"In 1995, as a medical officer, I attended to a patient who had been admitted for sepsis due to a chest infection. He collapsed – much to the distress of his accompanying son, who screamed for help. I promptly resuscitated the patient with oxygen, IV fluids and antibiotics and the patient responded rapidly to the simple treatment. The following day on ward rounds, the patient's family came running to me; they hugged and thanked me for saving their father. It brought tears to my eyes and it was the moment that I realised that my choice to become a doctor was the right one."
Experiences like this one have continually spurred Dr Rajeev on in his three-decades long career. Whether it is successfully taking someone through a high-risk surgery or offering reassurance to family members that their loved one is on the mend, each interaction is clearly dear to him – illustrated in his treasured collection of letters, notes and other memorabilia from patients. "I always try to do my best for patients – not to compromise their safety and achieve the best outcomes for them," he says.
Following his graduation from medical school in India, Dr Rajeev trained in surgery and pursued higher training in the United Kingdom. He completed his specialist endocrine surgical training and Fellowship in endocrine surgery from Oxford, and then worked as a Consultant in Endocrine & General Surgery in UK.
Passion and expertise in complex endocrine surgery
Today as a Senior Consultant at the Division of General Surgery (Endocrine & Thyroid Surgery) at the National University Hospital, Dr Rajeev specialises in endocrine and thyroid surgical disorders.
He is one of the few accredited Consultants on the British Association of Endocrine and Thyroid Surgeons to perform endocrine surgery and is versed in taking care of patients with problems linked to the thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal and neuroendocrine conditions, such as multiple endocrine neoplasias, familial paraganglioma syndromes.
For his research work on aberrant glycoproteins in thyroid tumours, Dr Rajeev was awarded an M Phil from Oxford and he has delivered lectures on this and other topics on endocrine cancers internationally.
With the unique experience of having provided surgical care of pediatric surgical patients in the UK, Dr Rajeev also provides care for the pediatric endocrine surgical conditions working in collaboration with endocrinology and pediatric medicine.
Passing on surgical knowledge
Having benefited from the guidance and mentorship of many, Dr Rajeev pays it forward, taking on various roles in medical education. A passionate teacher, he teaches undergraduates and postgraduates, examines for the MBBS, BDS, MRCS and FRCS exams and proctors students on research projects.
Dr Rajeev also set up the Postgraduate Course in Endocrine Surgery in 2015 and has been running it successfully once every two years.
He also organised the International Postgraduate Course in Endocrine Surgery under the auspices of International Association of Endocrine Surgeons in 2021.
Contributing to the research field
Medical education aside, he contributes to the field through extensive research, and has published nearly 100 publications to date in peer reviewed journals and contributed to textbooks.
Currently a member of N2CR research group, he has also collaborated with other researchers in the field of thyroidology. Dr Rajeev has edited three endocrine surgical textbooks and reviewed articles for BJS, WJS, Gland Surgery, WJSO, Annals of Royal College of Surgeons in England and BMJ The Heart.
Giving back to the community
Dr Rajeev's compassion extends beyond the hospital. He is a long-standing donor to the Princess Foundation in India which funds underprivileged girls in their educational needs and he also provides free medical consultations over Zoom for the Kottayam Medical College Alumni of which he is a member. Currently he is awaiting confirmation by the outreach program of IAES to provide surgical training and expertise to surgeons in Africa.