"Our goal is to provide the best healing touch that can be attained, using knowledge from modern medical science," says Rakesh Gupta, M.D., gastroenterologist.

Dr. Gupta has practiced medicine in Michigan City since coming to the area in 1983. He recently discussed his background, philosophy and approach to medicine with HEALTH SCENE.

"In treating any patient, our final focus is to see that the patient gets well. Basically, we try to achieve that objective by using a three-dimensional approach.

"Imagine a triangle. At the base, we try to achieve as accurate a diagnosis as we can. The second side of the triangle is our awareness that certain diseases may require surgery. We don't overlook that possibility.

"At the top of the triangle is our objective – our preferred course of treatment, which is to prescribe the appropriate dietary measures and medicines to treat the patients condition.

"How do we go about looking for the problem? Traditional medical school teaching has been to look for one disease to explain an array of diverse symptoms. However, our experience shows that quite often there is a combination of diseases and / or mechanisms at work that are causing the patient's chronic gastrointestinal symptoms

– specifically chronic abdominal pain," Dr. Gupta says.

According to Dr. Gupta, this is where the "art" of medicine is important. "Determining which diseases or mechanisms may be involved, and gauging how they interact and influence one another, takes skill and experience," he says.

"To understand these factors, a direct one-to-one relationship between doctor and patient is important," he adds.

"Additionally, since there are often multiple medical problems involved, it is often desirable to involve other medical specialists so that combined talent can achieve the objectives of providing the best care. Plus you should still be seeing your family physician or internist," he says.

A native of India, Dr. Gupta attended Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College in Aligarh. The college was founded by the famous prime minister of the same name.

As he reflects on how he chose gastroenterology as a subspecialty, Dr. Gupta chuckles, "Every time a relative or friend found out I was going to be a doctor, they always would complain to me about chronic stomach pain. It seemed to me that everybody was suffering from this. I thought, there has to be something that can be done for people with this problem!"

Dr. Gupta's fellowship in gastroenterology was at the University of Illinois. He is board certified in internal medicine and the subspecialty of gastroenterology. Recently he was elected as a member of the LaPorte County Board of Health.

 

Upon arriving in Michigan City, Dr. Gupta was instrumental in the development of Saint Anthony's GI lab concept. "Prior to the creation of the GI lab, endoscopic procedures were done in surgery. We believe the GI lab offers a less intimidating atmosphere, and puts the patients more at ease."

He notes that Saint Anthony's GI lab was the first in the three-county area served by the Hospital.

"Gastroenterology really took off as a subspecialty in the 1980's. This growth was triggered by improvements in the design of endoscopes. These improvements accelerated around 1975.

"We are becoming more sophisticated in the tools we use in diagnosis. There are even more refinements in scopes in the pipeline for the near future."

Dr. Gupta also foresees an ultrasound attachment for endoscopes becoming a valuable tool for the gastroenterologist within five years.

Dr. Gupta, his wife and family live in Michigan City. Their son and daughter attend Notre Dame Elementary School.

When not dealing with digestive disorders, Dr. Gupta enjoys working out on the treadmill, playing racquetball, swimming and movies.

Dr. Gupta's Michigan City office is in Saint Anthony's Medical Arts Center, 1501 Wabash St., phone 874-8711.

He also sees patients in Valparaiso, phone 464-9300; and in St. Joseph, MI, phone (616) 4282221.

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