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Indian doctor is Nepal’s heart king

Sunday, September 26, 2010 01:44:16 PM, Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS

Kathmandu: As World Heart Day is celebrated globally Sunday, Indian doctor Bharat Rawat and his wife Anjali are preparing something special for a special heart patient admitted to their hospital in Kathmandu - dosa without oil and spices.

The south Indian delicacy is meant to perk up the appetite of Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, the 86-year-old former prime minister of Nepal who was brought to the Norvic International Hospital Thursday after his health rapidly deteriorated.

When Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav went to visit the celebrity patient, the latter had a wish - to be able to tuck into dosa and jalebis from his hospital bed.

“So my wife decided to make the dosas at home so that Bhattarai-ji could eat what he wants to,” says Rawat, the resident doctor at Norvic as well as its executive director.

It's these little personal touches as well as the ability to merge with Nepal's society that has made the Indian the leading cardiologist in Nepal.

On Sunday, the 43-year-old from Rajasthan was featured by most of Nepal's leading newspapers, from the mainstream dailies to the tabloids.

The cardiologist welcomes the attention that he uses to focus on the rise of heart diseases in Nepal and how to combat them. On Saturday, Norvic released his first book, “Heart disease: a lifestyle disease”.

The 50-page book tells you how to detect the first signs of heart disorders, true accounts by patients who survived heart attacks and how to live life to the full despite an attack.

Rawat cautions that heart diseases are growing in Nepal, especially among people below 40.

“Lifestyle is the major cause for heart diseases in Nepal,” he says. “Stress and unhealthy food as well as lack of exercise. Christians have a motto: 'Have I made my day'? For a healthy heart, people too should ask themselves that with 'MADE' standing for (avoiding) mental stress, avoiding tobacco in any form, diet control and exercise.”

The other factor behind heart diseases is in-laws, he says.

“Most in-laws push their family members to eat more,” he says. “But I have never seen anyone being coaxed to eat more fruit or vegetable. It is always meat, sweets and alcohol, as if these are the only expressions of love. Let's not push our family members into eating to death.”

Rawat first came to Nepal in 1999 after he was deputed to Norvic by the Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi with which the Kathmandu hospital had a tie-up.

“At that time, there would be two to five patients being admitted daily,” he recalls. “I would also treat about five to 10 at the outdoor patients' department. Today, I see 50 to 70 patients a day.”

His patients have included former Indian prime minister I.K. Gujral as well as Nepal's deposed crown prince Paras.

While ruing the growing heart disorder rate, he is however thrilled at the way Norvic has grown. Today, it is an 80-bed hospital with the first cardiac cath lab in Nepal to treat patients within 50 minutes of their complaints.

There is round-the-clock treatment available and Rawat, who lives on the hospital premises, is at hand for emergencies.

Besides his professional capabilities, what has endeared him to the Nepali society is his ability to blend in. He speaks Nepali fluently and his salon parties bring together Nepali poets, writers and thinkers.







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