Cardiologist Dr. C.N. Manjunath: A visionary and a role-model of an Indian — 1
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Cardiologist Dr. C.N. Manjunath: A visionary and a role-model of an Indian — 1

July 6, 2020

A month ago, one of my friends sent me a WhatsApp video and urged me to watch the video till the end. It was a speech delivered by Dr. C.N. Manjunath, whom I knew as the Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, popularly known as Jayadeva Heart Hospital, a government-owned autonomous institute. I also knew that he is the son-in-law of our former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. 

The success of Jayadeva Hospital, which is a government-run institute and providing services on par with or better than any five-star corporate hospital in India, is attributed to Dr. Manjunath. So, I decided to watch the video immediately.

On the occasion of his 60th birthday, Dr. Manjunath was felicitated by his well-wishers and admirers and a felicitation volume ‘Dhavana,’ brought out by Ranga Chetana Samskriti Kendra Trust, was also released. As the first edition of this book ‘Dhavana’ was published in 2018, I think, this video containing Dr. Manjunath’s speech on that occasion was also delivered in the same year.

After listening to his speech in that video, it made me curious to read the felicitation volume ‘Dhavana.’ Editors of this felicitation volume, Dr. D.K. Chowta and Nanjundaswamy Thottavadi, have done a commendable job. This rather fat and heavy 364-page book has a number of colour pictures with articles written by over 32 distinguished persons. Probably, the publishers would include this inspirational speech given by Dr. Manjunath in the second edition of the book.

The title of the book roused my curiosity and I wanted to know the meaning of the word ‘Dhavana’. I asked a few friends. One said, it is a Sanskrit word but did not know the meaning! Finally, when I asked one of our Sub-Editors, he said, “Sir, Dhavana is the name of an aromatic herb. While making floral garlands, our local folks usually use these fragrant green Dhavana leaves at regular spaces in the garland. He even sent a picture of that Dhavana plant which is produced above. Probably, that is the reason the publishers of the book have printed the picture of a small image of the leaves along with the title ‘Dhavana’. But why call the book Dhavana! I am curious to know. Let it be.

In the present situation, I really liked his speech. I am publishing the transcript of that speech here so that my readers who have not heard or read that speech of immense human concern could also benefit from it. It does not need a scholar to interpret it to us because it carries a simple and honest message delivered by a visionary, proud Indian who is serving us selflessly as the  head of the Jayadeva Hospital. Here it is:

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A number of luminaries who are present here have blessed me today. They also spoke a few good words about me. I think, this is an opportunity given to me by God. Whenever we get an opportunity to work in a certain profession, whatever it may be, we need to be selfless. I think, that is the Will of God or you may call it Law of Nature.

It is said that if you want to know the meaning of Life, you must go and visit three places: First place is a Hospital. There when you see and observe the suffering of patients with illness, you will know the importance of Health in our life. The second place we must visit, at least once in our life, is a Prison. By seeing prisoners, we would know the importance of Freedom. And the third place we must see is the Graveyard. There we would realise that when we leave this world, which everyone must one day, we will not carry anything with us. We would only be remembered for our Good Deeds. That is Life.

Felicitation volume ‘Dhavana’ is being released today. Recently, due to heavy rains in Kodagu district and Kerala, thousands of people have lost their lives and properties. For this reason, I would like to dedicate this book   ‘Dhavana’ to them.

I had a dream that if I could get an opportunity to assume the responsibility of Jayadeva Hospital, I would make this government hospital to function on par with or better than any private hospital with five-star amenities and service. Now, my dream has come true.

We have a large number of rich and educated people in our country. But, as Justice Shivaraj V. Patil mentioned during his speech, how many of us are benevolent and humane by nature? So we need persons who are rich in heart. This, I think, is very important. In my 10 to 12 years experience as Director of Jayadeva Hospital, as of today, I have never sent a patient back home because he had no money to pay for his treatment. Some patients would have very little money. Some would have no insurance. I have never asked them to clear their medical bills and go home. Humanity is very important. Whatever skills we might have, if we forget humanity, our skills and learning will not have any value.

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People might have to spend lakhs of rupees for treatment of heart-related issues. I know very well that we need to keep records and documents for all the subsidised treatments given here. This might be worth crores of rupees and we are answerable to auditors who are not interested in the economic condition of a patient. Auditors need proper documentation and records of all our transactions. Because of this, I urged the government to provide some legal framework to assess the financial condition of patients and then provide special concession for their treatments. Now, we have this kind of facility in Jayadeva Hospital where we assess and identify the economic condition of a patient and treat them at discounted rates. What really hurts me is when usually rich persons ask for discounts. 

