Rural doctor reduces scorpion bite deaths from 40% to 1%

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 03 Agustus 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Dr HimmatraoSalubaBawaskar, the rural doctor from Mahad who exposed the ugly practice of commission among doctors in June 2013, is in the news once again. This time around, he has been showcased as one of the world's most knowledgeable doctors on scorpion bites.

The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has published Dr Bawaskar's review on scorpion bites in its latest edition. The 65-year-old doctor's qualifications are impeccable: He has almost single-handedly brought down the mortality associated with scorpion bites from 40% in the late 70s in India to 1% at present. He has, in fact, been credited with working out the best combo-medicine against scorpion bites: anti-venom, along with an alpha blocker called prazosin, which relaxes blood vessels to let blood pass easily. "It is indeed prestigious that NEJM, the journal with highest impact factor, invited me to write this review," Dr Bawaskar said. "It is an acknowledgement that an Indian is one of the foremost authorities on scorpion bites."

Maharashtra Medical Council chief Dr Kishor Taori told TOI that Dr Bawaskar was the first in the world to notice that scorpion bites cause changes in ECG scans. "His expertise in the field is well-known. As a doctor working in a rural area, he has managed to find simple solutions to big problems," he added.

He began his research on Mesobuthus Tamulus, the most lethal scorpion, found in Konkan and parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, in the late 70s as a student. "At that time, most areas such as Konkan and Bellare had 30-40% fatality because patients developed pulmonary edema (lung complications)," he said. In the mid-80s, he and his wife Prabhodini tried out their new protocol of adding an alpha blocker. "It worked and we conducted clinical trials. We held lectures on our own money to popularize the new protocol," said Dr Bawaskar. bite deaths,Dr Himmatrao Saluba Bawaskar

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