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OpinionsLadakh’s First Female Surgeon Dr. Padma Deskit is saving lives in Border...

Ladakh’s First Female Surgeon Dr. Padma Deskit is saving lives in Border Areas


She has the unique distinction of conducting difficult operations on soldiers

By Harihar Swarup

Padma Deskit, 's first female surgeon, wanted to be a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, but her hopes were dashed after his father was diagnosed with cancer. As the eldest child Deskit prioritised family and returned to Ladakh.

Deskit completed her MBBS from Lady Harding Medical college in Delhi and her post graduation in surgery from Medical College. After giving up hopes about the coveted fellowship, she served as general surgeon in Jammu and department, stationed at hospital near Siachin in Nubra. While serving there she found out about stark shortage in specialist and equipment in Ladakh, leading to frequent patient referrals to hospitals elsewhere.

In 2016, a young soldier from Ladakh, Scouts regiment of the army, arrived at the hospital with subdural haematoma, a severe head injury. Initial condition worsened, and an emergency surgery was the only option. Drawing from her neurosurgical experience in surgery in Jammu, Deskit conducted a breakthrough surgery under challenging conditions, marking a turning point in her career and the medical history of Ladakh, where harsh climate, tough terrain and poor health care facilities often lead to tragic outcomes for patients.

Recalling the case of the young soldier, Deskit said he was just 20, and surgery was only hope. Initially, she wrested with the decision to operate as she felt nervous about the outcome. Then she reached out to a siwas in her hands. “Ultimately, I proceeded with the operation as the final recourse”, she said.

After a taxing four-hour surgery at the Army hospital, the soldier was shifted to intensive care. Morning arrived with a glimmer of hope as there were signs of relief of recovery. As Diskit returned to check on her patient, she saw him smiling. “ I was overwhelmed. As tears welled up, I felt an immense sense of relief”, she said. A few days later, the patient was transferred to that development spurred Deskit to handle more such challenging cases, including one of the acute subdural haematoma in a Nepali labourer. Despite being put on a ventilator for ten days and going through all possible complications, he survived.

Deskit's timely intervention also saved the life of a Tehsildar, who had slipped into coma caused by diabetes while he was on election duty. He was lying in his room for two days where someone found him unconscious. “We went to the army hospital and brought him in an ambulance and revived him after surgery,” she says.

The satisfaction of helping the needy is great, says Deskit. “This summer, we performed surgery on a patient and successfully removed an ovarian tumour that weighted 3.5 kg. The patient was from Turtuk near the line of control, she said. “We also operated on patients in early stages of cancer, striving relentlessly to save lives”.

(IPA Service)




The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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