Army (Research & Referral) Hospital, New Delhi

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Role in the wars

The Times of India, Feb 11 2016

Army (Research & Referral) Hospital: In brief; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Feb 11 2016

Durgesh Nandan Jha

Hospital that helps men of battle fight it out  The 1,086-bed hospital was set up in 1997, when super-specialisation in medical services was just beginning to gain ground.

Recalling the hospital's role in the Kargil war, Lieu enant General B K Chopra, director general, Armed Forces Medical Services AFMS), said, “Many pa ients who suffered gunshot wounds, high-altitude injuries and burns in mine blasts were brought here.“

More than technology , it s the “mental robustness“ of staff that makes Army (R&R) hospital vital for defence casualties. “We have emergency units ready 24x7 for any disaster,“ Chopra added.

Specialised expertise is another strength. Lieutenant General Ved Chaturvedi Retired) said the hospital had a full-fledged department of rheumatology when t was still seen as an emerg ng speciality at most other centres in the country . “We came up with the idea of conducting ultrasound on joints or diagnosing arthritis in young soldiers,“ he said.

The hospital also pio neered `warm heart surgery'.This means a patient's body is not cooled down for the operation, which doctors claim helps in quicker recovery . The hospital also boasts of specialised facilities for joint replacement, a standalone cardiothoracic and vascular sciences unit, and oncology services.“Our transplant facility is among the most active ones in the country ,“ Chopra said.

President Pranab Mukherjee recently underwent angioplasty at the hospital, while former finance minister Jaswant Singh, who slipped into a coma after a fall in 2014, recovered after months of treatment here.

Lt Gen Ravi Shankar (Retired), who has served as cardiac surgeon at the hospital, said it is perhaps the only one with a functional helipad. “It is used to airlift critically-ill patients from command and field hospitals.“

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