“Surgery overall is a very interesting field. It’s my passion. Whether you do open surgery, Laparoscopy or Robotic surgery, the basic principles of surgery remain the same and need to be followed strictly to achieve good outcomes for patients,” are the views of a renowned Surgical Gastroenterologist, Dr. Deepak Govil, who has over 30 years of experience as a Surgeon, he is currently working with Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
Dr. Deepak was fascinated since childhood to see the prefix ‘Dr.’ before his name. Speaking of his motivation to become a doctor he says, “Also this being one of the most respected professions has always impressed me. Coming from a simple family, my parents wanted me to become a Doctor.”
His parents never let the limited resources stand in the way of providing him the highest of education and made lot of sacrifices for his education. “I sincerely wanted to fulfill their dreams and worked very hard to get into medicine.” he says.
Dr. Deepak’s elder sister was admitted to MBBS at the Lady Harding Medical College, which along with his parent’s motivation was the driving force and a strong factor in his becoming a Doctor. Reminiscing old memories he asserts, “I can never forget the expression of happiness and satisfaction on my mother’s face when I got the selection letter from AIIMS for MBBS entrance.”
Inspiring Journey of Dr. Deeepak Govil
His journey as a medical student began with getting admission into AIIMS. Here he completed his MBBS, “It was a great experience” he says. Working alongside some of the greatest surgeons of that time Dr. Deepak thoroughly enjoyed his training at the AIIMS. Speaking of his memories he asserts, “I was always impressed by the great Surgeons at the AIIMS, namely Prof. Atam Prakash, Prof. I.K. Dhawan, Prof. BML Kapur and Prof. S. Nundy.”
He has a strong belief that surgery is all about learning and nurturing skills to remove the disease and ailments of a person, and not mere prescription of medication. He says the compliments and blessing of the patients are his most treasured ‘assets’.
Earning the prestige of being an expert in GI surgery didn’t come easy, many years of hard work went into developing this skill, “I was fortunate to work in the unit mainly concentrating on GI Surgery during my MS (Surgery). There I learnt the value of discipline and hard work in Surgery. There were 2-3 days continuously when we were in the OT on 8th floor at AIIMS and used to watch Delhi from the glasses of that floor and worked just on and on.” here he was exposed to all major surgical procedures.
Then he moved on to join Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, where he learnt the importance of simple surgical procedures. “I learnt from Dr. KN Shriwastav that no procedure is a minor procedure. One should not take any procedure lightly and do every procedure with same patience and meticulous technique.” Within few years Dr. Deepak decided to move further.
Around this time he got married and speaking of his wife, he asserts, “I am very grateful to my wife, who sacrificed her career for me to progress and fulfill my ambitions. She looked after the kids and family and kept me carefree from this aspect.”
Dr. Deeepak joined PhD in GI Surgery at the Department of GI Surgery, AIIMS under the guidance of Prof Samiran Nundy after taking study leave. He also worked for almost a year without any honorarium or pay during this course. “I owe everything I have to my Alma mata. It is one of the finest training I have ever had in the Department he added.
After completing his PhD in GI Surgery, he then joined GTB Hospital as Assistant Professor in Surgery. Fortunately, he got a break to become a consultant GI Surgeon at the PSRI Hospital of liver and digestive diseases. Here he started the Department of GI Surgery under the guidance of the then Director Prof B.N. Tandon.
Then he went on to work at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals at New Delhi in 2004. Dr. Deepak’s academic interests led him to start DNB in GI Surgery at this hospital in 2011. He was able to do this with all support from the Apollo Hospitals management in spite of lot of obstacles at every stage. “Since then, we have been having a good teaching program and have been able to develop our Department as one of the best private GI Surgical unit in the city and country at large,” he says. The department has been performing all major GI Surgical procedures and advanced laparoscopic procedures, apart from academics. In 2012 the hospital also acquired the Robotic surgery instruments and his team has performed many critical Robotic GI Surgeries since then.
Experience as a Professor
Teaching has always been his passion, he says, “I feel I have learnt a lot from my students. As a doctor, you feel good when your patient gets better and is discharged to go home. Similarly, a teacher is always happy when his student passes and performs well.” He shared one of the moments of pride and joy that almost wet his eyes when one of his students recently got a Gold medal in the presentation competition at a national level conference. He has also been a visiting professor in the Mayo clinic, USA.
The Awards and Publications
He has received the President’s appreciation award from the IMA, and additionally he has been felicitated at various forums. He has also received felicitations at the Apollo hospitals for patient care. “But I sincerely feel that my patients and their testimonials are the best awards for me,” he continues. He has written various papers which have been published in recognized national and international journals. Apart from these Dr. Deepak has various chapters in different books, to his name. His main areas of interest for publications and presentations have been related to pancreatic surgery and robotic GI surgery, especially colorectal surgery. He has also treated some rare and difficult cases successfully, which have been published
After seeing some young patients with colorectal cancer who came very late to him and also the rising incidence of this disease in our country, he felt the need and started a colorectal cancer research foundation. Through which he keeps holding free GI and colorectal cancer awareness programs, camps and public lectures. “This is a cancer which can be almost prevented with good diet and lifestyle and cured almost completely if detected and treated in time” he said.
His Piece of Advice to Medical Students
“Hard work has no substitute- I think this applies to surgery more than anything else. I can remember that during my PhD there were days together when I did not come back home. My children used to behave so differently when I was home. I think it is the sacrifices of my family along with hard work and passion for surgery which has made me come so far,” asserts Dr. Deepak. “For Students I will say that try to identify areas which interest you most and then focus on the same areas and keep improvising and auditing your work. Always keep thinking ahead and keep pushing your boundaries while doing surgery. Also important is to develop a good and dedicated team and take them along for good patient care,” Dr. Deepak concludes.