Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

How a TV diagnosis cured Kejri’s persistent cough problem

- Sanchita Sharma ■ sanchitash­arma@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: A television appearance by a frequently coughing Arvind Kejriwal and a chance remark by industrial­ist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw led the Delhi chief minister to a hospital in Bengaluru to fix his persistent health problem with a corrective throat surgery.

Kejriwal’s chronic coughing and the ubiquitous muffler to protect his throat from the cold and smoggy winter air had become a frequent theme on social media, leading to endless memes and conjecture on what was ailing Delhi’s articulate and vocal chief minister. “Watching Mr Kejriwal on television break into racking cough some months ago, Dr Mazumdar Shaw remarked how the poor man was suffering. I said the cough was too violent to be an allergy and the cause was more likely an anatomical problem,” said Dr Paul C Salins, medical director and vice-president, Narayana Hrudayalay­a and Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Hospital, who diagnosed the condition.

Dr Salins got thinking and used a photograph of Kejriwal to do an anatomical analysis. “I could see he had a short neck and some other anomalies that could be causing the problem, but I didn’t know him and forgot about it,” he said.

A chance remark to Dr Devi Shetty, the founder chairman of Narayana Health, some weeks ago after a similar surgery fixed the cough of a woman in Bengaluru, led to Dr Shetty calling Kejriwal to tell him about the surgical option.

Kejriwal, 48, visited Bengaluru for tests and was told the problem lay in his oropharynx – the middle part of the throat including the base of the tongue, tonsils and the walls of the pharynx – that led to small amounts of saliva trickling into his airways whenever he developed nasal allergy or infection.

The surgery, which began at 7.30 am on Wednesday and ended at noon, involved another minor correction of a septal spur in his nose. Dr Suhel Hasan, head of otolaryngo­logy, and Dr Salins performed the surgery with the assistance of surgeons from Narayana Health City’s department of craniofaci­al surgery.

“The chief minister is already speaking and having semi-solids, but it will take at least a week for him to actively participat­e in political debates. I’ve advised him to rest his throat for 10 days,” says Dr Salins.

Dr Devi Shetty, the founder chairman of Narayana Health, said, “The chief minister will comment on the surgery when he is ready.”

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