EPIDEMIC: The0000 saffron curse of ministers and MLAs getting hospitalised recently continues with the latest victim being Sudin Dhavalikar (far right). Others are (l to r) Manohar Parrikar, Francis D’souza, Carlos Almeida, and Pandurang Madkaikar
BY RAJAN NARAYAN
And a few stray thoughts for yet another Saturday. For a Saturday following the week when one more, and indeed the senior-most member of the Manohar Parrikar-led Cabinet, ended up in a Mumbai hospital. For a Saturday following the week when people are wondering if the Parrikar-led government is cursed. For a Saturday following the week when I was wondering whether the government of Goa will also pay for my treatment in a top Bombay hospital, or perhaps even sponsor my expenses at the Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York.
SUDIN IN SOUP
And a few stray thoughts on why a senior member of the Cabinet, Sudin Dhavalikar, ended up in the Breach Candy hospital in Mumbai.
There is confusion on what is wrong with Sudin Dhavalikar — just as there is still no clarity, at least officially, as to what Parrikar is suffering. The first reports claimed that a biopsy had been performed on Sudin after his admission to the hospital.
Normally a biopsy is performed to find out if a growth in any part of the body is malignant. Which in simple language means a biopsy is a test for cancer. There have been other Facebook messages claiming that Sudin Dhavalikar had suffered from organ failure. Which could mean that as in the case of Francis D Souza his kidneys have failed. Even the daily newspapers on Wednesday were not clear on what exactly had happened to him. The Times Of India reported that he underwent ‘surgery’ without specifing what kind of surgery he underwent.
The fact that he underwent some kind of ‘surgery’ has been confirmed in a signed statement posted on Facebook by Sandeep Dhavalikar who claims to be a doctor and the brother of Sudin Dhavalikar. We thought there were only two Dhavalikar brothers, namely Sudin and Deepak, the president of the MGP, who was defeated by Govind Gaude in the 2017 elections. Dr Sandeep claims that Sudin Dhavalikar is in good health, he has undergone surgery and is recovering well.
The MGP president and more notorious brother, Deepak Dhavalikar, has a different story. Deepak claims that Sudin had gone to Chennai for a routine medical checkup. During the checkup he was advised to do some tests in Mumbai. Deepak, who is not a doctor, tells us that Sudin has undergone an angiography and also had a biopsy. Which is confusing because an angiography is done to check if there are any blockages in the heart. Biopsies and angiographies are different procedures for cancer and heart blockages respectively.
One should perhaps forgive Deepak for mixing up biopsy and angiography — unlike his other brother Sandeep, he is not a doctor.
The Navhind Times which prides itself on getting it facts straight has reported that on July 9, Sudin Dhavalikar was admitted to the Breach Candy hospital and underwent an angioplasty.
If Dhavalikar has had an angioplasty, it means that when the angiography was done they must have discovered major blocks in his heart. Angioplasty is the process of introducing a small metal stent to widen the artery so that blood supply is restored.
All of which does not tie in with the ‘surgery’ mentioned by Sudin’s doctor-brother. In the case of my better three quarters, Tara, who had a 90% blockage of the main left artery at a T junction, stents could not be used. If doctors found that Sudin Dhavalikar had multiple blockages which could not be tackled by stents, they may have had to perform open heart surgery.
The confusing part remains why they did a biopsy. So far I have never heard of cancer of the heart. I know what a biopsy is because the pathology department in GMC scared me to death by claiming that I had breast cancer. It is not only women who can get breast cancer. In rare cases men can get breast cancer too.
A notable example was the writer Damodar Mouzo who indeed had breast cancer but was fortunately cured as it was in the early stages. In my case, the then Director of the Tata Cancer Hospital in Bombay dismissed the findings of the GMC pathology department that I had breast cancer.
So far, as in the case of Parrikar, the hospital itself has not put out any official report on why Sudin was admitted, and what problem he is suffering from. But I do know that the Breach Candy Hospital located in South Mumbai is among the best and most expensive hospitals in Mumbai.
Many Goans, including devout Catholics and possibly even some anti-Parrikar parish priests, insist that there is a curse on Parrikar. BJP bhakts think that somebody has done black magic.
