Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will complete a decade after a successful heart surgery on Thursday, is the unexpected new entrant on the #10Yearchallenge on social media, an official said on Tuesday.
The former PM, 86, was operated for a redo cardiac bypass surgery on January 24, 2009, by a team of medicos led by the renowned Mumbai-based cardiovascular thoracic surgeon and Vice-Chairman of Asian Heart Institute (AHI), Ramakanta Panda.
Five bypasses were performed on Singh, who had already undergone a bypass surgery earlier in 1990, and later a stenting procedure in 2004.
Recalling the day when Singh was operated upon, Dr Panda said,
At the time of his procedure, Dr. Singh appeared extremely calm. He told me that he has full faith in me as a surgeon.
Today, Dr Panda considers Dr Singh as one of his most ideal and a very good patient, who in the past 10 years "has strictly pursued his health regime and cardiac follow-ups."
Known for performing extremely challenging heart operations, Dr Panda has so far done over 24,000 heart surgeries, 20 per cent of which were considered "inoperable', and enjoys a reputation for achieving results when it comes to red bypass procedures.
When asked about the #10Yearchallenge with the former Prime Minister completing a decade of having a healthy heart, Panda remarked: "I feel happy as his doctor."
He said that if social media is able to set a real precedent for a healthier lifestyle, "then we should have such challenges more often." He said on a lighter note how such contests also allow the medicos like him to look back on the complicated procedures they have effectively completed without relapses.
Some other big names on whom Panda has operated in past include Laloo Prasad Yadav, Tarun Gogoi, D. Raja, top industrialists, political leaders and film personalities.
Singh was not the only executive head of government to have undergone a critical surgery while in office. Before him, the late US President Ronald Reagan had reportedly undergone several procedures for cancer while in office, and the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was treated for a heart condition called supra-ventricular tachycardia.