Padma Shri Dr Dasari Prasad Rao shares his journey from AIIMs to NIMS

Padma Shri awardee Dr Dasari Prasad Rao shares his life’s journey with NewsMeter.

By Sulogna Mehta  Published on  8 March 2023 10:30 AM GMT
Dr. Dasari Prasad Rao

Cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr. Dasari Prasad Rao

Hyderabad: Padma Shri awardee cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr. Dasari Prasad Rao was recently conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Indian Association of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeons (IACTS).

Dr. Prasada Rao, former director of the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) and chairman of Nano Hospitals Pvt. Ltd., is acknowledged for his high standard of proficiency in performing coronary bypass surgeries, heart valve surgeries, and other heart operations. Apart from helping in the development and expansion of NIMS, as the founder-director of the Care Group of Hospitals, Mediciti Hospital, he contributed significantly to their transformation into Centres of Excellence. He is currently serving as the chief cardiac surgeon at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Hyderabad. The renowned doctor from Hyderabad shares his life’s journey with NewsMeter.

Please tell us about your early days as a medico.

After my MBBS and MS, I took up cardiothoracic superspecialty in the 1980s when there was a limited number of seats for this subject and very few centres where it was conducted. Cardiothoracic superspecialty entails the knowledge of the heart, lungs, and vascular organs or blood vessels. There was a single seat at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. I passed the written test, interview and secured that seat. After completing the superspecialty course in AIIMS, I went to New Zealand and England for pursuing cardiac surgery techniques. After coming back from abroad, I joined NIMS, Hyderabad as a faculty member in the mid-1980s.

How has the cardiothoracic superspecialty evolved in India now? What about knowledge upgradation for practicing doctors?

Now, there are many more centres both in the government and private sectors and the number of cardiothoracic surgeons has also increased considerably. Robotic, endoscopic, and keyhole surgeries are taking place with new advances in equipment and technology. As for training of doctors, knowledge upgradation is a lifelong process for both junior and senior doctors. The continuous medical education (CME) programme, conducted as conferences, workshops, or seminars, enable doctors to stay updated about the new developments and research in their respective field of specialty and implement the same for patient care.

During your tenure as director of NIMS, you have been instrumental in initiating various visionary measures and upgrading the healthcare institute. You have also played a key role in the development of NIMS Bibinagar campus, which is now shaping up as AIIMS. Please tell us about your long association with NIMS.

I was the director between 2004 and 2010 at NIMS. I tried my best to ensure advanced medical care at an affordable cost for the public and therefore worked towards the betterment of not only the cardiothoracic department but also the institute as a whole. I must say, all the governments supported our endeavours to make NIMS one of the top healthcare facilities in the country. Therefore, we could equip the institute with advanced facilities, construct a new building, set up state-of-art medical facilities like accident and emergency trauma care centre, etc.

As for the NIMS University campus at Bibinagar, it was inaugurated by the then chief minister the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy in 2009. There was some dispute regarding the 200-acre land, which ultimately, we could procure as we won the court case and the health facility for public welfare became a reality. Later, the Central government took it up under the Prime Minister Swastha Suraksha Yojana scheme and currently, it is being developed and upgraded as AIIMS.

Dr. Dasari Prasad Rao was recently conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award IACTS.

How do you spend your leisure time?

I have a group of friends from different walks of life, who are interested in the development of society. We discuss various issues faced by society and wherever possible, try to do social service, including conducting medical camps in Telangana once or twice a month.

What are some of the notable awards and recognitions you have received in your career spanning over four decades?

In 2001, I received Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award for contribution to advanced medical care. Years ago, I got the AIIMS alumni Award. In 2020, I was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cardiology Society of Telangana and now the Lifetime Achievement Award from IACTS.

Why do you think heart diseases have gone up these days?

Non-communicable diseases like heart ailments have definitely gone up as a result of multiple factors. These include lifestyle changes such as faulty diet, smoking, lack of physical activities, hypertension, pollution and environmental factors, post-pandemic complications and so on.

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