As far as I know, poor never lie, but rich do. Poor patients frankly say that they have only Rs. 5,000 or Rs. 10,000 with them. Recently, a poor man said, “I have sold my cow and paid Rs. 25,000 medical bills.” I told him, “Out of one lakh medical expenditure, I can give    Rs. 75,000 discount now, but you are dependent on your cow for your livelihood. I will give your Rs. 25,000 back, but on one condition that you need to buy back your cow and show me the cow.”

We, as doctors, should always assess the financial condition of a patient. Based on that, we need to give treatment. To give an example, when we travel in an aircraft, we have different categories for passengers such as economy class, first class etc. But if an accident occurs, everybody will die irrespective of the class they are travelling. So, if we come across a patient in critical condition, we should talk to their family and clearly explain the situation. Even if they spend lakhs of rupees for treatment, sometimes patient would not survive. We should counsel the family and convince them to stop spending money for further treatment in such cases. We are following this rule in our hospital. Otherwise, when patient dies, their family might have to bear the cost of ventilation, ICU and other expenditure, sometimes to the tune of Rs. 10 lakh or more and get economically ruined.

[To be continued]

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16 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Cardiologist Dr. C.N. Manjunath: A visionary and a role-model of an Indian — 1”

  1. Strangeworld says:

    It is not surprising India is going the same away as America, in terms of healthcare, where treatment costs a lot, even if one has a medical insurance. Only the medical insurance covered for ex-presidents like Clinton, continuing from his presidency , a gold-plated insurance, covers all costs. The idea of getting serious illness scares every Americans, as the medical insurance often has many caveats.
    On the other hand, every civilised country should have free healthcare, routine and, emergency and critical , for every one of its citizens. This is the situation in all Western countries in Europe, as well as Canada. After losing their citizens in WWII, these countries , knew the value of human health and understand human suffering and hence, they determined to make the free healthcare available for all-rich and poor. Elderly patients, again using the American term, senior citizens,get their prescriptions filled free, all medicines are free, so also the children under 16. Even in these countries, it is Indian doctors who come to work here, who want to bend the rules, and offer private care-illegal , for money,and who are often found out and disciplined. There are private hospitals for mostly foreigners,where the charges are advertised and are fixed,
    The best equipped hospitals are always the government teaching hospitals.
    This should be the situation in India too. Let alone a heart ailment. In these days of Covid-19 infections, we hear stories where private hospitals charge as much as Rs 1 Lakh or more per day! How could an ordinary citizen afford this monstrosity , if rice per quintal costs Rs4000, a kg of tomato:Rs 50 and a kg of onions Rs 120?
    In Asia, Singapore , arguably has the best medical facility. There too the charges for doctors and hospitals are fixed so that a common Singaporea an can afford/the most complex medical treatment.
    PM Modi, while buying Rafale jet fighters from France, should also take time to enquire more about French healthcare arguably the best publicly funded healthcare which every French citizen enjoys free, without forking out life savings.

    .

  2. Strangeworld says:

    Just to add to the above. Hilary Clinton, when she was the First Lady and later President Obama, tried to introduce similar free -at the -point of delivery healthcare for Americans. Republicans, rich business which owned the medical insurance companies and the medical profession which hugely benefits from medical insurance-driven healthcare, thwarted those attempts. That forced President Obama to opt for less attractive Obama Care, which is not not affordable for many Americans. Given American business propensity to fire employees, the fired employees loses the protection of the medical insurance by employers, the reason why even very elderly, many over late seventy and eighty cling on to work place, which includes even doctors! Medical insurance companies always find a clue or a loop ole, like the whiff of an pre-existing condition to deny cover.
    When Bill Clinton , as ex-president was given an all clear in an ER ( emergency room) visit, with routine tests, he did not believe it, and hence forced the insurance company to allow him to go for more intensive tests, when his heart condition was diagnosed, and the by-pass operation done on him was affordable to him , because he , as the ex-president had the gold-plated medical insurance to cover all costs .

