Dr Venkataswamy: The man behind Aravind hospitals



If Coca-Cola can sell billions of sodas and McDonald's can sell billions of burgers," asked Dr. V., "why can't Aravind sell millions of sight-restoring operations, and, eventually, the belief in human perfection?

As a young man, a brand-new obstetrician, he contracted rheumatoid arthritis and watched helplessly as his fingers slowly twisted, fused, and grew useless for delivering babies. So he started over, this time studying ophthalmology.

He managed to design his own instruments to suit his hands, and these tools enabled him to do as many as 100 surgeries a day. He became the most admired cataract surgeon in India and revolutionised eye care in India.

In 1976, facing the prospect of retirement at age 57, he opened a 12-bed eye hospital in his brother's home in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Today, Aravind eye hospitals perform more than 200,000 operations each year. Seventy percent of his patients are charity cases; the remaining 30% seek him out and pay for his services because the quality of his work is world-class

His full name is Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, but to more than 2 million surgical patients and 16,000,000 outpatients, he's known affectionately as "Dr. V." The 87 year-old chairman of Aravind Eye Hospitals, Dr. Venkataswamy is a hero.

Dr Venkataswamy passed away recently.

Fastcompany.com , a management and leadership journal has a nice piece on his leadership skills.
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