On a journey back to the roots, three neurosurgeons, based in London, Toronto and New York, have joined forces to set up a “world-class” neurological institute in the city they grew up in.
Robin Sengupta, 65, currently head consultant neurosurgeon at Newcastle General Hospital, UK, and the driving force behind a Rs 20-crore Calcutta project, said the 150-bed Centre for Neurological Sciences (CNS) would go on stream at the intersection of Park Street and A.J.C. Bose Road by early 2005.
The other two members of the trinity are Prof. Chandranath Sen from Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, and Prof Abhijit Guha from University Hospital,Toronto, whom Sengupta had met at a conference at San Diego a few years ago and persuaded to work together on the neuro facility in eastern India.
The proposed CNS will be under the aegis of the Neurosciences Foundation Limited, which has as chief patron the Duchess of Northumberland. Once the CNS goes on stream, its forerunner, National Neuroscience Centre, an early Sengupta initiative, will become a branch of the upcoming centre.
The trinity moved close to realising its dream about two weeks ago when chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee offered a 40-cottah plot for the proposed hospital, as well as a 15-acre site in Kalyani for setting up a neurological studies university.
“We decided to lend a helping hand because we need more people like them to cause a qualitative change in healthcare in Bengal,” said health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, who was present, along with finance minister Asim Dasgupta, at Bhattacharjee’s meeting with Sengupta.
The new hospital will treat, among other things, Parkinson’s disease; strokes and degenerative bone diseases; head injuries; brain tumours; brain haemorrhage; and spinal conditions.
Sengupta, who has been voted neurologist of the millennium by the Indian Neurological Association, said the fact that incidence of neurological disorders was highest in Bengal had prompted him to work towards developing the neuro centre.
“Whenever I have travelled to various parts of India, I have invariably found the bulk of the patients hail from Bengal. I have been fighting for this project for the past 20 years and I am happy that I will be able to give back something to my state,” said Sengupta, who was briefly in the city.
Guha, also visiting the city for a seminar, added: “It was wonderful to be able to join hands for a noble task. I will always be available, not only to treat patients but also to train doctors here.”
Apart from the state-of-the-art neuro wards, departments of neurology, neuro-surgery and endo-vascular surgery, the new hospital will have a unique out-patients’ clinic, a high-dependency unit, a round-the-clock consultation service and a helpline.