“I would always wish to make a positive difference to all lives”

The young doctor speaks about his journey on becoming a neurologist and conducting a non-invasive brain surgery on a six-year-old boy, along with his team

In a unique non invasive brain surgery, one of the first of its kind in Goa, medical professionals at the Healthway Hospital, managed to revive the fading eyesight of a six-year-old boy, who had suffered from a sudden onset of paralysis of his left eye muscles, which had made it unable for him to open and move his eye and affected his vision.

MRI of the brain had revealed an abnormal outpouching (aneurysm) in his left internal carotid artery with bleeding in the brain behind his left eye, as well as swelling of the eye muscles and pressure on the optic nerve.

Open neurosurgical clipping on the outpouching was nearly impossible, due to its dangerous location and risk of rupture and infection. Hence Endovascular coiling was done for him and platinum coils were used to pack the outpouching (aneurysm) and hence the risk of re-bleeding was taken care of.

This was amongst the first paediatric neuro-interventions done in Goa, by Dr. Sanat Bhatkar, interventional neurologist, who led the team which conducted the endovascular procedure.

Dr Sanat is the first interventional neurologist in the State, having graduated from the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, arguably the best institute in the country alongside AIIMS, Delhi.

Having completed his schooling from Sharada Mandir School, Miramar; Sanat has always been a quiet and compassionate person who loves to help out people in need. “Probably that sub-consciously made me lean towards the medical field though my liking for both mathematics and biology were equal. But then, the main reason even now, was that I wanted to always make my family proud.”

Dr Sanat then went on to do his MBBS from Goa Medical College and chose Internal Medicine as his specialisation. However, he didn’t get a seat in Goa and had to drop a year and take up coaching in Delhi for the All India Post Graduate medical entrance exam. The risk paid off and he got an internal medicine seat in Government Medical College, Surat. He then went on to do his super specialization (DM) in Neurology from PGIMER, Chandigarh. He trained there for 3 years under stalwarts like Professor Prabhkar and Professor Lal, which helped him polish his skills and further enhance his patience and love for neurology.

“I still remember just after my DM practical exam, my examiner asked me which institute would you like to join post DM and I told him I just want to go back to my homeland Goa to serve my people. It may sound clichéd but that has always been the case.”

Dr. Sanat then came back to Goa where he worked as an Assistant professor in Neurology at GMC for two and a half years. But the hunger to learn more and make a bigger difference to society persisted; which made him leave his job and pursue a 2 year post doctoral fellowship in Interventional Neurology at King Edward Memorial Hospital, Pune under Dr Anand Alurkar, a pioneer of the same in India along with Professor Anil Karapurkar (coincidentally a Goan).

Dr. Sanat then goes on to elaborate about the recent procedure undertaken by him on the 6 year old boy. “The coiling done for the 6 yr old boy at Healthway was one of the first pediatric neurointerventions done in Goa. These include diagnostic brain and spine angiographies; interventions in paralytic brain stroke like removal, neck and brain vessel stenting; as well as those in brain hemorrhage like coiling, flow diversion and embolization. These are minimally invasive procedures done in the cath lab via femoral artery approach and have advantages of minimal blood loss, lesser risk and minimal procedure related morbidities and most importantly, miraculous results. The only related disadvantage is the higher costs for the complex imported hardware since most of them aren’t currently covered under the government insurance schemes (DDSSY).”

Other members of the Healthway Hospital team, which conducted the unique procedure also comprised of Dr. Sumant Prabhudessai (paediatrician) and Dr. (Mrs) Bharati Sawant (anaesthetist) and the Cath lab team.

Dr. Sanat goes on to add that the boy was discharged in a couple of days, with complete improvement in vision, partial opening of the left eye and some improvement in eye movements; and is expected to completely improve in the next 8-12 weeks.

The most challenging thing in his profession, Dr Sanat says is the lack of public awareness. “The main challenge I feel here is the lack of public awareness about many neurological conditions and of the recent treatment modalities available for Stroke (paralysis) and other neurovascular abnormalities. But Goa being a small and educated State with a progressive government, things should fall in place over the coming years.”

Dr Sanat speaks on the plans that keep him excited. “The kick of bringing something advanced and necessary to your own people along with teaching something new to earnest doctors is what keeps me going.” He hopes to be able to do such procedures regularly in private and government establishments over the next few years and helping streamline these procedures in Goa will be the most satisfying thing for him.

Dr Sanat has always been a family person to the core and his entire family has been extremely supportive of every step taken in his career. “I owe everything to my grandparents, parents, brother, my wife and most importantly to the Almighty who has been my guide, my motivator and my backbone at every moment of my life”

With regards to his future plans, Dr Sanat says, “I would always wish to make a positive difference to all the lives that I touch professionally and personally”

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