DEHRADUN: When 82-year-old Yogi Aeron came to know about receiving the prestigious Padma Shri Award, the renowned Himalayan doctor humbly remarked,"That's fine but I have thousands of patients in my waiting list. I hope some help will arrive for them too."
Aeron has been treating patients for disfigured or burnt faces for over 25 years now without fees.
Residing in Malsi, 10 km from Dehradun on Mussoorie road, Aeron starts his day with lining up his appointments with his assistant who has been with him since the last 27 years.
Born in Muzaffarnagar district in the year 1937, Aeron graduated from King George Medical College in Lucknow. In 1982, he travelled to the United States get to specialise in plastic surgery. "My sister who practised in the US-supported me to get desired exposure in the field. That helped me immensely," added Aeron.
His four-acre campus which he bought in the year 1983 is no less than a science park that has been built for over five years now. The aim is to convert the facility into a learning space for the children as well as a treatment facility for the underprivileged.
Since 2006, Aeron has been running a two-week camp twice a year. During these camps, patients below the poverty line are treated for disfigured lips, cheeks, nose and other parts of the face. In this venture, Aeron gets assistance and support from a team of 15-16 US-based doctors.
On average, nearly 500 surgeries are done by the doctor who has been accorded the status of God. With over 10,000 patients on the waiting list for free treatment, Aeron constantly strives to find ways for funding the costs of those who cannot bear it.
From asking for help from his friends in India and abroad to roping in NGOs and the government he has done it all but the horizon seems to be expanding.
Interestingly, he was supported financially by his father after he became a father of two children and has started his job in Dehradun district government hospital.
Kush, his son who is also a doctor says, "My father has never been able to manage his finances for his own. He does it for his patients which makes him happy."