Saturday, April 27, 2013


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Dr Devi Shetty. Who? Excuse me for my ignorance, but until I read about him recently in the papers, I had not heard of the good doctor and the amazing work he has done in making heart surgery and other medical procedures accessible and affordable to the millions of poor people living in the rural districts of India.

CNN-IBN named him Indian of The Year 2012 in the Public Service category. The Wall Street Journal has given him the title of The Henry Ford of Heart Surgery. He has performed over 15,000 heart operations, and was Mother Theresa's cardiac surgeon in the early 1990s and personal physician.

In 2001 Dr Shetty started the multi-specialty hospital Narayana Hrudayalaya hospital near Bangalore under the concept of a "Health City". Today the hospital has expanded into a chain of 17 hospitals in over 11 cities across the country offering a total of more than 6,000 beds. By using economies of scale he has succeeded in slashing the cost of heart surgery by as much as 50%. He aims to bring cost down even further to as low as US800 (RM2426), by building more hospitals and expanding the number of beds to 30,000 in the next five years.

For comparison, click here for the current estimated price list for various heart procedures and surgeries at the National Heart Institute of Malaysia.

Not exactly "no-frills". The hospitals are well-equipped and boast some of the world's top surgeons. No one is turned away. Those who can afford to pay do so, those who can't are charged minimal fees or not at all. The hospitals also help poor patients look for sponsors. Photos: AFP

View the interview below for more about Dr Shetty's plans for the future, and why he thinks his vision of providing the best healthcare in India at ultra-low costs is achievable. Definitely something for other countries to emulate.

“We all have one life to live and you want to do as much as you can in that. So I decided to focus on making a difference in the lives of the poor.”

Heart-warming words from a cardiac doctor with a good heart - Dr Devi Shetty.

1 comment:

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