Interview with Dr. Vinod K GROVER- IDF

Q8india.com, The well known news portal in Kuwait recently had the pleasure of having a chat with Dr. Vinod K Grover, well known face in medical fraternity among Indian diaspora in Kuwait and former president of Indian Doctor Forum, Kuwait.

Q8India: Tell us something about yourself and your family.
A: I was born in Lahore and settled in U.P. after partition.After my schooling I did my M.B.B.S.and M.S. from Kanpur-I passed M.B.B.S. with Gold Medals and was topper in M.S. examination in 1972.I have been practicing surgery since then. I married my friend Dr. Saroj Bala Grover who is also a doctor and specialist in Infectious Diseases. We have a daughter and son. My daughter, Pooja, graduated from Wharton’s School of Business Management (U. Penn.) and did M.B.A. from Kellog’s – Chicago. She is C E O, Goldman Sacs- Global Investment Firm- Hong Kong. My son Gaurav, did dual degree in Finance and Engineering from U Penn and M.B.A. from Harward School of Business Management. He is running his own investment fund of about a billion US$ in Hong Kong.
I have been uprooted three times- at partition of India in 1947, Iranian revolution in 1979 and Iraq invasion of Kuwait in 1990

Q8India: Tell us about your journey to Kuwait.
After completing my studies at Kanpur , I worked in Ram Manohar LohiaHospital ( Willingdon Hospital)-Delhi. I worked there for three years and got the opportunity to go to work in Iran. I was surgeon in- charge and director of the hospital. I used to do Orthopaedic and Gynaecological surgeries too. After the revolution in Iran, I went to Vienna (Ausria) for further training. I worked there in University Hospital for six months. Somehow socially and culturally we were not very comfortable and decided to go back to India. On our way back in 1980, we decided to stop in Kuwait as many members of my in-law families were here sinc 1948. At that time hospitals in Kuwait were much better than our government hospitals.. Big corporate hospitals were not there in India at that time .I got the job as surgeon in Jahra Hospital and since the I am working in the same hospital. My family joined me a year later and my wife got the job in Infectious Diseases Hospital. I did my F.R.C.S while working in Kuwait.
We left Kuwait after Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and were one of the few doctors to come back in early June 1991 when oil wells were still burning.

Q8India: Why did you choose this career?
A: My maternal grand father, my father and two uncles were doctors. I used to spend lot of time in my father’s clinic and loved the job he was doing. I got so much interested in medicine that I decided to become doctor. Being good in studies it was not difficult for me to get selected in many medical colleges but I preferred Kanpur

Q8India: Your professional experience: Tell us about your background as a doctor: education and experience. What are your specialties/ expertise?
A: After my post-graduation from Kanpur, I worked in Delhi in one of the most prestigious hospital for almost 3 years. I worked hard in one of the busiest hospitals in Delhi which gave me lot of experience. Being one of the V I P hospital, got the experience of treating ministers and high beurocrats. I was in charge of a unit there for 3 years. At that time general surgeon used to do pediatric surgery , urology , neurosurgery also in addition to general surgery. In Iran, I was doing orthopedic and gynaecological surgeries too in addition to general surgery. I had some training in paediatric surgery at Vienna. In Kuwait I’m doing general surgeries only. I am interested in academic activities and teaching. I am tutor for postgraduate students of surgery in Kuwait. I have published more than 30 papers in the international journals and have attended and presented papers in the international conferences. I am responsible for the academic activities of the department for more than 20 years.
I have also received the award of best surgeon in Jahra Hospital by the Governer of Jahra Region.

Q8India: What unique skills do you possess?
A: Generally, I do surgeries for the abdomen, breast, thyroid, neck, limbs, etc. but mostly it is abdominal surgeries. It used to be open surgeries earlier. In 1994-1995, me along with other two doctors started Laparoscopic surgeries ( also known as key hole surgeries).We were amongst the few early ones to do this surgery in Kuwait. Laparoscopy surgeries have changed things tremendously. Earlier abdominal surgeries needed a big cut in the abdomen. Now it can be done through 0.5cm – 1cm incisions.Although open surgeries are still done but 70% to 80% abdominal surgeries are now done laparoscopically. Main advantage of Laparoscopic surgeries are less pain, less complications, more precise , short hospital stay and cosmetically better.

Q8India: Describe your day-to-day activities, priorities and tasks.
A: My priorities are my profession and my family. When my children were studying in Kuwait, me and my wife tried to give them the best education. They studied in American School Of Kuwait and both graduated as Valedictorian and got admission in one of the best universities of USA. Inspite of spending lot of time with the children I made sure that my professional responsibilities never suffer. . I am at the hospital at 7 a.m. till 2-2:30 pm. ( stay longer if needed). Twice a week I have operations in addition to emergency operations any day any time.
In the evening, I go to a sports club for exercise or do yoga and meditation at home along with yoga guru. Having a large family in Kuwait , we are involved in social activities in the evening too.
I am voracious reader and love to read professional books and journals and books on Indian History and Politics.

