Sunset Surgery for Good Life
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18 July 2011
By Durgesh Nandan Jha
New Delhi, India
Now, Even Patients In 80s And 90s Can Be Operated Upon
They are old but still hale and hearty. People who are in their 80s and 90s are gravitating towards difficult surgical procedures that hold out the promise of a quality life. Among the most commonly performed procedures are hip and knee replacement surgeries, aortic valve replacement and bypass surgeries.
“I’m still young at heart. I enjoy my morning walks and read a lot. It’s been over 32 years since I retired from the post of the head of the humanities department at Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) but I still have an active routine,” says J R Verma, who is 91 years old and has undergone knee surgery twice. He underwent total knee replacement at the age of 70 in 1999 and again underwent a surgery four months ago after a sudden fall.
Verma had come to attend the Grandparent’s Day celebrations organized by Medanta Medicity Hospital in the capital on Sunday. There were at least 50 other patients — in their 80s and 90s — who had undergone late life surgery.
“Surgery has changed my life for the better. My liver had stopped working and I could not eat properly or do anything before I underwent a liver transplant about a year ago. Now, I can work and even have a good social life,” said N N Mehra (78), who is the acting chairman and managing director of a Mumbai-based private firm. He is the oldest patient to have undergone a liver transplant in India.
Dr Naresh Trehan, chairman and MD of Medanta Medicity, said: “With advances in medical science, it has become possible to successfully operate upon older people. Simple steps like regular health check-ups and surgical intervention can improve the quality of life.”
Dr A K Bisoi, professor, cardiac surgery at AIIMS, added: “We recently operated upon a 99-year-old patient who had a coronary artery disease. Many people in their 80s are undergoing openheart surgery. No person should be denied treatment because of their age. They should be encouraged to seek better care and treatment.”
Dr Raju Vaishya, senior consultant, orthopaedics, at Apollo Hospital, said he recently operated upon a 94-year-old man, S N Bhatt, for bilateral knee replacement with artificial prosthesis.
Experts say advances in medical science, coupled with a rapidly aging population, makes late-life surgeries the need of the hour.