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From crumbling concrete to a place of pride

The SDS Tuberculosis Research Centre and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases once resembled a ghostly concrete structure but is today a premier institute.

Published: 28th June 2017 09:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2017 09:12 AM   |  A+A-

Dr Shashidhar Buggi, founder-director of the institute, interacting with the patients in Bengaluru on Tuesday | JITHENDRA M

Express News Service

The SDS Tuberculosis Research Centre and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases is today a premier institute, all due to the efforts of its founder-director; around 5,000 patients are treated every year at this institute

BENGALURU: The hospital building once resembled a ghostly concrete structure with half completed pillars and walls. Construction activity had come to a dead halt after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. With the project stalled for two decades, the structure was being used to shoot action scenes for movies.

But thanks to the dogged determination of an young doctor, who breathed new life into the dream project, the prestigious SDS Tuberculosis Research Centre and Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases, a 470 bedded super-speciality hospital, today holds a place of pride in the country. Till new building was inaugurated in 2013, the institute was running from the old building on the 60-acre campus.

Dr Shashidhara Buggi, founder-director of the Institute, has been instrumental in creating state-of-art infrastructure for needy patients from across the state and country. In recognition of his yeoman service, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has recommended to the Health and Family Welfare Department to to extend his services to lead the institute, sources said. Dr Buggi is set to retire on June 30.

There is an acute shortage of chest physicians and thoracic surgeons not only in the state, but also in the country. The Institute issued notifications thrice for recruitment of teaching staff, but none came forwarded to join the institute. Dr Buggi himself has been with the institute for 27 years now.  Also, in most of the medical colleges in Karnataka, the Departments of Thoracic Surgery are not full-fledged units. Hence, patients are referred to this institute for thoracic surgery from various parts of the state, says experts in the field.  

“With rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and increasing pollution, there has been a significant increase in respiratory diseases. Around 5,000 in-patients are treated every year at our institute. For each patient, the treatment cost works out to about `5 lakh, which is on par with private medical institutions. Due to lack of awareness, many patients come to our institute after having lost money and time at private hospitals. There is a need to create awareness to refer patients to our institute from primary hospitals at the village level and hospitals at the taluk and district levels,” Dr Buggi said.  

Regarding his continuation in the post, he said, “I want to see this institute being declared as an institute of national excellence in line with NIMHANS by the Government of India. I am a staunch government servant and patriot. Even today, I do surgery continuously for 4-5 hours a day. I treat all patients equally,” said Buggi.

Based on his proposal, the state government, in 2012,  suggested to the Centre that the institute be upgraded as a National Institute for Chest Diseases. Buggi wants to see this through.  

Hailing from a middle class family from Chincholi in Kalaburagi district, Buggi stays on the hospital campus with his wife Vishalakshi, a professor in the Department of Hindi at JSS College in city. The couple have two daughters and a son, all who have studied in government institutions.

Feathers in his cap

  • Dr Buggi has been a custodian of the entire 60 acres campus as he saved it from encroachers.
  • He has been instrumental in opening a nursing college in the hospital four years ago.
  • He established a quarantine centre for Yellow fever/Zika virus diseases.
  • He has been presented with many awards, including the Dr B C Roy Award, in recognition of his work
  • Recently, his work was endorsed by the Association of Healthcare Providers with the ‘Patient-Friendly Hospital’ award.


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