|By Edmond Fernandes [ Published Date: February 13, 2012 ]|
In the era where healthcare delivery means corporate business, the KG Hospital stands out unmatched, unparalleled and electrifying. We see our times openly question the credibility of medical doctors. Perhaps the boom in IT has narrowed the world to such an extent that patients have become hard-to-satisfy and demand high accountability.
Quality healthcare delivery in India by the government has been a pathetic failure. In the bargain, the major burden of disease and patient care shifts into the hands of private players who reach out to humanity for different ends and purposes.
The KG Hospital story projects great lessons in healthcare now. At a time when the World Health Organization (WHO) brands India as the most depressed nation in the world, it makes us believe that there is so much more left to do and a ray of hope seems in sight when facilities like KG exist.
India needs visionaries like K G Hospital chairman Dr G B to deliver quality care with an emotional touch. Having made a humble beginning with 5 beds in 1974, it has seen a phenomenal ascent. The high cost of healthcare in the United States caused a realization and a clarion call from the father to the son to reach out to those who are in need back in Coimbatore.
Thus started the KG story - where the patient comes first, where knowledge is shared and where people come alive creating a beautiful world for life.
When I entered the KG Hospital the very first time, there was a palpable feeling of invariable energy. It was just another hospital like any other in the country but there was definitely something in it. I could feel the axe effect which was interestingly magnetic.
Going around with Raghavendran was a special experience. I found myself interacting with a medical adviser who was wise in age, youthful in spirits and had an incurable itch for knowledge which only a handful of medical students in the country could ever boast of.
Learning that his career came by as an engineer and he intended to spend his second innings in counselling and comforting patients in grief left me dazzled. This is no exaggeration: the gravity of truth sustains it.
Raghavendran had a curious dash of schoolboy simplicity which hardly anyone could match. The idea of India at 65 consists of such Indians and men like Raghavendran only serve to reiterate the KG story.
Moving through the various departments I was introduced to many types of machinery which were India’s first and which delivered brilliance.
I never found any state-of-the-art advertising mentions, but it silently suggested the world class in them. With the slice 128 Heart Scan, Video EEG and likes there was a live witnessing of facts. The place has the feel of a John Hopkins in India.
In a subtle observation what most doctors’ lack today is controlling their ego and working in unison. KG Hospital is a genuine and classic example of teamwork and respect for every individual in the department. There seems no bias that someone is junior and senior, work is regulated in a cordial atmosphere with everyone realizing the joy of teamwork.
This very purpose has generated a culture that not only finds solutions and helps clinicians learn but also catches any errors before they harm patients. When one begins to understand how this work touches real people, when one witnesses a grieving face behind just being a case number, and when one can feel human suffering, the power is enormous. This brings in the spirit and outlook for change!
KG Hospital stands tall today and can boast of fine doctors who add 'glocal' (global+local) flavour. As on January 2, 2012, KG Eye Hospital has done 82,810 free surgeries which is commendable.
The health problems that confront the Indian scenario are many and pressing. At this juncture KG Hospital bears the cost of performing free surgeries, conduct eye-check-up camps for school children and those in need and much more which is practically beyond the scope of this article ( soon to be a major book ). A magical team under Dr Manoj Ramachandran and the philantrophical dream ticket of Dr GB, needless to say, exhibits a triumph of Human Spirits.
There is a yeoman service rendered by the doctors from all the departments and, more so, they do it with a smile. After I met Nephrology chief Dr R Balasubramaniyam while I was on my way back, I saw a tiny young lad giving salutations to Dr RBS. I was both fascinated and moved to have noted such gratitude from children who often fear and avoid doctors.
It is a matter of supreme satisfaction to note that a novel scheme to treat heart diseases in children was launched by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam named as “Little Heart Foundation.” More than 500 free heart surgeries have been performed.
KG Hospital stands head and shoulder above the rest for introducing Capsule Endoscopy and Responder 2000 – mobile intensive care ambulance on wheels.
What keeps the hospital staff so energetic? How is it that they radiate a super Megawatt Smile?
My observation told me that the answer was the one and only Dr GB, chairman KG Hospital, whose versatile energy inspires his team to do more and better.
My 2-3 hour-long and intermittent interaction with Dr GB gave me a sense of realization of what this man is made of. A loving devotion to duty and an honest faith in the Almighty almost always puts things in one’s favour. This reminds me of the proverbial saying. “God is in every man; your loving devotion is bound to call up divinity in Him”.
But as a participative medical observer, closely monitoring Dr GB, I conclude that a 'Padma Shri' award is far too small and it only makes me believe that the government of India has not done justice. Here is a man who is scripting history live and you dole him just with a Padma Shri? The idea of India's mediocrity becomes visible!
Why is it that time and again, the policy-makers in this country deny such wonderful humans a place in the sun?
All in all, we can conclude that it is time we emulate KG Hospital for good many reasons towards health and happiness.
Note : The Reachout programmes of KG Eye Hospital have found a special mention in former president A P J Abdul Kalam's book Vision 2020.
(The author is a medical journalist-cum-entrepreneur.)