Mumbai Mirror (02.24.2014)
India’s Mumbai Mirror reported that three local surgeons will downsize their own private practices to provide free services at the BMC TB hospital in Sewri, India, Asia’s largest TB hospital. Their contributions will double the number of surgeries the hospital currently performs.
The three doctors, two cardiothoracic surgeons and one pulmonary surgeon, hail from other local hospitals, but took the examples of their mentors, who began donating their expertise several years ago, after they had officially retired. When treatments do not work, especially on multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB), surgery often is the only option for survival. The team of retirees just completed their 70th surgery on an MDR TB patient last week. Sixty-eight have survived, are doing well, and are TB-negative.
The hospital has had a difficult time recruiting healthcare workers, including doctors, who fear they will contract TB from patients. The new volunteer surgeons believe that the possibility of contracting TB from patients has been misconstrued and decided to follow the lead of their elders in helping poor patients. “I have worked with TB patients for the last 20 years. …If one has taken adequate precautions, one will not contract the disease," said Dr. Ravi Pendkar who has completed more than 1,000 surgeries on TB patients.