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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beyond Borders

Talking of Bone marrow transplants Allogenic transplants require usually HLA matched blood relations rarely does an unmatched donor become useful .
When in Tawam Hospital in Al Ain two Bangladeshi patients were referred by me to CMC vellore for allogenic transplants .

India is the most economic for bone marrow transplants at least 20 to 30 % cheaper than anywhere else in the wrold with equally good results ,( to all those who blame Indian medical sector ) in US and UK it is obnoxiously expensive the poor Bangladeshi patients would have ill afforded
Even in CMCH Vellore it would come to approximately 2000000 INR at that time .
One of the patients whom I sent first told me he knew a Pakistani business man in Dubai who could help him ,so I got his number and called him and asked him if it was true ,

yes Doctor you go ahead and arrange i shall sponsor the expenses he said but do you know how much it really costs ,no worries i shall pay ,
but I said i would just do the medical referral the financial part he needs to deal directly with the Hospital ,
everything was done
our young patient got a visa took his HLA matched donor along with and went to CMCH Vellore ,
Dr Mammen Chandy the renowned hematologist was the HOD and I had communicated with him directly .
Patient went through the procedure which by itself was simple but the stormy post transplant period accounted for the cost and the troubles
luckily he came out of it cured .
And after some time when another Bangladeshi patient also needed a BMT and had a matched recipient i could contact CMCH again and they were wiling to take up the case but this time we had no sponsor ,
so hesitatingly i contacted the same Pakistani gentleman and told him the situation
i told him I dont expect you to sponsor again i know it is unfair but do you know any one who can ,
he said Dr no worries
God has given me profits maybe it is for this purpose
I will sponsor again ,
i was stunned by his generosity so the same thing was repeated he too went and had a successful transplant and returned though he developed lot of post transplant difficulties the last I saw him hopefully he is ok now
this is a real life story of An Indian doctor ,a Pakistani business man ,An Indian hospital a great Indian specialist coming together to help a Bangladeshi patient
no two of them
what are borders

Madras ....Chennais nostalgia

..I was born brought up and had my studies there and moved to Kerala my native place for the working phase of my life ..
strangely both my children who were born and raised in Cochin. Kerala had a stint in Chennai my daughter studying in the 175 year old venerable Madras medical college where I also did my post graduation in its legendary Bernard institute of radiology and cancer..
To walk in its hallowed portals for both me and my daughter were our destinies ..

incidentally it was the famed medical exhibition in this college which I visited as a ninth class student of Santhome high school just opposite the Santhome beach and its peach white cathedral which gave me the ache to be part of the medical profession .

I just couldnt resist the uphill task of a general category applicant to get into a Government medical college by merit.
Those days too there were a couple of capitation fee medical colleges mostly in Karnataka but not like the tons of medical colleges which appeared like a measles rash in the present day kerala where one could become a cardiologist in ten years with the right amount of greenbucks !

My getting an admission in the kilpauk medical college in the ancient 1977 was almost a near impossible task for a fatherless rudderless boy who had a brave mother resisting pressures to bring her children to the native village in Kerala and making them study there instead of staying alone with two children in the big bad city..she was adamant we would study only in madras and if iam something today iam indebted to her fortitude and realization that Madras was a city of education from those days.
My sister too graduated in economics from SIET college in the city
Compared to this my daughter Sruthi sailed through the All India list of medical entrance and sat and choose at her will her preferred Madras medical college and studied her MBBS and did internship before flying to the rarer environs of a Cleavland university to become a pediatric resident

 and my son Shyam too did his plus two again in Chennai in order to attempt the coveted IIT entrance exams which he too cleared to become a part of the venerable IIT circle by joining IIT BHU in Varanasi.
Again it was Madras which bridged him into it.
Madras also got me the partner in my life for which Kilpauk medical college and its romantic aura was responsible
As a star struck final year student thats me proposed to a pretty third year student my wife and we became man and wife after a couple of years of running around its trees was again Madras for

Premila my wife even though she too was from Kerala be it her convent schooling in Doveton coree or stint in Ethiraj college and finally her MBBS in Kilpauk medical college where destiny had placed me two years before to wait for my beu
Madras was always a center of education for the past two hundred years. Legends have walked taught and spoken from its hallowed university its sprawling colleges its heritage learning places.
I also had an opportunity to study in Vivekananda college in Madras near Luz known for its studious students with a craze for cricket The likes of srikanth being its alumini but even a vivekananda college didnt turn me to sports. 
The one year there went away quickly with my almost fanatic zeal to get a medical admission by merit.
The three month stint in the red gabled baroque British buildinged Presidency college where i joined for BSC Zoology as a safety insurance in event of my not getting medical admission was mostly spent in the beachy Buhari hotel opposite it gulping huge cups of tea crunching crisp mutton samosas with other medical hopefuls cutting classes so much that once the professor told us with clenched teeth just remember fellows i will devour you if you dont get medical admission and get stuck with me for three years so the relief and happiness I got when i came to know i got admission for MBBS was to a small part happiness in not facing his revenge .
So to my family madras had always been synonymous with education.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


We left Bratislava with a smile ,it was one of the good trips we have had .
The luxury bus to Vienna was very comfortable with free WIFI entertainment console ,and mineral water .the seat was soft push back and roomy the windows were wide and the scenes were awesome ,with all this the one and half hour ride was over before we realized and we got down the Vienna bus stand .
Like in most developed cities the Bus station was part of a huge complex with metro at one level so we descended down to the Metro and managed to make an online call to our hotel in a place called PilgrimGasse .The reception gave us very clear instructions ,we were advised to get on to the red line ( Vienna Metro has five lines marked in different colors ,106 stations and covered around 75 kms .)
We needed to get down at Karlsplatz  station and change to green line and then travel a couple of stations to reach PilgimGasse  and the hotel was just right across the station .

