For long, private healthcare was restricted to general practitioners and small nursing homes. Missionaries and few others with missionary zeal ran larger private institutions. State-of-the-art institutions of healthcare were established in private by large industrial houses that catered to mainly their township and partly as charitable institutions by way philanthropic activities.
Establishment of the Bangalore Hospital was a new concept and experiment of a different kind. The hospital could convince a number of consultants who could have established their own small nursing homes, that there is a need of each other’s support for proper care of patients. Surprisingly it worked. Most of them were established consultants and were actually aware of the need for a collective effort for proper care of their own patients.
The man behind the initiative was Dr K S Shekar, who is a renowned plastic surgeon and the chairman of The Bangalore Hospital. He speaks to Vyas Sivanand about the hospital, his books and his plans.
What is unique about Bangalore Hospital according to you?
The Bangalore Hospital is a corporate venture with co-operative spirit, fully owned by the doctors, their friends, relatives and patients. It is the first hospital to be owned by doctors, run by doctors and for their patients. Today it is a success story and worth emulating.
Our objective is to provide speciality care at a reasonable cost, practice ethical medicine and ensure transparency at all levels.
We at Bangalore Hospital believe that the patient is the most important person in the hospital, his or her needs are dealt with utmost care with all compassion. We have excellent doctors, fully qualified, trained and experienced within the country and abroad.
Can you tell us about the award that you have instituted specifically for plastic surgeons?
Named Dr K S Shekar Endowment Award, it is the highest award among Indian plastic surgeons. I have contributed about `10 lakhs for the award four years back. We have constituted a committee and there are also rules and regulations. There is a complete assessment carried out before identifying the winning surgeon.
Can you elaborate on your lifestyle retirement village, Sushruta Vishranthi Dhama (SUVIDHA)?
The project has been conceived by me and started by a group of doctors from The Bangalore Hospital, nearing retirement who wanted to live in a community without compromising their lifestyle. The project is not commercial but a co-operative venture. We purchased 30 acres of land in the green belt about 7 km from Banashankari temple and 1 km from NICE peripheral road.
Government approvals, along with all clearances have been obtained. The Government has imposed certain conditions while sanctioning permission for the project.
The land cannot be sold like in any other real estate project and the residents have to invest in shares in the company to be able to have exclusive use of a cottage. All residents will have equal number of shares and hence equal say in functioning of the village.
The second condition is that only 15 per cent of 30 acres can be built up area. The third condition is that we cannot build more than two levels. The project is not exclusive to doctors but people of other professions too.
You have authored many books. Can you tell us about them?
I have written and collated many medical books. But other than that, I have also written books on mythology. Purushothama - Best of Men is a story on lord Rama. If he were a normal man, how he would have behaved is what the book is about. Then there is Dialogue with the Divine, which is a simplified version of Bhagavad Gita.
The latest book is What is not taught in Medical Colleges. It is a compilation with almost about 45 authors chipping in and has been published by Rajiv Gandhi University.
Surgical Sages is a compilation of orations given in memory of great surgeons as well as lectures given to students.
Tell us about some of your major achievements that you feel proud of.
There are only three plastic surgeons in the entire country who became presidents of Association of Surgeons of India (ASI) and I am the third and the only one surviving.
I am also the first person from Karnataka to have received the lifetime achievement award from the ASI in 2011.
Apart from these, I am very satisfied with my achievements of establishing The Bangalore Hospital and SUVIDHA.