  3. jalandhara says:

    In 1950s Mysuru, thoracic ailments were very very few. Diabetes, high BP and heart ailments that followed used to be the rich men disease-usually rich Santhepet merchants, sitting on comfortable cushioned seats lined with many pillows, obese, never walked even 2 furlongs , rich ghee-laced food etc.. They made the England qualified specialists in KR hospital very rich. Common Mysoreans walked to work, took their kids out on Sunday, doing serious walking, while they shopped. The footpaths were in tact used by pedestrians.
    1960s arrived, the age of 2-wheelers. Java bikes, Italian-branded scooters, changed the habit. Less number of people walked. Chest ailments, diabetes and high BP started appearing in those who were fit and health in late 1950s. Mysoreans got sucked into automobile culture, owning cars , was a prestige symbol. Cardiology practices started appearing , increasing in numbers, and this slowly leading to private clinics and then private hospitals. Pedestrians were considered as cave men living in a bygone era. Hotels and marriage receptions ignored pedestrians who were invited, opting to focus on those who arrived in Germany-made cars! The saga of how diabetes, high BP and heart diseases took form hold of Mysoreans. A typical indian cardiologist, particularly from Mysuru, has very little knowledge of nutrition, leaving it to nutritionist, and hence is unable to advice a healthy diet and exercise-based life style. But then. his excuse would be it is already late for these patients. After all, if people adopt this style, no need for a super hospital for cardiology!

  4. Hare Krishna!! says:

    I started reading this piece from Mr Ganapahy appreciating what he said of this doctor here: “Dr. C.N. Manjunath, whom I knew as the Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, popularly known as Jayadeva Heart Hospital, a government-owned autonomous institute” But then the next line: “. I also knew that he is the son-in-law of our former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda” That settled it! What a visionary the great Shakespeare was when he said:” for some greatness is thrust upon them”! I cannot argue with many who knew this uncrowned king of Karnataka, High Highness Deve Gowda, tis Institute was constructed at a great cost just for this person to be its Director to getpolitical support from Gowda. Was this Institute developed when Siddu was the CM? That might explain a lot of things. Although Yedi, knows the power of His Highness Gowda.
    I cannot blame some who will say that this Institute was developed with this person in mind! Do not under estimate the power of this Gowda dynasty!
    Although as Mr Ganapathy claims that this Institute with its services is on par with any ” five-star corporate hospital”, not sure what it means, as I am used to know the best hospitals in the West, which do not call themselves as corporation, as they are all government-funded and give their services free . That should ensure that this Director will not have any retirement age!
    I cannot but laugh at when this Director say that the opportunity to serve as a doctor and may be as the Director was given by ” God”, that ” God” is none other than His Highness Deve Gowda! These dynasties pick their son-in-law right from the days of the cradle , and from then on, every opportunity is open to that child!
    Deve Gowda, became the PM, although for a short time, when he packed some central institutions with his chelas, the Gowdas, as heads. His son was the CM, his grand son is an MP, his son-in-law is the Director of this super speciality hospital, not even Sonia Gandhi has managed to achieve this much!
    Lastly, this cardiologist, looks miserable, not sure why. Doctors look at their best when they are examining the patient, in this case reading a ECG graph perhaps?

  5. Hare Krishna!! says:

    Just a tail piece:
    Mr Ganapathy. If you want to praise a doctor, this person , I have in mind , was the personification of kindness, compassion and greatness, almost all, i n his days as the Chief Surgeon of Holdsworth Memorial Hospital in Mysore, called the Mission Hospital, who quoting Shakespeare again: ” was born great and achieved greatness..”, it was late Frank Ivor Tovey, the best surgeon, Mysuru ever had. Stories by people, including my own , will say that he treated rich and poor alike, and when he knew the patient cannot pay, he performed major operations free. Feted by the Maharaja and the poor alike, he was the ultimate standard against who all doctors should be compared, and evaluated. So far, I have not seen the like of him even in the West.

  6. Hare Krishna!! says:

    Typos, corrected version:
    Just a tail piece:
    Mr Ganapathy. If you want to praise a doctor, this person , I have in mind , was the personification of kindness, compassion and greatness, almost all, will testify too this. in his days as the Chief Surgeon of Holdsworth Memorial Hospital in Mysore, called the Mission Hospital, who quoting Shakespeare again: ” was born great and achieved greatness..”, it was late Frank Ivor Tovey, the best surgeon, Mysuru ever had. Stories by people, including my own , will say that he treated rich and poor alike, and when he knew the patient cannot pay, he performed major operations free. Feted by the Maharaja and the poor alike, he was the ultimate standard against whom all doctors should be compared, and evaluated. So far, I have not seen the like of him even in the West.

    REPLY

  7. Hello, hello! says:

    This is a super speciality hospital, whose director must be a super special doctor. Who else but the son-in-law of the ex-PM Deve Gowda” Agree that the hospital must have been constructed for him in mind! Well done the Gowda dynasty, as good as the Gandhi dynastry!

  8. vipra says:

    I hold no brief for anyone , let alone for the Devegowda family. However , I have known Dr Manjunath since I was a student in Mysore Medical College during Dr Manjunatha student days He stands very tall in his own right , not because of the fact that Mr Devegowda is his father in law

    As the great Bard said ” jealousy sees much “”
    You are comments are very uncharitable and GO fUCK yourself royally !!

