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:
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.
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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