Dr. Suresh Vasistha is the President Elect of the Prestigious Association of Surgeons of India and the Organizing Chairman of ASICON 2015, the biggest gathering of surgeons in the country. He spared some precious time from his busy schedule and spoke to Curofy regarding the upcoming ASICON 2015.
Curofy: How would Gurgaon benefit from ASICON 2015?

SV: ASICON 2015 is the National conference of the Association of surgeons of India, which has a strength of about 20,000 members. In this conference about 7 to 8 thousand surgeons are expected to collect and share their experiences, their innovations and their solutions. For the first time this conference is being held in Haryana after 75 years of ASICON and after 50 years of the birth of Haryana. The theme selected for this event is “Safe Surgery”. The overall focus will be on safety with excellence.

This conference will also have 8 live surgical workshops, in which tricky surgical procedures will be performed by stalwarts and transmitted live from different centres of excellence across the country. There will be two way communication between the surgical team and the delegates. We have also installed Surgical Gurukuls during the conference. Here the delegates will be able to practice skills on dummys & simulators. This will give an opportunity to the surgeons of Gurgaon to update their knowledge & skills during these 4 days, in their home town. The knowledge & skills so gained will be applied by them on their patients subsequently for the overall benefit of the society.

Curofy: What vision do you have for the ASI when you take up the post next year?

SV: ASI is a wonderful association of surgeons. It is already doing a very good job. I have many plans to take ASI to even greater heights. Some of my priority areas would be helping members to deal with Hospital violence and Medicolegal issues, the new regulatory laws, streamlining documentation, Hospital associated infections, occupational hazards, social security of members, tele-consultations, end of life care, to name a few. I will also see how we can have better rapport not only with the general public but also with the media, Govt authorities, peoples’ representatives & NGOs.

Curofy: Is there any surgeon deficit in India; how big is it? And what implications is it having on Indian healthcare?

SV: Yes, there is a deficit of surgeons as well as teachers esp in the Government sector and in the rural areas & remote areas. I wish to interact with the Government (Center & States) to workout a plan to establish a partnership with ASI so that we can (on rotational basis) provide surgeons not only for professional services in rural areas & remote areas (using the Government infrastructure) but also provide senior members for teaching in Medical Colleges (as guest faculty)
Curofy: What are the key issues and challenges faced by the Indian surgeons and how do you think you can resolve them?

SV: The main challenges faced by the Indian surgeons is the growing instances of Hospital violence, litigations and the uncalled for regulatory controls on healthcare establishments. The apathy of the society in general and the authorities & media in particular, towards the difficulties of the surgeons also bothers us. I will strive to use my skills to ensure that the gaps are adequately bridged.

Curofy: Can you name some medicolegal issues faced by your fraternity as of now; how do you want to handle them?

SV: We are not against grievance redressal mechanisms against doctors / hospitals. However, the prejudices in the CPA encourage frivolous litigations and there is hardly any penalty for the frivolous litigant. Secondly, the courts do not hesitate in awarding compensation in crores, sometimes even when the deficiency alleged is minor or doubtful. Then the Hospital violence – both in Govt hospitals & private hospitals is very distressing. The Clinical Establishments Act is very disturbing esp for the small private hospitals

Curofy: There have been many technological advancements in the field of surgery internationally; do you feel Indian surgeons are making optimal use of the same.

SV: Oh Yes. Indian surgeons are nowadays among the best in the world. Minimally Invasive Surgery, Robotic surgery, Transplant surgery, Joint replacement surgery, Bariatric surgery are the fields where Indian Surgeons are the leaders not only in terms of numbers but also in terms of quality and cost. The growing Medical Tourism industry thrives largely on the surgeons for their excellent surgery, excellent infrastructure and excellent outcomes but at a fraction of the costs
Meet the Expert features one doctor at a time who has excelled in his field of work, done something different, been an innovator in healthcare or simply turned partly or wholly non-medical for the greater benefit of the society.

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