  9. Vipra says:

    Hello @Hare Krishna!!
    ”Lastly, this cardiologist, looks miserable, not sure why”
    Have you looked at your own sorry ,dark ass ?

  10. swamy says:

    Ask Dr. Prabhudeva, former chief of Jayadeva. He will tell you how he became the chief of Jayadeva hospital. He maybe a renowned specialist, but the way he occupied this post is not very good.

  11. Hello, hello! says:

    @vipra You studied medicine? A doctor? Your language is the language of the gutter. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  12. Hare Krishna! says:

    Hello Vipra
    A learned medical man? Your language is the language of a sewer rat. Quoting the Bard are we, but talking about “dark ass”? Never heard of the Bard focusing on ass! Jealousy? No. In the country, where i live and work, there are brilliant cardiologists , all of them head and shoulders above this man in their skill, and who treat many many Karnataka politicians in power, almost every month! They are real professionals, not like this politico-medico, interested in pontificating.

  13. Hello, hello! says:

    @swamy Thanks for that reference.
    No one is surprised, knowing Deve Gowda and the power he wields. Haven’t we seen him celebrating the marriage of his relative recently in his Gowda community of Ramangara, with masses of people, in the midst of Corona Virus rage? The HC censored the poor DC for permitting it. The HC if fair minded would also have censored this Deve Gowda and his Clan for flouting the orona Virus guidelines. But they did not, but picked only the poor DC. This Poor DC knew that , If she did not give permission to this congregation of the Deva Goda clan,she would be transferred, and would counting dead fish crates in Mangaluru harbour, which are ready for export!

  14. Muralidhar M S says:

    Hey people. Its not because he is Deve Gowda’s son in law that he became the Director of Jayadeva Institute. Its because that he is Dr Manjunath that Deve Gowda sought a relationship with him.
    He is a giant of his own making.
    If he was not capable, then opposition parties would have hounded him and tried to belittle the Jayadeva Institute.

  15. Vaman says:

    “If he was not capable, then opposition parties would have hounded him and tried to belittle the Jayadeva Institute
    The above reasoning is flawed.
    Starting with Deve Gowda. He became the PM for a brief period supported by Sonia Gandhi and Congress. Since then he is close to her , though not to Siddu. He and Yedi have no issues, but Siddu and Yedi have many issues.
    Before the recent General Election
    This hospital was planned under Siddu’s regime as the CM. BJP opposition will not belittle this facility and not hound Deve Gowda’s son-in-law as yedi and Deve Gowda had no issues, and Yedi knew, he may need Gowda after the coming General Election.
    After the General Election
    Kumaraswamy became the CM with Congress coalition. BJP was bidding its time, as they knew they can entice Congress MLAs ro switch. But Yedi and Deve Gowda had no issues .
    Yedi became CM. This cardiologist reached the retirement age of 60. But to please Gowda , his term was extended, I read by 9 years to please Gowda. Yedi and Gowda are close now,
    A future son-in-law, knowing Gowda would have been picked long before this person became famous. That is the way Gowda works.
    FYI, I do noyt live in India, not a citizen now and we have excellent cardiologists in the country where I work, and there are superb cardiovascular facilities. I gathered information from my friends in Bengaluru who know this case well.

  16. Past Mysorean says:

    Hello Folks
    Please drop this discussion.
    Mr Ganapathy, an experienced very good journalist of the old good journalism school, sometimes writes articles like this, just as he wrote an article, meaning: ” From Trump with Love”,with an upbeat Trump and Modi lasting friendship, saying India is the closes ally of the USA, by just looking at the Gujarathi-crowd inspired : ” Howdy Modi” jamboree in Houston which Trump exploited cleverly. Now Trump plays the realpolitik: stopping work visas, and cancelling visas for foreign students, these affecting Indians, and Indian students, who are taking courses on line in this virus situation,in the US, having arrived to study, they say, but in reality to escape India.
    Consider the names, India, Mysuru, Deve Gowda, Siddu, Yedi, BJP leaders and Gandhis. Do you think that the term Merit has a place here? The ones who escaped the cesspit of corruption and nepotism in Mysuru and India, and moved to the civilised West , where Merit alone counts, are the lucky ones.
    With all these superlatives, politicians and the rich from Mysuru, once the Corona Virus menace is gone, will take the next plane to get their cardiac ailments treated as usual in the Western hospitals, not in this hospital and by this doctor, where specialists who achieved their fame on Merit work. I will bet o this.
    Hence, this writing about role model, with apologies to Mr Ganapahy, is a waste of time and space.

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