Private hospital gives high-tech care to India’s poorest

There’s something unusually calming about the operating rooms at Dr. Devi Shetty’s 1,000-bed cardiac hospital here in India’s high-tech hub. Natural light floods the theatres.

When Shetty designed his hospital, he wanted to ensure surgeons could connect with the world outside.

“In most western hospitals, operating rooms are in the middle of the floor and they only have fluorescent lighting,” Shetty says during a tour of his flagship hospital, one of 10 that his family owns and operates in India. “Surgeons are creative people. It’s ridiculous to think they can perform well all day under fluorescents. Try it. Do something creative in a room with only artificial lights and see how you do after two hours.”

Unorthodox operating rooms aren’t the only way Shetty is transforming health care in India, a nation with 1.2 billion potential patients.

At his Narayana Hrudayalaya cardiac hospital, which is just metres away from his family-owned-and-operated cancer, eye and multi-specialty hospitals, 42 surgeons performed 6,272 cardiac surgeries last year, three times the number at Toronto General’s cardiac unit.

Roughly 60 per cent of those operations were performed on patients who couldn’t afford the full cost of proper treatment and medicines.

Some enrolled in a $3-a-year insurance plan for farmers Shetty started alongside the Karnataka state government. Others had the procedure free. Read more…

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