Thursday, November 19, 2015

Bypass Thanjavur for Bypass Surgery or Not? - Part 1

Early this year, I was visiting India on an official trip. I was visiting the offshore teams that I closely work with. The teams are in Bangalore and Delhi. I also was trying to squeeze in some personal work trying to kill two birds in one stone. 
After my New Delhi visit, I was flying back to Bangalore. My flight was delayed by a couple of hours. Instead of landing at Bengaluru International airport at 10 PM, it landed at about mid night. After landing and turning on my phone, the first message I received was "Dad hospitalized. Heart attack, Call Sister". Couple of frantic phone calls later, I learnt that, My dad had a mild heart attack and is now at Meenakshi Hospital, Thanjavur. My Mom was very calm and said that he is under observation and nothing to worry. 
The first decision was - do I leave for Thanjavur immediately or in the Morning ? To make life a little more interesting than what it was already, some of the political parties had called for a strike to protest against the new dam being built by Karnataka. It was supposed to be from 6 am to 6 PM the next day, and the epi center of it was around Thanjavur. Great!
I decided to take a cab and went straight to Thanjavur and reached the hospital at around 7 AM. I have never heard about Meeakshi hospital before now. I had no idea how it would be, and I expected it to be one of those private hospital that is typically a big house converted into a hospital. I was pleasantly surprised by what I found there. It was a new, well maintained proper hospital.
The security guard did not permit me into the ICU since it was not visiting hours, and after explaining to him that I am the son of the patient admitted, he reluctantly let me in. I was relieved to find my dad in good spirits. I was impressed to notice the facilities. It was clean, and almost each patient had a nurse attending them. I am neither a medical expert nor a hospital management expert, but I could see that the equipment and the facilities were state of the art.
The waiting game began. Every other hour I was asked to buy some medicine or the other or pay for a test or the other. In the mean time, I was constantly on the phone with friends, family and well wishers. One of our relatives is a Doctor by profession and he was suggesting the things to check with the care providers and making sure my dad was getting the right treatment. He did not know much about the hospital either and was trying to get feedback from his circles. 
Some of my friends, my class mates are practicing Doctors. I was checking with them in terms of how the hospital was and the Doctors etc. We were all expecting some sort of angioplasty would fix him up and the specialist Dr Kesava Moorthy's name cropped up in my discussions with my mates and all were talking highly of him. As expected angiogram was performed on my dad but, what we did not expect was the extent of the blocks. Dr Kesava Moorthy explained that 2 out of 3 vessels are 100% blocked and the remaining one was estimated to be 70% blocked. Bypass was the option for him and a Dr Suresh Babu would be the right person to advice us and there is nothing that he could do.
We were a bit disappointed to know that he has to undergo a full blown surgery. There were several questions burning in our minds and we knew that we have to make some decisions. 
The facts were:
1. We are looking at a major surgical procedure. 
2. We don't know much about the hospital.
3. We don't know if the hospital had the facilities to perform such a procedure.
4. We didn't know about the surgeon - we could not get any feedback from any known sources.
The most important question now was to do the Bypass operation in Thanjavur or Bypass Thanjavur and go to a place where we get good feedback from dependable sources.

Part 2.