accurate diagnoses, improved treatment effectiveness, and better patient management and better patient outcomes,” informs Haryan.
The hospital offers remote monitoring of patients. “We have introduced non-touch technology that uses bio-sensors which transmit patient vitals such as BP and SPO2, to the nursing workstation on a real-time basis that helps in better patient monitoring and safety.”
After five decades, the hospital is today 2,500 members strong. These include doctors, nurses, technicians, support and administrative personnel.
Haryan was appointed as the CEO in 2018. Since he took up the reins, what all success stories has he witnessed, we ask. “It's difficult to choose one incident,” Haryan says, adding, “I think the USP of Jaslok is its superlative critical care treatment. And hence, all patients who require intensive monitoring are referred to our centre. The organ transplant units have given a second life to so many patients. We are averaging 120 kidney transplants per year.”
This year, kidney transplants at Jaslok may cross an average of 150.
“We are in the business of saving lives,” he smiles. “There are so many stories unfolding every day within our walls. Stories of courage, fortitude, love and winning against all odds. A young teen who wins her battle against leukaemia and goes on to finish college, a wife donating her kidney to her husband, a young man going back home after four months in the hospital battling for his life on ECMO (extracorporeal life support), a pregnant woman delivering her baby while in the ICU, a devoted daughter donating a part of her liver to her ailing mother. The list is very long.”
On July 6 this year, the hospital celebrated the completion of 50 years by unveiling a coffee table book that captures Jaslok’s legacy. Lyricist Javed Akhtar also wrote an anthem for the Jaslok family. “It captures the ethos and culture of the hospital,” Haryan adds. “Jaslok 2.0 promises continued delivery of world-class care with enhanced patient experience. Here is to the next 50!”