Some trendsetters

Published : Mar 27, 2009 00:00 IST

Medical staff from GEM Hospital conduct endoscopy tests for poor people at Nirmala College in Coimbatore on March 16.-M. PERIASAMY

Medical staff from GEM Hospital conduct endoscopy tests for poor people at Nirmala College in Coimbatore on March 16.-M. PERIASAMY

WITH several hospitals providing specialised health care, Coimbatore has made a mark for itself as a medical care centre. Some of them are PSG Super Speciality Hospitals, Vikram ENT Hospital and Research Institute, Kovai Medical Centre and Hospital, and K.G. Hospital.

Although established just eight years ago by Dr C. Palanivelu, GEM (Gastro Enterology Medical Centre and) Hospital has an international reputation as one of the most advanced centres for gastroenterology and laparoscopic surgery.

Success sits lightly on the shoulders of Dr Palanivelu who pioneered laparoscopic surgery for patients with cancer in the digestive tract and liver and tumour in the pancreas. He is also noted for popularising key-hole surgery as a speciality in the country.

Until the early 1970s, a number of people died of cancer in the food pipe, the pancreas and the stomach. Dr Palanivelu introduced total laparoscopy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. I drill three holes in the chest from the side-approach, operate inside and remove the entire food pipe. Then I make a tube out of the stomach pouch and connect it to the neck. People can eat normally, he said. This has led to less morbidity, shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery. Japan and China have honoured him for this technique. The European Society of Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons have recognised it as an outstanding technique. Earlier, experts used to take seven to eight hours for the removal of pancreatic cancer. But when I showed my video at the World Congress of Surgeons in New York in 2000, the trend changed.

GEM offers a three-year diploma course in surgical gastroenterology and a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in laparoscopic surgery. This is the only hospital in the entire country that offers a Ph.D. in laparoscopy, Dr Palanivelu said.

K.G. Hospital, founded by Dr G. Bakthavathsalam, provides specialised surgical treatment for a variety of problems. Ashok Bakthavathsalam, managing trustee, K.G. Information Systems (Private) Limited Trust, said: We pioneered medical transcription as a career. Today there are 30 to 40 medical transcription companies and 10,000 medical transcriptionists in this city.

The Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Pharmacy is another important institution in the city. P.V. Rama Varier, who founded it in 1943, started an ayurveda hospital in 1959, now known as the Arya Vaidya Chikitsalayam and Research Institute.

By T.S. Subramanian
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