High Achievers in every sphere, offer so much inspiration and learning in form of how they think and operate. This particular feature comes from my observation of someone extraordinary, who I had an opportunity to watch and learn from. The High Achiever, I present to you today, is Dr Praveen Gupta, Director Neurology, Fortis Hospital Gurgaon. I got a chance to watch his fantastic work while my father was under his care.
Dr Gupta had restored my father’s mobility during a phase when almost everyone had asked me to give up on the possibility of my father ever being able to walk or communicate.
He and his team worked tirelessly and within 3 weeks of a major episode of being in ICU, my father was able to walk and speak once again. In addition to immense gratitude, I was very inspired by Dr Gupta’s work. I got to observe his approach very closely during my father’s recovery and it was very evident that his thought process explored more than the obvious, straight forward line of treatment of the condition.
The desire to learn more about my father’s condition, my inherent interest in the interplay between the brain and the mind plus Dr Gupta’s unique approach to treatment inspired me to read as much as I could about neuroscience in general as well as Parkinsonism. I also began following Dr Gupta’s work through his YouTube channel ( please click here for the link) and online content. Watching details of unique cases that he has treated with his thorough understanding of the fundamentals of medicine while keeping in mind the unique nuances associated with each patient, has been extremely fascinating.
Each case filled me with wonder – I wanted to know more about how Dr Gupta treats cases which are most others give up on. The possibility of this thought process being applied to other realms of problem solving prompted me to request him to spare time for a conversation and he generously agreed.
My first question to him was about his approach to treating complex conditions. He explained that the space where magic happens is the intersection where the body’s capacity to heal itself overlaps with the wonders of modern medical science. As a doctor, he has utmost faith in the human body’s capability to undo disease. This capacity to heal is a variable in each case. Likewise, each body responds differently to disease as well as to the support of treatment, drugs and medical procedures. Studying medicine gives insights about how the body works and how medicine works. The key factor that determines the success of a treatment plan, is understanding the individual patient’s condition and constitution before applying preset guidelines. Understanding the nature of the disease in the patient and his/her individual variations may also require certain deviations from the guidelines. Sometimes, these deviations may have never been tried and tested but the courage to apply modern science in conjunction with fundamentals of medicine creates the possibility of treating these complex conditions. Dr Gupta doesn’t hesitate to adopt deviations and new lines of treatment. If the patient is willing to take the plunge, Dr Gupta is fearless when it comes to exploring solutions beyond the conventional realm.
Dr Gupta’s unique thought process to create customized treatment plans has concepts which I feel have the potential to be applied across different fields of work. He says, over a period of time, when one practices a craft and understands every intricate detail associated with it, one can develop a powerful ability to apply concepts learnt and observed in one area, to another. Speaking in terms of medicine, if dopamine is being used to manage symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, after a period of several years, if one is paying diligent attention, one can use insights from this usage to other areas of health care, where this understanding can be applied. In other words, through focused attention and keeping the mind open to various possibilities, one can develop the ability to, not just connect the dots, but connect the dots across different domains and create a whole new set of interesting solutions. I found this concept very fascinating, especially if one wants to cultivate a a thought process that births innovation. If I were to attempt an explanation of the thought process involved – it is not typically a linear series of steps. It is more like a net or web where various pieces of information, concepts and insights overlap and connect with each other – not constrained by direction, yet retaining a certain rhythm and pattern. The more expansive the web, the more the possibilities of connections. Also, the more deeply one understands each piece of information, concept or insight, the more number of possibilities one can envision.
Grasping concepts quickly, retaining complex information and maintaining diligent focus on each task while multitasking came naturally to Dr Gupta. These are his gifts. However, what helps him remain in his zone of genius, day after day, is heartfelt gratitude for his gifts and a deep desire to use his gifts to create value and meaningful impact. Right from his childhood years, he felt inclined to introspect and understand the self. He was aware of his gifts and knew that he could apply them to any sphere. He chose to pursue medicine after careful thought about where his gifts would deliver the most value.
He chose medicine and decided to do better than disease. Each day, he is mindful of his gifts and the reason behind his deliberate choice of how he would share his gifts with the world. He believes that ones’ gifts need to be nurtured carefully. Innate gifts should not be taken for granted.
Dr Gupta’s take on his framework for support for his patients is very inspiring too. According to him, it is of prime importance for him and his team that they do their best to be available for their patients during hours of need if even they are outside boundaries of conventional medical support. The idea is to have medical support adapt as per the patients’ requirements rather than having the patient force fit their requirements within medical guidelines
Honesty and authenticity are Dr. Gupta’s core values. His drive for excellence is fuelled by his desire to continuously learn, explore and find meaning beyond the obvious. While growing up, his curious mind, questioned various established concepts about the universe and powers that govern it.
Physics was a subject that fascinated him. In fact, he would have loved to pursue physics alongside medicine but that kind of academic pursuit wasn’t a possibility then. What gives him joy is that his son Akshaj shares his interest in physics. They enjoy long conversations about possibilities of interesting realities in the space of Physics that are yet to be discovered!
Happiness is the healthiest habit says Dr Gupta! I think, something like this, coming from one of India’s best neurologist makes it a top priority for all of us. He says if one can find a vocation that one loves, nothing like it, else one must try to squeeze out at least thirty minutes to engage in an activity that one loves – either pursuing a hobby or learning something we love. Shutting the mind from the worries of the world and creating a happy state is like formatting the brain to get the body to an optimal state where it produces hormones that help us function in a healthy way. If one is bogged down by certain challenges or worry, in the interest of ones’ health, the bothersome issues should be addressed in a constructive way so that one doesn’t succumb to worrying, loneliness or other emotional patterns that have the potential to affect our health.
Dr Gupta’s expertise and popularity draws an overwhelming number of patients to his OPD every single day. In addition to the fact that he loves what he does, support from his family and friends helps him with the balancing act in both spheres – work and life. He is extremely grateful for the constant support extended by his wonderful wife Mona Gupta, who is a fashion designer. Dr Gupta himself has a huge interest in fashion and often enjoys lending his creativity in joint endeavours while designing with his wife.
A constant endeavour to learn and push boundaries and do new trailblazing stuff inspires Dr Gupta to pursue neuroscience with the passion of a life long student. He makes it a point to squeeze out time to attend conferences to keep himself up to date with the latest path-breaking research in neuroscience. Delivering lectures at such forums also helps him share his knowledge.
There is so much to learn from Dr Gupta’s approach to life and work. He lives a life of alignment with his passion and purpose. He shares his gifts with the world through his impactful work. Given the huge number of complex conditions he has treated with so much care, he has already touched lives of so many. In years to come, I look forward to learning more from seeing Dr Gupta’s contribution to medicine and inspiring stories of many more unique cases that will come his way. Here’s wishing Dr Gupta good luck for all the magic that he is yet to create!