Sunday, 8 November 2009

Indian doctors: Hall of fame - Part 11: Dr Santosh G Honavar, retinoblastoma specialist

By Syed Akbar
Retinoblastoma is a major eye cancer, which leads to blindness. Managing the problem requires a lot of expertise, patience and dedication. Dr Santosh GHonavar is a rare blend of a clinician and a scientist. The comprehensive multispecialty children’s eye cancer centre, which he established, is now recognised as one of the best in the world. He has contributed more than 125 research papers to various national and international magazines.
His outstanding work on retinoblastoma notwithstanding, Dr Honavar does not feel that he is on the top of the field. "The moment one assumes this, he has lost it!," he says, adding "like a duck in water, one has to
paddle hard to even stay at the same place in the field of medicine".

Dr Honavar loves music but says he has chosen ophthalmic plastic surgery and ocular oncology, because it provides all the excitement of being a surgeon, and also the sense of fulfilment of being able to restore the
patient’s appearance as in ophthalmic plastic surgery; and salvage life, eye and vision as in ocular oncology.
Simple looking Dr Honavar has made a mark of his own in the fields of tumours of the ocular surface, orbit, retinoblastoma, and paediatric lachrymal disorders. The worth of Dr Honavar’s scientific work can be gauged by his cumulative citation index of 617, H Index of 16 and G Index of 22. He is a recipient of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award.
He feels that Indians, specifically those who have received their initial medical education in India are doing well in medical specialities probably because of their extensive training background and exposure to a vast range of pathology. "We Indians fancy gadgets and techniques and tend to do very well in performing surgical procedures that the others have invented, may be even much better than the inventor, because of the vast volume that we have to hone our skills with."

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