The #10YearChallenge- the latest rage on social media has an absolutely unexpected participant in Dr Manmohan Singh who completes his ten-year journey post a successful heart surgery, on January 24, 2019.
Dr Singh, the then Prime Minister was 76 years old when he was operated by a team of doctors led by renowned cardiovascular thoracic surgeon and vice chairman of Asian Heart Institute Dr Ramakanta Panda for a redo cardiac bypass surgery in January 2009.
Five bypasses were performed. Before this, he had already undergone a bypass surgery in 1990 and a stenting procedure in 2004 before.
Dr Panda who is known for successfully performing extremely challenging heart surgeries; has performed over 24000 heart surgeries, 20% of which were regarded inoperable. He has a stellar reputation for achieving stellar results when it comes to the redo bypass procedures.
Reminiscing the day Dr Singh was operated, Dr Panda says, “At the time of his procedure, Dr Singh appeared extremely calm. He told me that he has full faith in me as a surgeon.”
Dr Panda also believes that Dr Singh is one of his most ideal patients. “In the last 10 years, Dr Singh has strictly pursued his health regime and cardiac follow-ups. He is a very good patient,” he adds.
Some of the other famous personalities that Dr Panda has operated in the past include political bigwig Laloo Prasad Yadav, ex-Assam CM Tarun Gogoi, Rajya Sabha member D Raja and countless family members of industrialists, parliamentarians and actors.
Ask Dr Panda about the 10-year challenge and how he feels about Dr Singh completing a decade of having a healthy heart. “I feel happy and assured as his treating doctor.”
“If social media is able to set a real precedent for a healthier lifestyle then we should have such challenges more often. Such contests also allow us to look back on the complicated procedures we have effectively completed without any relapse,” says Dr Panda on a lighter note.
Interestingly, Dr Manmohan Singh is not the only executive head of state to have undergone a critical surgery while in office. Ronald Reagan is supposed to have undergone several procedures for cancer; while in office.
However, his wife, Nancy, insisted that the word "cancer" not be used in any official statement or release. In 2004, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair was treated for a heart condition called supra-ventricular tachycardia; and that too was underplayed. Dr Manmohan Singh was obviously far more open about his heart surgery.