It started with the sudden death of Matanhy Saldanha, the first Catholic MLA to stand by Manohar Parrikar when he was faced with a no-confidence motion in the Legislative Assembly. Matanhy stood by Parrikar even in the face of being called ‘Judas’ by some Catholics. Parrikar was so fond of ‘Matanhy sir’ (as he was known), who was a very respected teacher at the Don Bosco School, that he nominated his wife, Alina Saldanha, to the vacant seat and worked very hard to get her elected.
Matanhy was followed by Vishnu Wagh. Vishnu had gone to attend a function at Canacona. He had a massive heart attack but could be brought to GMC only after two hours. So the ‘golden hour’ within which the heart could be revived expired. The result was that blood supply to the brain of Vishnu Wagh was badly affected.
The heart is only a pump; it is the brain which controls the movement of every part of the body. So effectively Vishu Wagh was almost brain dead by the time he was brought to the GMC.
Vishnu was rushed to the Hinduja hospital in Mumbai where every effort was made to revive him. But there was not much success as he had already had a severe stroke. After a period of time he was shifted to the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital which offered free treatment. He showed a little improvement but is still not recovered.
To add insult to injury he was evicted from the government quarters he was occupying as chairman of the Kala Academy and the government has stopped paying for his medical treatment. His wife was not given a ticket to represent the Akshi constituency in his place unlike in the case of Matanhy Saldanha.
But the Matanhy and Vishnu Wagh cases were spread apart and over some years. The recent spate of ill health is more puzzling. The puzzle of Parrikar’s pancreatitis is of course well known. But Parrikar was not the only victim of the supposed curse on the Parrikar sarkar.
Some weeks ago Goan Observer was the first media organisation to carry a picture of the huge ‘palace’ built by Pandurang Madkaikar illegally within 50 meters of the Bom Jesus Basilica. The value of the Madkaikar palace is estimated to be over `200 crore.
Madkaikar, who is the power minister in the Parrikar Cabinet, plunged the whole of Goa into darkness on a Sunday. Next day, or the same day perhaps, having no power at his residence he went off to Mumbai for some fun and games. His critics allege that he hired a girl from some escort service and had taken some very powerful performance-enhancing drugs to maximize his pleasure. This probably had a very bad side effect and was the cause of the severe stroke that he suffered. He could have perhaps been saved if he had got medical attention in time. But his kharida hua girl friend panicked and disappeared from the hotel. It was only the several hours later, when the hotel authorities did not get any response from Madkaikar, and found the door left open, that they discovered the virtually brain dead Madkaikar.
Contrary to claims by Health Minister Vishwajit Rane, Madkaikar is still in coma.
Vasco MLA Carlos Almeida, has just recovered from serious health problems too.
Francis D’Souza is also reported to be very sick for some time now. It is alleged that he had a kidney transplant in Malaysia and is having a fresh problem because the paid-for kidney was not properly matched and has been rejected by his body. He had gone off allegedly for a 45 day medical review in Portugal in Parrikar’s absence but returned suddenly out of the fear that he may lose his kodel to Micheal Lobo.
With Sudin joining this disturbing list, everyone is wondering who’s next.
FLIRTING WITH DEATH
And a few stray thoughts on my own health problems which I will not keep a secret unlike Parrikar and Dhavalikar.
My health problems started way back in 1989. The then Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Dayanand Narvekar, who was also the president of the Goa Cricket Association, allegedly tried to molest an 18-year-old clerk in the Speaker’s chamber. He is alleged to have striped and asked her to strip, threatening that she would lose her job if she did not oblige. Narvekar was a notorious playboy who had a love nest called ‘Hot Lips’ in the Junta House building.
I launched a campaign in the Herald to force him to resign from the Speaker’s post. Simultaneously, Prashanti Talpankar, now the wife of Sandesh Prabhudesai, went on an indefinite hunger strike.
