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Interventional cardiologist Dr PC Rath follows his heart. The 57-year-old doctor, who prefers lining up complicated procedures in the evening, is often held up at work until late night. When cases stretch beyond 11. 30 pm, he orders biryani for his team, and if work continues till the wee hours of the morning, he bundles his sleep-deprived junior doctors into his car and sets out for a steaming cup of Irani chai and a crisp dosa at a nearby joint. Long nights notwithstanding, his day begins at 7 am, when he starts taking calls from patients or their anxious attendants.
The first to carry out trans-radial coronary angioplasty and stenting in the Asia Pacific region in 1994 and known to perform the highest number of angioplasties in the country, Rath is a workaholic. He does at least 100 procedures a month and sees over 50 patients a day. He works out of two cities (Hyderabad and Bhubaneshwar) and is available on call for a third (Apollo's Kolkata unit).
Director of Apollo's Cath lab and Interventional Cardiology in Hyderabad, he is popular in his home state of Orissa as he attends to many an ailing heart there. While his fee goes up by 15 per cent annually (he has been practicing for the last 25 years), he doesn't quite recollect his annual income when asked about it. He asks his "billing person" who reverts to TOI-Crest with a figure of Rs 1 crore per annum. His colleagues say Rath performs five to six procedures for free every month.
A golf enthusiast who finds visiting Similipal Tiger Reserve in Orissa rejuvenating, Rath is aggressive at work but has mellowed with time, say colleagues. He is strangely humble in an increasingly competitive industry, refusing to discuss his VIP patients and encouraging patients to call him at all hours. "If I am busy, I call back or give an alternate number, " he says. The doctor, who got trained in angioplasty at Charles Nicolle Hospital, University of Rouen, France, in the late 1980s, says that was the turning point in his career. He has been training cardiologists from other countries and terms this his biggest contribution to the field.
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