To many doctors in India, going abroad to acquaint themselves with the latest technology remains a distant dream due to lack of money or opportunity. Now this dream has come closer to home, thanks to the efforts of Dr Dinesh Patel, Chief of Arthroscopic Surgery,Massachusetts General Hospital. It was his idea to initiate the setting up of a psychomotor lab at Ahmedabad, India. With the collaboration of a multinational company Smith & Nephew Inc.'s who donated $400,000 worth of equipment and the help of the Indian Government, this unique lab has come up in a record time of five months.
The lab has six workstations for doctors to learn their skills. According to Dr Patel it “offers a 3 dimensional skill with two hands” and “ is totally a hands on experience.” He also said that the lab’s major benefits are" to help reduce the cost of health care, enhance patient care and train doctors in surgical procedures with the aid of computerized equipment and latest state of the art technology.
"Nowhere in the history of public services, either in the public sector or the private sector, has a project that involves a multinational company, academics and the government finished in five months," Dr Patel points out . “A project of this nature is a major step in bringing the state of the art medical technology to India” he says. The Indian government allotted 6,000 square feet of space, and Smith & Nephew donated the equipment, which ranged from video arthroscopes to artificial knees and models.
Dr Patel while speaking to Lokvani emphasized the fact that although there are doctors trained in India they do not have the infrastructure to practice their skills. “Now there are hospitals dedicated to specific specialties: cancer, gall bladder, orthopedics, pediatrics and even rehab centers.” But, he said, “the doctors still needed a place to train. It's a lot of expense to come here or go to other developed countries for one or two weeks to train, and not everyone can afford it.”
Dr Patel who has been a faculty member at Harvard Medical school sees the need for intellectual capital to be invested in India. Dr Patel also felt that the Government in India along with the Health Minister and the Health secretary were eager and happy to help in this effort. In fact,L.K. Advani, India’s Home Minister inaugurated the lab on December 16th even though the date came soon after the Parliament attack in New Delhi. “I was very impressed with the health secretary, minister and the Gujarat government together with dean of medical school and chief of orthopedic surgery at the civil hospital. They worked as a team day and night for 6 months.”
The lab is named after Dr Dinesh Patel: the Dr. Dinesh G. Patel Psychomotor Laboratory at Paraplegia Hospital in Ahmedabad. It will train doctors from both India and abroad. More than 160 orthopedic doctors have availed of this facility and Dr Patel hopes that many more will benefit in the near future.
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Rangoli - An artist's view of the lab
Dr. Dinesh Patel lighting the lamp at the inauguration
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