We bought a ticket from the vending machine ,later we realized we could have bought the one day ticket and saved money which we did after some time ,
the one day or two days tickets are very convenient one can travel in bus or metro or tram unlimited with that .it cost 7.60 Euro per ticket approximately 600 INR




In   a short time we reached PilgrimGasse  a very quaint station with a canal of the Danube flowing near it
 there was a Mc Donald outlet nearby and some shops,
we checked in to Austria Trendz Anas hotel ,
After freshening up we took the metro again this time with a one day ticket and went to karlzplatz changed trains to Musuems quartier  station by now we got the hang of it ,the metro map was very clear ,one had to be careful to look into the end stations in order not to travel in opposite directions and choose the correct colored line but it was very user friendly and needed no help from anyone .

The  museums Quartier  had  many art gallery's and museums mostly of them of the contemptory  kind we went into the Leopold Museum it was very avant garde with lot of fashionable people walking in the lobby
we found the admission charges were exorbitant as both us us were not particular fans of modern art and preferred more realistic ones we gave it a wide berth ,
most of the other museums and galleries there were of the similar kind but the square was big and one could get rest by sitting and people watching ,there was an interactive place for children and a pop music group was setting up for an evening of fun ,
we moved out of the place and then got into a road full of huge buildings palaces and statues the traffic was busy ,
we saw a huge complex with picturesque fountains and a huge square where only walking was allowed .
we came to know this was the famous Hofburg  Palace This was the traditional winter residence of the aristocracy who ruled Austria while the Schonbrunn palace was the summer residency 
it faced the Helden platz .
the sprawling Hofburg sqaure had many statues,manicured gardens and sitting places 

it has several parts to it
the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum, the Imperial Silver Collection, the Ancient Music Institute, Spanish Riding School, Museum of Fine Arts, Collection of arms and Armour, the National Library in the Grand Hall, the Imperial Chapel, the Treasury, a Papyrus Museum and the Butterfly and Palm House.
We took a ticket to enter the place it had two parts one the SISI museum where photographs were allowed ,the second part was the imperial collections where no photographs were allowed  .
SISI or queen Elsabeth the empress of Austria definitely requires a seperate museum for her tale is so poingnant and magnificient .

SISI is so famous that books have been written and movies taken 

The Hapsburg dynasty ruled Austria for around two hundred years and during this time Austria became known as a center of artistic living , fashion ,architecture  and science too .
it was the hub of culture music and art in Europe in those bohemian days
Vienna had the likes of Sigmund Freud , Mozart ,Beethoven later Lenin Stalin Tito Trotsky and Hitler rubbing shoulders literally ,they may have been were  in its coffee bars probably espousing their beliefs
it was a fountain head of culture itself .
this can be seen in the medieval buildings in the historical area of the city .
Huge crowds of tourists throng the roads of this area ,and the towering Gothic cathedrals ,fairy tale castles with tall spires ,up market branded shops vying for space in midst of sculpted art and fountains .

We went into the SISI museum ,with ear plugs which gave recorded audio information by designated numbers of exhibits we came to know of a young playful adventurous girl related to the royal family living with her family n Bavaria who later goes to become the Empress of Austria itself by marrying the king Franz Joseph who was smitten by her charms .
Sisis tastes were exquisite and her passion for horse riding acrobatics and sports made her make lot of changes to the palace ,her dresses were the talk of the town and considered as the height of fashion ,she was a social butterfly at center of things with her charisma but she also felt she was ina gilded cage in the palace she longed for her more carefree childhood .
she bore children grew into middle age her husband the king was mostly busy though he loved his wife ,she would go to other places dressed as a countess to hide her identity and it was once during one  such a trip an anarchist who was anti royals murdered her .
Sisi was written on and more than three films have been taken on her life .

Then we moved in to the imperial palace and its kitchen vessels ,decorated table and sanitary ware ,weapons jewelry furniture al these were grand and splendid 
after coming out of the Hofburg palace  






Vienna is still called as the city of music ,city of dreams after freauds famous psychoanalytic theories ,there was a sigmund freud museum which we missed it needed a good week to touch al places .
we bought a ticket to enter the Hapsburg palace
It was in  two parts the first part was called SISSI Museum and second one was the imperial palace itself

The Sissi museum was wholly dedicated to Elisabeht sissy the wife of Franz Joseph emperor of Austria in short sissi was the famous Empress of Austria
she was a legendary beauty and was known for impeccable tastes her life was followed by many and she was an yesteryear princess Diana
her unfortunate death too was discussed for long and two movies had been taken on her so far ,
Iam writing a seperate post only dedicated to Sisi after this as she requires nothing less .

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