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Doctor stuck in traffic ditched car, ran for 45 mins to reach critical surgery in time

The doctor highlighted Bangalore's poor infrastructure, despite top architects and urban planners.

Doctor stuck in traffic ditched car, ran for 45 mins to reach critical surgery in time
Cover Image Source: YouTube/NDTV

Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 21, 2022. It has since been updated.

Bangalore's traffic is the stuff of legends and memes alike. On the worst days, it can cause excessive delays, affecting critical care services such as ambulances. On August 30, 2022, Dr. Govind Nandakumar, a gastroenterology surgeon at Manipal Hospital, had two options: either be defeated by this traffic or make it in time to perform surgery on his patient. When traffic became completely gridlocked, the Indian doctor abandoned his car and ran 1.8 miles for 45 minutes to reach the hospital where the patient was waiting for him to perform a gallbladder operation.

Dr. Nandakumar rushed to the hospital, knowing his first patient was prepped for surgery and others were scheduled for later, according to the Times of India.


Nandakumar reiterated the chaos of Bangalore traffic when he shared that the waterlogging and exceptionally heavy rain caused the traffic to back up for at least a few kilometers. After finding no indication of the traffic getting any better, the surgeon made the decision to sprint for almost 45 minutes to reach his patient. "I did not want to waste any more time waiting for the traffic to clear up as my patients aren't allowed to have their meals until surgery is over. I did not want to keep them waiting for long," he said.


"I commute every day from central Bangalore to Manipal Hospitals, Sarjapur, which is in the Southeast of Bangalore. I left home well in time for the surgery. My team was all set and prepared to perform the surgery as soon as I would reach the hospital. Looking at the huge traffic, I decided to leave the car with the driver and ran towards the hospital without thinking twice," he said to NDTV.


As soon as he entered the operating room, Dr. Nandakumar's team, who was prepared to put the patient under anesthesia, began to work. The doctor quickly changed into surgical gear and started the surgery. The procedure went well and the patient was promptly discharged from the hospital. โ€œThe patient recovered well, and the surgery went smoothly,โ€ he said. โ€œI run every day and in fact, before I had to do this I just finished in the gym. Normally I run 3-5 kilometers a day, but running in the middle of the road in formal shoes is not ideal.โ€


He added that this is not the first time he has faced such a situation. โ€œI have had to make the journey on foot a few times in other areas of Bengaluru too, sometimes crossing railway lines. I was not anxious since our hospital has adequate staff and infrastructure to take good care of a patient. The situation may not be the same for small hospitals,โ€ he said, per Indiatimes. โ€œEven patients, their families are anxiously waiting for the doctors. What if a patient in an ambulance is stuck in traffic? There was no space even for an ambulance to pass.โ€


The doctor explained the importance of infrastructural ability, saying the traffic can get pretty 'disorganized' in the city. "Even if you want to walk, you cannot walk safely, there are no walkways in many parts of the city. we definitely use some improvements on infrastructure," he told NDTV. "I think it's a multipronged effort. We'll have to have the government, the authorities, and the implementation of the plan has to be good. The people have to abide by the plan. I think we should come together as a city. World-renowned architects and urban planners live here. It all just needs to come together."


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