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September 12, 2000
Knee specialist to examine PM
Amberish K Diwanji in New York
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be examined by Dr Chittranjan S Ranawat, director, Centre for Total Joint Replacement, Lennox Hill Hospital, New York. Dr Ranawat, a doctor of Indian origin, has his super-specialisation in knee joint replacements.
The Centre for Total Joint Replacement, Lennox Hill Hospital, is reputed for its work in the area of knee and hip replacements, and Dr Ranawat is considered one of the foremost experts in the world specialising in knee joint replacements.
The prime minister suffers from osetoarthritis, an extremely painful condition of the knee caused when the cartilage protecting the knee joint gets worn out over the years.
One of the cures for this painful condition is surgery -- requiring the insertion of an artificial cartilage and a metal plate. The surgery is said to be extremely safe and offers the patient almost normal recovery. Unfortunately, it also requires long post-surgery rehabilitation and care and at least one month's rest.
This means Dr Ranawat will only examine the patient and recommend a course of treatment. There is no scope of any kind of treatment or surgery taking place.
Dr Ranawat, who it is learnt was visiting China, cut short his overseas visit to return to New York in time to meet the prime minister.
He is expected to examine Vajpayee in his hotel suite at the Waldorf Astoria, New York.
Despite repeated calls to his office, Dr Ranawat refused to come on line and his secretary insisted he was not available for comment.
However, others spoken to say Dr Ranawat is one of the foremost authorities in the area of joint replacements and cementing, having authored books and many papers on the subject. He is also on the editorial advisory board of the Journal Of Arthoplasty.
The prime minister's knee condition makes it difficult for him to stand for long. Since the cartilage is damaged, standing or walking makes the upper and lower leg bones rub against each other, causing severe pain.
Vajpayee's only recourse is to keep his movements to a minimum. This is evident from the fact that except for his address to the United Nations, which lasted only five minutes, the prime minister has spoken seated at all his other engagements.
It was the knee ailment that forced his office to trim his visit to the United States, making him skip the San Francisco leg of his itinerary and arrive in New York two days late.
He also cut down his official engagements in New York. The prime minister had official engagements on September 7, 8, and 9.
On September 10, he visited his elder foster-daughter, Nandita Kaul, who lives in Connecticut.
And either on Monday or Tuesday -- it is not yet certain when -- he will be examined by Dr Ranawat. The prime minister has no official functions slated for these two days, though officials indicated that, with a number of delegations and associations waiting to meet him, he is likely to meet at least a few of them.
One group the prime minister is expected to meet is an association of Sikhs based in New York.
The prime minister is also taking it easy because he has a busy schedule ahead of him in Washington DC, including an address to the joint session of Congress.
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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