On the day before Narvekar resigned I had taken a round in a friend’s car near his official residence in Altinho. His close followers had threatened to kill me. I did not take it seriously. But the next night when I was going home late at night from work and was dropped at the Dona Paula circle, less than 50 mtrs from my residence, I was attacked by hired goons with iron rods and cycle chains. If I had not ducked my head I would have died. It was all very well planned. They had put off the transformer so that the whole place was in darkness. There were several witnesses but everyone was afraid of the goons and nobody came forward to inform the police.
The assault was compounded by the criminal stupidity of the HOD of medicine of the Goa Medical College Dr NGK Sharma. Perhaps his intentions were good, but his actions were stupid. I was in acute pain and he put me on steroids. As the pain persisted he increased the level of steroids to a massive 100 milligrams a day. Even in severe cases of respiratory problems, the maximum steroid dose prescribed is 10 milligrams.
The then Head of Neurosurgery, Dr Jindal, was called for consultation, but despite knowing that steroids could cause more damage than good, he did not want to get involved — perhaps because I was a VIP patient. As the editor of Herald if anything had happened to me his career would have been affected. So the coward did not intervene to save my life.
I recall that on a particular Monday, the late Dr Wilfred D Souza along with the then chief minister had come to visit me at the special VIP room at the GMC. When Dr Wilfred D Souza saw the case papers and the amount of steroids I was being pumped with, he was horrified. He asked me to shift to Mumbai as I would be killed in the GMC. My friend Dattaraj Salgaocar, who was also present during Dr Wilfred’s visit, immediately arranged for me to be shifted to the Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai, where his brother-in-law was a senior urologist.
But NGK Sharma was not finished with me. Afraid that the Bombay doctors would discover his criminal misuse of steroids, he stopped the steroids abruptly. Steroids have always to be gently tapered off and never stopped suddenly. I went into a coma and was taken on stretchers, unconscious, to Mumbai. The biggest mischief committed by Dr NKG Sharma was to give me discharge papers signed by one of his juniors, Dr Natekar, which showed his ignorance.
The discharge certificate said that I was suffering from polymyositis or neurology. To make it worse he called it alcoholic neurology suggesting that I was a bevda. Because of the differential diagnosis the doctors in Jaslok did not know what to do. If it was polymyositis and steroids were withdrawn I would die as it is a muscle wasting disease. Their job was made more difficult because over one month of steroids had masked all the symptoms.
Thanks to Narvekar and Dr NGK Sharma I spent five years in and out of hospitals. Steroids caused water retention, with the result that my weight went up to 180 kgs. I developed cataract and retinal damage in my eyes and could not see for three months till I was operated on in the Arvind Netralaya in Madurai.
I went on a hospital pilgrimage looking for a cure all over the country, from Jaslok to the Bombay hospital to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, and finally even to London to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery which is the Mecca of neuro sciences. Nobody would take the risk of asking me to stop steroids.
Finally I was detoxed from steroids over a period of five months by a young endocrinologist called Dr Shrikanta in what was then known as Bangalore. My weight which was 180 when I was admitted, dropped to 30 kgs at the time of discharge.
In the process of getting rid of steroids my whole gastro system was destroyed. Both the valves, called sphincters, at either end of the esophagus have been irreparably damaged. Defying gravity, the very strong acids which digest your mutton steak and your chonak, instead of going down are coming up to my throat.
When I did a checkup a month ago a growth has been discovered in the cervical area or just below the voice box in the esophagus. I have been advised by veteran Dr Datta Gaitonde of the Mapusa Clinic, to urgently do a biopsy to see if I have cancer. I have not done so because I don’t trust the doctors in Goa who had raised a false alarm of breast cancer last time. And even if I remove the growth there is no guarantee that my more serious acid reflux will be solved.
I am told by experts that it can only be treated in the UK or US. I have sent a message on Messenger to Manohar Parrikar asking whether I have sacrificed my life for Goa enough, for my medical treatment, which will run into crores, to be financed by the government.
I have not claimed any compensation from the GMC for pumping me with steroids and misleading the Bombay doctors though I was entitled to. The ground reality is that I am as sick or more sick then Manohar Parrikar but cannot afford the treatment I need. In any case, unlike Manohar Parrikar, I don’t want to stick to my kodel. I would be happy to hand over managerial and editorial control at zero cost to anyone capable, who will fight for Goa and fight against the BJP.