Dr Sanjay Prabhu Khope: Magician of Pediatric Surgery

December 6, 2016

TONY MARTIN  |  He is one medical genius thousands of grateful parents across Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra will remember forever with gratitude. He has worked the magic of his deft fingers to give a normal life to more than 30,000 new-born babies besides children whose parents had almost hopelessly resigned to their tragic fate.

Meet the globally celebrated Dr Sanjay S. Khope {MS,MCh (Pediatric Surgery)FACS (USA) F.I.S.P.U(Ped.Urology) F.A.G.E.}a neo-natal paediatric surgeon of international repute with roots in Khola village of Canacona. His most far-reaching contribution in the medical field is his invention of a much acclaimed surgical technique to tackle a birth defect called Omphalocele which is today known the world over as the Khope Technique or Khope Operation.

The great German philosopher and musician, Dr Albert Schweitzer, set up a hospital at Lambarene in Africa and served the poor there for many years. Such was the profound impact of his services that the people there called him ‘Oganda’ meaning magician.

With his most inventive and innovative approach, Dr Khope is the modern day magician of pediatric surgery. On July 11, 1995 a front page heading in Karnataka’s Canara Times screamed ‘Rare case of sex change in India.’ The sex change operation was performed by Dr Sanjay Khope at JJ Hospital at Fatorda, Goa. Ironically, then, there was little mention about it in the local papers.

Recently Dr Khope worked two miracles in one week. First he successfully performed a rare spinal surgery at NUSI Hospital at Panzorkhoni – Cuncolim, Salcete, Goa on a 63 years old woman named Carol Killiner from United Kingdom, who was unable to walk nor sit or even sleep comfortably despite 2 years of treatment in London.

Dr Khope, who is as much known for his compassion to the poor as his surgical expertise, again created history when he performed another extremely complicated genitourinary surgery and reconstructed the external genitalia of a 14-month old baby bringing it completely back to normal. The internal organs were also reconstructed thus ensuring normal fertility for the child in future. What is also as great as the surgery is the fact that the surgery which could have cost a fortune for the poor family was done by Dr Khope with a nominal cost of just Rs. 20,000/ to Rs. 25,000/-

Dr Khope led a team of doctors in successfully performing an emergency operation on a new born baby affected by an extremely rare problem called “Bilateral Chonal Atresia” wherein the nose was blocked on both sides by a bony tissue and the child could not breathe.

Using major advances in medical technology, Dr. Khope has performed an extremely complicated genitourinary surgery on a baby. Explaining the case he says: “The baby was born with ambiguous genital organs that could not be identified conclusively. There was disparity in the nipples too. After performing a detailed genetic and hormonal investigation the chromosomal characteristics and the nature of the internal genital organs were studied. The baby had female internal genital organs like uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. But the vagina opened high up into the urinary bladder and there was no opening outside.” This unique type of anomaly is very rare in medical history and is termed a ‘posterior’ urogenital sinus with absent labia mojora and minora.

Using a high quality innovative operative technique Dr Khope gave a totally normal female anatomy to the baby. The internal organs ‘vagina’ were created through an intestinal loop, bringing back a totally normal female individual with normal potential for fertility and child birth in the future.

Dr. Khope has performed several unprecedented operations in Goa, Mumbai and Manipal for various birth-defects most of which were life-threatening. A case of antenatally diagnosed potentially fatal posterior mediatinal cyst was also successfully operated by Dr Khope in Goa.

Son of noted businessmen and social worker, Mr Suryaji Prabhu Khope, Dr Sanjay Khope is originally from Khola, Canacona. He did his schooling in Infant Jesus high school, Cuncolim. In twelfth Science he secured the third place in the Board Merit List. Dr Khope has the exceptional honour of topping the MBBS, MS and M CH exams conducted by the Bombay University.

Dr Khope is one of the two Indian paediatric surgeons to get the International Guest Scholar Award of American College of Surgeons way back in 1993 during the World Congress of American College of Surgeons held at San Francisco, California.

Ironically the Government of India or for that matter the Government of Goa is yet to recognize this much-distinguished and world-renowned magician of paediatric surgery. And we have the audacity to complain about brain drain as the bane of India.

But Dr. Khope is not someone who will be defined by awards. His genius lies in his work. The great medical magician with a great heart has dreams for a full-fledged pediatric hospital offering free services to the poor in Goa. Unfortunately for the poor none of the hospitals in Goa has a special pediatric department, he laments.

Till then this humble and compassionate magician of neo-natal pediatric surgery Dr Sanjay Prabhu Khope will always be there with his legendary magic wand to spread smiles on the faces of countless parents.

Dr Sanjay Khope – miracle man