Dr Koirala serves cardiac patients at Bir Hospital for freeExperts and resident doctors say having professors like Bhagwan Koirala is a blessing for them.
Last week, Arjun Bhattarai, a local from Syuchatar in Kathmandu, met Dr Bhagwan Koirala, a senior cardiothoracic surgeon at Bir Hospital.
Bhattarai, a cardiac patient who underwent a valve replacement surgery 16 years ago, said that he did not expect to meet Koirala, who retired from Tribhuvan University some three months ago.
“Dr Koirala was the one who performed the valve replacement surgery on me,” said Bhattarai, who is 74. “I made several rounds of Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre and Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre to meet him but I found him in Bir Hospital.”
After retiring from Tribhuvan University, Dr Koirala started serving at Bir Hospital. He provides outpatient care as well as surgery services at the hospital.
“I told him that I had been trying to meet him for months, and was operated on by him 16 years ago,” said Bhattarai. “I didn’t have a ticket but he examined me, and inquired about my health. I have seen no other doctor as humble as him.”
Bhattarai, who has been planning a hernia surgery, put forth concerns about his heart ailment with Koirala.
“He asked me not to worry and gave me his personal contact number, asking me to call if help is needed,” said Bhattarai, who spent around 15 minutes with Koirala. “Doctors may not have his number, but I do.”
Koirala serves patients visiting the hospital but the hospital administration gives him nothing in return.
“Tell the people to come to Bir Hospital if they have cardiac problems and want my services,” Koirala said. “One can get a health check-up by buying a ticket or without one.”
Dr Santosh Poudel, the hospital director, said that they do not pay him for his services.
“We requested him to help strengthen the cardiac services of Bir Hospital, which he happily accepted,” said Poudel.
Doctors serving in the hospital's cardiac department said they feel blessed to get a chance to work under Koirala.
“All doctors at the cardiac department have been inspired by the presence of Professor Koirala,” said Dr Dikshya Joshi, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at the hospital. “His energy is at another level. Having professors like Koirala around is a true blessing for us. His presence boosts our confidence in surgery.”
In the last two months, Dr Koirala has been involved in three heart surgeries. Like other doctors at the hospital, he provides outpatient care twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays.
Patients can also visit Koirala at HAMS Hospital at Dhumbarahi for a fee every evening.
A consultant cardiac surgeon regarded as a pioneer in open heart surgery in Nepal, Koirala played a key role in setting up the Gangalal National Heart Centre and in establishing the Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre. Now, he is working towards setting up paediatric hospitals in all seven provinces.
After retiring from the TU, he has now returned to the country's oldest hospital where mainly common people from across the country visit seeking treatment at an affordable price.