Abu Dhabi: You would most likely come across Dr Venkata Kiran if you were having a fracture treated at Abu Dhabi’s Bareen International Hospital. And while you would be taken in by his smile and jovial manner, you would be utterly captivated if he broke into a song.
Dr Venkata Kiran, the well-loved doctor and orthopaedic surgeon from India, is in fact a mellifluous singer, and uses music therapy to help his patients face daunting treatments and procedures. He advocates the healing power of music, with a fully populated channel on YouTube.
Helps patients relax
“I come from a family of singers, and grew up surrounded by music. My first performance, in fact, was a Telugu song about the moon at the age of seven. After I had trained as a doctor, I also noted with pleasure how a simple tune can help ease a patient’s pain during treatment, including surgeries,” Dr Kiran, 54, told Gulf News.
“I first noted how much music helped when I managed a nursing home in India. There, patients were often stressed when facing a doctor, but if I hummed a few lines of a song, they would visibly relax, and even ask me to continue singing. And I thought to myself, if I can ease a patient’s pain as they face treatment, why shouldn’t I? So I began to hum tunes while putting on plasters, or sing slow melodies to de-stress a patient before a procedure,” he said.
Singing and medicine are certainly an unusual combination, but Dr Kiran has been combining them for nearly two decades. And he certainly has some interesting tales about the effectiveness of music therapy.
“It works just as well on young children as on elderly patients. In fact, many of my patients urge me to continue once I stop, and I take that as a real compliment,” Dr Kiran narrated.
Bond with patients
The doctor, who moved to the UAE in 2014, has since continued to use music therapy to bond with his patients.
“For patients, it can be therapeutic to know and connect with their doctors in a way that pain relief alone cannot provide. So not only do I like to sing if I am putting on or removing a plaster, I also like get to know my patients,” Dr Kiran said.
“In fact, it is through this approach that I have had some of the most interesting encounters with my patients. Otherwise, I might never have known that one of my patients is a famed novelist, or another an accomplished sculptor,” he added.
Dr Kiran values this patient-doctor bond very much, and says it helps his patients recover quicker.
“Recently, I had a young patient who underwent spinal surgery. Nine days later, at his follow-up appointment, he insisted that he was well enough to arm wrestle with me. And we did!” he said.
The doctor also makes sure to provide special renditions for his patients on occasions like Eid, Diwali or Christmas.
Upon request, he readily hummed four lines – every note in place – of a 1981 Hindi song by Indian maestro, Kishore Kumar, titled ‘Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna’, or ‘I cannot say how much I love you’
At home, he makes time for his recording studio, and frequently uploads songs to his YouTube music channel, ‘Music Heals’. His choice of melody is typical classical Indian music, and while he normally sings in Hindi these days, his first performances were in his mother tongue, Telugu.
While he also dabbles in sculpting, it is singing that is his true passion.
“I do not want to be a doctor with a robotic nature. Instead, I want to spread love at all times. After all, we have limited time on earth, and our world can be much better if we always advocate for love,” he added with a smile.