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Dr Rajesh Sharma
When did Noor's parents contact you first?
About a year-and-a-half ago. They were referred to me by their cardiologist in Lahore.
She isn't the first Pakistani patient?
I haven't counted. I may have treated about 50 to 60 kids from there.
You seem to be their favourite doc.
Some years ago, I treated an infant from Pakistan. Since then, parents have sought me out.
When you left AIIMS, did you think they'd follow you to Bangalore too?
I was surprised. They've kept in touch via e-mail.
Do Pakistani parents come to India because of a shortage in medical infrastructure?
They too have world-class cardiologists. But from a business point of view, paediatric cardiac surgery is extremely expensive.
Is it a problem typical of South Asian kids?
No. The low doctor-patient ratio is the problem. We have more babies than doctors who can treat complicated heart disorders.
Are you also involved in the post-operative treatment of your patients from Pakistan?
Not really, unless there is a specific issue.
Have you been invited to Pakistan?
I was supposed to attend a conference there, but it coincided with the Kargil conflict.
Any other such opportunities in the offing?
We are organising the annual conference of the Paediatric Cardiac Society of India in Bangalore in August 2004.
What's the response from Pakistan?
Many of them have shown a keen interest in coming here for the conference.