Highs in Hyderabad
This one is for fellow gastroenterologists (stomach doctors).
I have just returned from a brief visit to Hyderabad, participating in an endoscopy conference at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) hosted by its famous founder, Nagi Reddy, and his surgical partner, GV Rao.
I was privileged to join an impressive international faculty
Having experienced many excellent such meetings all over the world, I am not easily impressed, but this was very special in several ways, not least size. The new AIG hospital opened 2 years ago with 800 inpatient beds for GI patients and support services, 40 endoscopy rooms (all with propofol sedation, and soft blue lighting), 3 ESWL machines (they recently reported on treatment of 5000 patients with pancreatic stones), 3 simulation labs, countless gastroenterologists and trainees, a complex research block and a zillion smiling staff. And they have already broken ground on another building next door!
About 1500 delegates attended the meeting with more than 400 in “hands-on” training sessions. There were demonstrations of the most advanced techniques helping 53 patients, and many state of the art lectures.
Hyderabad is well known for its excellence in IT, which was well in evidence in the audiovisual bonanza. The attention to detail in the organization was extraordinary. One unique feature was that, on arrival, all of the faculty members were measured individually for scrubs, which appeared within hours.
The hospitality was also remarkable. The main dinner was held in the Taj Falaknuma palace, the prior home of the Nizam of Hyderabad who ruled the area in the first half of the 20th century. Time magazine named him the wealthiest man in the world in 1937. The marvelously decorated palace was at least as sumptuous and as big as Buckingham palace, whereby hangs a tale. Apparently the Nizam was very impressed with Queen Victoria’s large dining table when he visited England, and ordered a slightly larger one for himself.
About 80 of us sat at a table that could seat 101, with a server behind each chair. Honest. Downton Abbey on steroids.
Lest anyone leaves with the impression that Nagi Reddy is satisfied in his ivory tower, you should know that he takes mobile endoscopy units in vans to local villages to provide free procedures.
India has a great history and extraordinary diversity. It is a kaleidoscope of colors, smells, noise, charm, karma and confusion. It washes over you like a sensual tsunami. Thank you, Nagi, for allowing me to experience it again.