Dr. Harikesh G. Buch recognized the difficulties faced by homeless people in his home city of Mumbai early in his medical career. A skilled colorectal surgeon, he devoted himself to operating on those unable to pay for his services. Then something happened that changed the course of his life: At the age of 29, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer and underwent colostomy surgery, an operation that would serve as the focus of his volunteer work for many years to come.
Dr. Buch recalls that he was “devastated” after the cancer diagnosis and, though it didn’t take him long to become accustomed to living with a stoma, he had initial concerns about the pouching system. Will it leak? Does it smell? Could others hear it?
The concerns extended to his career as well. Would he be able to continue as a medical professional? It was only after he met another surgeon in Mumbai who’d had a colostomy that he felt reassured. Dr. Buch could now be a role model for others, demonstrating to fellow ostomates in India that they could indeed live fulfilled, productive lives — a rather novel concept in his country, where ostomy surgery often carries shame and creates rifts within families.
Read the full story on OstomyConnection: “Dr. Harikesh Buch works to shatter stigma and improve post-surgery care for ostomates in India.“
Written by: Tina Aswani Omprakash, Published by: OstomyConnection on December 12th, 2018.
OC SPOTLIGHT is a regular column on medical professionals in the ostomy community.
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