Renowned neurosurgeon Devkota passes away
Kathmandu, June 18
Renowned neurosurgeon Dr Upendra Devkota passed away today at the age of 64. He is survived by his wife, Dr Madhu Dixit Devkota, and three daughters, Medha, Vasudha and Manjari.
Dr Devkota was suffering from bile duct cancer, which was diagnosed at the United Kingdom’s King’s College Hospital in November. He returned to the country on April 28 after learning that his disease was incurable.
Dr Devkota, who once became a health minister, breathed his last at the Bansbari-based National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences, commonly known as Neuro Hospital, at 5:35pm, according to Basanta Devkota, Dr Devkota’s cousin. The hospital too issued a press release confirming his death.
“Dr Devkota was an intelligent and a hard-working person, who has made significant contribution to the country’s health sector,” said former PM Baburam Bhattarai, a classmate of Dr Devkota from 1963 to 1972 at Amar Jyoti School in Gorkha and Amrit Science Campus in Kathmandu.
Born on December 18, 1953, in Pandit Gaun of Liglig in the western Nepali district of Gorkha, Dr Devkota completed his high school education from Amar Jyoti Janata High School in Gorkha. He then moved to Kathmandu to pursue Intermediate in Science from Amrit Science Campus. He bagged the Colombo Plan Fellowship to pursue medical education in India. He completed his MBBS in 1978 from Assam Medical College and joined state-owned Bir Hospital upon returning home.
After working for five years at Bir Hospital as a medical officer he went to the UK to study neurosurgery at the Glasgow Institute of Neuroscience in 1983. Based on the knowledge he acquired in the UK, he set up Nepal’s first neurological trauma unit in Bir Hospital, where he worked for over two decades.
“He was a committed doctor with superb patient management skills. He used to perform surgeries for 10 to 12 hours without taking a break,” said Dr Gopal Sedhai, a neurosurgeon based in Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital. “He always believed that a country should have state-owned neuro hospital, as neurosurgery is expensive and the general public cannot afford it.”
Dr Devkota had tried to set up Nepal’s first neuro hospital since he returned from the UK, but could not do so as the government expressed lack of interest in providing land. At that time, the then prime minister Manmohan Adhikari promised to provide land for the hospital on the premises of state-owned Bansbari Shoe Factory. But Adhikari could not keep his word as other ministers were against it, Dr Devkota recently wrote in a news portal.
He then established National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences using his own funds, which is Nepal’s first neuro hospital.
Dr Devkota’s body will be kept on the premises of Neuro Hospital from 8:00am to 1:00pm for final tributes tomorrow. His last rites will be performed at Pashupati Aryaghat tomorrow, according to a hospital statement.
- Dec 18, 1953 – Upendra Devkota is born
- 1978 – Gets MBBS degree from Assam Medical College, Dibrughar University, Assam
- July 27, 1983 – Leaves for the UK to pursue studies in neurosurgery at Glasgow Institute of Neuroscience
- 1989 – Returns to Nepal and sets up Nepal’s first neurological trauma unit in Bir Hospital
- 2002- Gets appointed as health minister
- 2006 – Establishes National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences
- Nov 21, 2017 – Leaves for the UK where he is diagnosed with bile duct cancer
- Jan 25, 2018 – Undergoes first chemotherapy
- April 28, 2018 – Returns to Nepal and gets admitted to National Institute of Neurological and Allied Sciences
- June 18, 2018 – Breathes his last