The new wave of brain doctors in India are not only well-trained, but also good at giving incorrect advice to patients.
A case in point is Dr Satish Dhawan, who in April 2017 was hired as head of neurology at a private hospital in Jodhpur, Uttar Pradesh.
The appointment was made to replace a retired neurosurgeon.
Dr Dhawan had a history of making misleading comments to patients, and had even once been accused of trying to get the hospital to cancel a patient’s surgery.
“I was very nervous because I knew that I would be asked to go to the hospital and be the doctor for the next patient,” Dr Dhawan said at the time.
Dr Satish, however, had no problem with the idea of the head of a private neurosurgery unit being a brain doctor.
“It is not unusual for a private facility to hire a brain surgeon,” he said.
“They need to be very qualified.
We are experts in neurosurgeries.
We can help you with the procedure, but we are not doctors.
The only thing we can do is to give you the best treatment possible.
So we are doing this job because of our medical training.”
It’s a fact that the current head of the Neurology Department at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai has a doctorate in neurology.
“He has done more than 200 brain surgery and neurosurgeons,” Dr Manjendra said.
But what Dr Dhwan has done is far worse.
His brain surgery was conducted with an anaesthetic and the anaesthetic was given through an IV.
In other words, he was performing the operation on his own body.
It was against the rules.
Dr Dhavan’s job description was that of “brain surgeon” and not a neurosurge.
This is what he said to a patient in a recent case.
He said that he had “diagnosed and treated a person with epilepsy”.
This is a textbook case of what’s known as “misleading” for which a person can be sacked for two years.
Dr Satyash said that this “confused” patient was also a “medical student” and had taken the “advice of a physician” from Dr Dhawani.
He also said that the patient was in pain and had to be treated by the neurologist.
But in a case like this, when a patient has a serious neurological condition and is unable to receive proper care, a doctor who is “trained” in neurologic surgery can be accused of giving false advice.
A brain surgeon is not a doctor, but is instead trained to perform surgery on the brain of a patient.
Dr Manjun Das, a neuropsychiatrist in Bangalore, told NDTV that doctors “need to be careful when they are operating on patients with serious neurological conditions, which can lead to serious complications”.
Dr Das is also the head, chairperson and president of the International Association of Neurological Surgeons (IASN).
Dr Das also told NDtv that if a doctor is asked to perform a “procedure”, he or she should be “truly trained in the subject and the procedures”.
It is not enough for a neurologist to say, “I can help with the operation”, Dr Das added.
“If they have a very good knowledge in neurologies and neurophysiology, they should know what the anatomy is like.
If they have no knowledge of anatomy or neurophysiological physiology, they are not qualified to perform the procedure.”
Dr Satyush, who is also an honorary president of IASN, said he had never heard of a doctor being sacked for “misrepresenting” his opinion to a person.
“There should be no question in our minds that we are doctors, and we must do the best for our patients,” Dr Satya said.
This, in a country where almost one in five patients are neurologically handicapped.
Dr Sridhar Singh, an expert on neuropsychiatric disorders at the National Institute of Neurology (NINOD), said that “it is difficult for a neuroscientist to be an expert in neurophysiolgy, as it is the domain of a professional”.
Dr Satya’s words were backed up by the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), a leading US agency, which said in a statement that doctors who perform brain surgery should be trained to “do the best and safest surgery for their patients”.
“This means ensuring that they have the right expertise and skills to perform successful brain surgery on their patients,” the NCDC said.
Dr Sridhhar Singh is not the only one who is questioning the accuracy of brain surgeons.
Dr Prakash Nair, director of the NINOD’s Neurosurgery Department, said that Dr Satash’s comments were “extremely irresponsible”.
“I would never say something like that.
I would say that we should have a clear understanding of neurophysio-physiology. If you do