Health City founder Dr. Devi Shetty hopes to inspire future Caribbean doctors

Health City founder Dr. Devi Shetty hopes to inspire future Caribbean doctors

CAYMAN ISLANDS (December 18, 2020) – Dr. Devi Shetty, founder of Health City Cayman Islands, featured in a BBC TV documentary for contributing to revolutionizing the practice and administration of heart surgery for the young and poor, said he wanted children to be excited about medicine and about surgery so they could contribute as medical professionals to their developing countries.

Dr. Shetty, also chairman of India’s Narayana Health Group, reported a scholarship programme his organization set up was trying to get kids excited about medicine. In addition, he was hoping to help build medical schools in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere in the region, “so that once we have medical schools, when the kids start seeing these youngsters with stethoscopes on their neck, I think the kids will get excited, so this is what we want to do at some point in time.”

Featured in a four-part BBC-TV documentary – “The Surgeon’s Cut” – which premiered globally on Netflix on December 9, 2020, Dr. Shetty spoke to reporters after the premiere and lamented that surgery was “the orphan child of the public health systems in developing countries,” because hard-pressed governments were often forced to focus on communicable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus – which kills about three million people every year. However, he contended, “lack of access to safe surgery kills 70 million people.”

The episode highlighting Dr. Shetty is entitled “Heart & Soul” and described him as “a renowned cardiac surgeon and founder of India’s Narayana Health,” one of the largest medical centers in the world. The “Surgeon’s Cut” follows Dr. Shetty as he treats patients from all walks of life, prioritizing low-cost, accessible health care while he and his team together perform upwards of 30 surgeries a day.

Too often, Dr. Shetty said, people belittle the importance of heart surgery on children but, he pointed out that continued hospital visits could bankrupt a family in some developing countries where the inability to pay health care costs was one of the most common causes of  debt. So, his provision of low-cost cardiac surgery, he reported, made him a person who is “a heart surgeon by profession, but my job is putting a price tag on human life.”

 Dr. Shetty’s aim was to make health care affordable and accessible to everyone with more emphasis placed on surgery because the demand was so great. Patients in India, for example, required about 65 million surgeries a year but only about 25 million surgeries were performed, leaving a shortage of 40 million.

 He declared “if the solution is not affordable, it is not a solution,” and he added, “there is no point talking about advances in heart surgery or cancer care or any of those if you can’t afford it.”

Combining affordability and profitability is possible according to Dr. Shetty who, as Mother Theresa’s physician, was inspired to accelerate the provision of complicated surgeries for families with little or no ways of paying. In doing so, he is also showing the world how to build medical institutions which operate as for-profit centers while at the same time taking care of the poor.

A lot of the skepticism he faced from critics equating low cost with a cheap, substandard product evaporated when Dr. Shetty was featured in a cover story in the Wall Street Journal. He revealed his hospitals, accredited by Joint Commission International, were doing heart surgery for a fraction of the price in the United States. At Health City Cayman Islands, the cost is approximately one quarter of that in the USA, and in his facilities in India it is about one tenth of the USA price – all at comparable quality health care institutions.

Health City Cayman Islands Clinical Director, Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, noted that Dr. Shetty’s revolutionary provision of high-quality, and accessible health care via Health City Cayman Islands is saving young lives in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere.

Shomari Scott, Chief Business Officer at Health City Cayman Islands, said, “To be one of only four surgeons in the entire world featured in this documentary is testament to the unique and ground-breaking nature of Dr. Shetty’s approach to medicine. Never before has anyone focused on providing the best possible quality at the lowest possible price while saving thousands of lives in the process.”

View The Surgeon’s Cut series trailer here: