Renowned retina-surgeon Prof. Dr S Natarajan has conducted over 40 surgeries of Kashmir's pellet victims at general specialty SMHS hospital.Leading a three-member team of eye-specialists, Prof. Dr S Natarajan, who is a Chairman & Managing Director of Aditya Jyot Eye Hospital Mumbai and arrived in Kashmir on July 26.He received a message in the ophthalmology forum that there is an urgent need for vitreo retina specialists in Kashmir to tackle the large number of people affected by pellet injury to the eye.
A Dr from Sangli requested Prof. Dr. S. Natarajan to arrange for VR surgeons, at that time he was in Patna addressing doctors there on recent advances in treatment for Age related Macular degeneration. Our team spoke to the NGO Borderless world foundation which had placed the request to understand the needs & understand magnitude of the problem. In turn they connected us to Dr Tariq from Sher-E- Kashmir Institute of Medical sciences who gave us to understand that they had 110 people with eye injury due to pellets. They had managed to do primary repair to restore anatomy. They wanted experienced & skilled Vitreo-retina specialists who could remove pellets lodged inside the eye & repair the retina
Prof. Dr. S.Natarajan who volunteered himself & also asked to arrange a team. We spoke to fellows trained by Prof. Dr S Natarajan in Vitreo retina requesting volunteers. Everyone was apprehensive of the situation as news was that curfew was on & there were demonstrations on streets & things were not safe. The entire night on sunday 24th was spent agonising on whether to go or not Prof. Dr S. Natarajan as President Ocular Trauma society of India was keen to take the lead & help the people suffering, we managed to get confirmation from Dr Asghar Sayyed from Chennai & Dr Kenshuk Marwah from Delhi for the proposed team to Sher-E-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences.
Much against the advise of close friends & family Prof. Dr S Natarajan decided to go to Srinagar with his team to try salvage vision of the people affected. He is also the Indian representative of the International Society for Ocular Trauma and wanted to set an example that others would emulate as the need for skilled services is high. He cancelled his trip to Bali for The APACRS conference & went to Srinagar on Tuesday26th On the same day he performed 9 complicated VR surgeries of which 3 had pellets lodged behind the eye. He operated till 8 pm & the next day he began with post op rounds at 8.30 am and surgeries thereafter. He performed 14 surgeries on 27th which included 1 pt with multiple pellet injuries including 1 near the heart The patient had been on ventilator and Dr Natarajan carried out a very tough retinal repair under Local anesthesia.
The Drs in SKIMS were surprised at his zeal & he was asked what motivates him, Dr Natarajan said that he only had compassion in his heart & all he wanted to do was help people see, irrespective of caste or religion. Many reporters tried to barge in to the OT & question him on the status of the injuries and the human rights violations. But Dr Natarajan insists that his specialty is to help people see and not on the use of various means of crowd containment which is the job of the police. On 28th he has set himself a target of 20 surgeries and he has completed 14 at 6 pm. He wants to help as many people as possible before he leaves.
On Friday, another team of surgeons from Maharashtra will replace the team led by Dr. Natarajan. Dr. Gaurav Paranjpe who is one of the surgeons in the second team of retinal surgeons volunteering at SMHS Hospital said that the outside surgeons were 'sharing the burden'.