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Experts Talk
Mahendra Bhandari
Professor of Urology, Director Clinical Research,
Henry Ford Hospital,
Detroit, USA
DoctorNDTV: What, according to you, are the attributes of a good doctor?
Mahendra Bhandari: Besides extraordinary technical skills, a doctor has to be a great human being.  Society holds him in high esteem and has high expectation of him. His patients look at him as the only hope at the peak of their pain and misery. They need empathy and confidence more than the treatment. A doctor has no option then to nurture high moral and ethical values. Our professional gains are intangible. We gain more  in terms of societal respect, lifetime pleasure of a  grateful patient. It is unparalleled  to any materialistic gains.
DoctorNDTV: What is your opinion about medical training in India? Why are we not able to retain talent?
Mahendra Bhandari:

Our quality of medical education needs to be geared to produce  quality doctors shifting focus from more doctors. We need to train our students with high quality of medical education. In addition to imparting domain specific knowledge we need to train them conserve and build  compassion for their patients. Stress be laid on introducing dynamic nature of the profession and they need to keep learning for the rest of their lives to give best to their patients. To achieve all this we need to build medical institutions rather than use them, we need to invest in developing passionate teachers who are the backbone of medical education. We need to deal ruthlessly with the institutions run with pure business motives.

Brain drain, contrary to the consensus I would let it be the way it is till we in India are able to create a reverse gradient when the non resident medical professionals would crave to return back home. Since it is already happening in Information Technology sector, one day it is bound to happen in the Medical and Health care center.

DoctorNDTV: Do you think health information websites are useful? What are your views about DoctorNDTV?
Mahendra Bhandari:

Health information websites and portals are necessary to keep us connected with the rest of the world. Doctor NDTV.com is perhaps to first health care portal of India I had known. My long association with it is a learning experience. It has played a significant role in answering simple questions about their health. Dr. Nundy must analyze the large volume of data with the portal and provide valuable feedback to develop insights about  health care services in India. One observation I make, our doctors need to be more communicative with their patients and should budget for sufficient time to answer their naive questions about their disease.

DoctorNDTV: Why did you choose your present job?
Mahendra Bhandari: Having served different premier medical institutions of India in different capacities for 35 years, I was curious to work in United States environment specifically to study education system which enjoys a global recognition.
DoctorNDTV: Could you describe your typical working day.
Mahendra Bhandari: I am working as the Director of Research  at the Vattikuti Urology Institute, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, a birthplace for the Robotic Surgery in Urology pioneered by Dr. Mani Menon. My work schedule is from 7.30 a.m  to 6p.m for 5 days a week. I supervise Clinical Research  and involve in academic mentoring of the  residents and fellows. I also manage a large data base of the 4,500 patients operated for robotic surgery in Urology and publish outcomes and recommend changes in the clinical pathway. I supervise innovation of new robotic urological surgical procedures. After successful introduction of robotic radical prostatectomy and radical cystectomy ,In 2007-2008  we developed techniques for robotic partial nephrectomy and pediatric urologic procedures. 80% of the surgery done in urology at our institute is done with the assistance of da Vinci Robot. Currently I am also pursuing my MBA at the Ross School of Business,University of Michigan. We moved to Detroit in May 2006 and I had the good fortune of completing graduate course in Bio-Statistics at the Harvard Extension school, Harvard.I am truly pursuing my second career goals.I am  enjoying my experience as a student in high profile universities of U.S and building a vision on what different I would do if I have a next birth and again grow as a medical teacher in indian medical institutions.
DoctorNDTV: Does the Indian health care system have any problems? If yes, how would you tackle these?
Mahendra Bhandari: We need to give a fresh look to our health care infrastructure with the vision of  a common low or no  income group villager, I assure you we will take no time to understand the ills of the current system. Currently, the system has a top down approach  and most of the decisions are based on what the regulatory bodies and the governments think and are not what is actually needed. We need to bridge this disconnect between our policies and the true grass root needs. Our health care system is growing from strength to strength for the rich but is getting weaker and weaker for the needy and helpless.
DoctorNDTV: Is there anything you think must be done for better health for all?
Mahendra Bhandari: It should be a societal responsibility rather than the current scenario of contracting it to the governments.
DoctorNDTV: What would you have been if not a doctor?
Mahendra Bhandari:

A teacher.

DoctorNDTV: Who is the person you admire the most or are most influenced by?
Mahendra Bhandari: Professors H.S Bhat , former Chairman of Urology at CMC, Vellore and K.C Gangwal , former Chairman of Urology at S.M.S Medical College, Jaipur. They were my true mentors who not only taught me good urology but also introduced me to the human face of medicine.
DoctorNDTV: What has been the professional achievement that has made you most proud?
Mahendra Bhandari: That is a matter of history we should not be wasting our time discussing past. My cherished desire is to make a difference in the quality of health care and medical education in India.
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