South-central doctor explains why medicine is personal

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A doctor from the Baptist Cancer Center has explained why he followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and how new technologies are saving lung cancer patients.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For Dr. Anurag Mehrotra, medicine is personal and belongs to the family.

“There were a lot of expectations,” Dr. Mehrotra said. “If I didn’t, there would be a big disappointment.”

His grandfather worked in a laboratory and his father was a doctor.

The decision to follow in their footsteps meant living away from his family while he studied for his degree.

“My son was 3 and my daughter was 1,” the doctor said. “I decided to leave them for a year and go to Chicago to do an extra fellowship just for this interventional pulmonology.”

Dr. Mehrotra came to Memphis in 2014 as a fellow and joined Baptist Memorial Hospital in 2018 to study lung cancer.

He said the only reason he decided to come to the United States was to practice the most advanced form of medicine there is.

“I didn’t want to look back 20 years and regret that if that’s what I really wanted to do, I wanted to help these patients, why didn’t I? He shared.

Mehrotra was drawn to the field because of its difficulty and the dire need in Memphis to save lives.

He now runs a program at the Baptist Cancer Center that detects lung cancer early, the first of its kind in the city. The new technology supports Baptist’s Mid-South Miracle goal of reducing lung cancer deaths in the Mid-South.

Robotic bronchoscopy allows safer and faster detection of small tumours.

“I fight with my patients,” he said. “I can look into my patients’ eyes and tell my patients you can go anywhere in this country, I’m going to do as good a job as anyone.”

Mehrotra said his work made his grandfather proud.

“He saw me go into medical school, but he died before I graduated,” he said.

Mehrotra said if his grandfather could see him now, his words would be, “I think there’s a culture of work very much ingrained in it, you have to keep going.”

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