Q8India: What are your plans for the future?
I plan to retire in a year or two and go back to India. We have a foundation which supports education amongst immigrant children and will be giving more time to this project. We are supporting two health camps and eye camps ( including eye surgeries)every year in the villages around Jaipur.We are supporting education of four children.
I am already in contact with some NGO’s and will work for the society as long as my health permits. I want to spend more time with my family and old friends , and visit different places of interest in India.


Q8India: What suggestion do you want to give us as a doctor?
A: Eat healthy balanced diet and exercise 5 times a week. Avoid smoking, control your weight and blood pressure.Manage your diabetes, stress and depression.

Q8India: You have served as a president of IDF, tell us something about IDF and its activities.
A:I have been active member of IDF since its foundation in 2004. My wife was vice-president for four years and after that I was vice president for two years and president for two years. There are about 500 members in IDF from different hospitals, both government and private. I had a dedicated team of office bearers. I got a lot of opportunities to interact with my IDF members and their families. I had a good interaction with them and came to know about their problems, social as well as professional. We tried our best to solve it through the Indian Embassy and Ministry of Health. Earlier postgraduate degrees of only 4 Medical Colleges were recognized then postgraduate degrees of 74 medical colleges got recognized by the hard work of previous and our committees. Now more than 150 medical colleges are recognized bt MOH for promotion to the senior posts.To look after the interest of our own doctors interest is one of the job of organization.
IDF conducts health camps , health seminars and work shops.
Our doctors are conducting seminars and lectures on health awareness and common diseases in the schools and group of people of different organization. Work shops are also done on CPR etc
Every year we conduct Inter School Health Quiz for all the Indian Schools in Kuwait which is very much appreciated by all
For the doctors and their families we have out door picnic, sports and cultural activities.

Q8India: We are keen to know your thoughts on social service and the excellent role we see IDF playing in the local fraternity.
IDF conducts health camps , health seminars and work shops. The health camps are organized with the support of various Indian Organizations who look after the logistics of the camp and we look after the clinical part.These camps are really beneficial for the under previlleged people of all the nationalities. Many of the camps have facilities for checking blood sugar, cholesterol, ECG and ultrasoundand optometrist too.The camps are conducted usually on Fridays when the people don’t have to take leave to see the doctor.The Doctors of all the speciaiities are available under one roof so the people don’t have to take appointments in the hospitals. It takes two to three weeks to get Ultrasound or blood test done in the hospital while in the camp it is donethe same time. We detect so many diseases in patients when they come for checkup. We are detecting cancers, heart failure, heart attacks etc. At one time, we transferred a patient who had a heart attack in an ambulance to Amiri hospital right from the camp.
Our doctors are also conducted seminars and lectures on health awareness and common diseases in the schools and group of people of different organization. There are certain simple things children need to know like hand hygiene, infectious diseases, health awareness, smoking, etc. Work shops are also done on CPR etc
Every year we conduct Inter School Health Quiz for all the Indian Schools in Kuwait. Health related questions are asked. It is very much appreciated by all..

Q8India: How can other organizations collaborate with IDF to bring the benefits to Indian diaspora?
A: As I said, as doctors we do not have many resources and means to mobilize the people for our health camps and seminars. So, we need the help of the Indian organizations. We have gone to the labour camps to deliver lectures on work related diseases like backache, knee pains and, varicose veins etc.Most of our social activities are not possible without these organizations and support from the school administration

Q8India: Tell us something about your experience about Kuwait as a country. What did you like most in Kuwait?
I am thankful to His Highness The Amir of Kuwait and people of Kuwait for giving me the opportunity
to serve this beautiful country and its people. My family will always remain indebted to Kuwait for giving us the means and the opportunity to give the best education to our children and live happily in this country.
The things I likethe most about Kuwait are good education system, health care at par with any other developed country , and social and cultural closeness to India.

Q8India: What message you have for students aspiring for medical field?
A: Quite often, children and students ask me which profession should I choose. My simple answer is: you will succeed if you do what you like and interests you. If you want to serve humanity, go for medical profession. Do not join this profession just because you want to have an easy life or make more money for your family. This profession needs a lot of sacrifices and hard work. You should be prepared for long study of 5 years of MBBS, 4 years’ post-graduation and more if one decides to do super specialization. A doctor is student life long. This profession needs commitment.

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