Local doctor helps children in India

Courtesy Photo Escanaba OSF Physician Dr. Meghana Kasetty, at left, poses for a picture with fellow doctors at a pediatric surgical camp in India. She and other physicians from around the country donated their time to help children whose families can’t afford medical care.

ESCANABA — A local doctor has recently returned from a trip to India where she and her brother, a pediatric surgeon at a children’s hospital in Houston, Texas, helped provide medical treatments and surgeries to children who do not have access to it.

Dr. Meghana Kasetty, who works as the supervising physician at the walk-in clinic located inside OSF St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba, traveled to her hometown of Maharashtra, India, to aid her brother and other physicians to provide children with medical treatments at a pediatric surgical camp.

“We wanted to go back and give something and that’s how it started,” she said.

Although Kasetty didn’t perform any of the surgeries, she was a facilitator in making sure the pre-op and post-op care was handled and also managed the communication between all of the teams of doctors.

During her visit, Kasetty said her brother and other doctors on staff performed over 130 surgeries in one week. Procedures were by no means minimal, said Kasetty, noting children with bladders outside of their bodies and with scoliosis, which affects the curvature of the spine, visited the clinic. To meet this high demand, not only were pediatricians on hand, but also urologists, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmologists, and many more medical specialists.

“They worked from eight in the morning until sometimes midnight,” said Kasetty of the teams of physicians, who donated their time to make sure kids who otherwise didn’t have access to healthcare, had the chance to heal and make a better life.

Kasetty said most of these medical problems in America would be fixed at birth, but in some parts of India, families cannot afford these procedures.

The care and medical equipment provided for the procedures was made possible through various donations, said Kasetty, through the organization Peedh Parai International. It is a non-profit organization made up of a team of medical professionals and support staff who perform surgeries on children with serious health conditions whose families may not be able to afford the procedures.

In addition, Kasetty said there are staff who work with the children after the surgeons are gone. Medications, vitamins, food and other nutritional supplements are donated to help the kids during their recovery, she said.

This is the fourth year of the program, said Kasetty, noting this was her first visit.

“It was so satisfying. The surgeries they did were just amazing,” she said.

Kasetty’s husband, Ragu Kasetty, is also a doctor at OSF St. Francis Hospital. Kasetty said next time she goes to help children in India, her husband will join her.