As per a study reported in The Lancet (https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31668-4), 2.4 million Indians die of treatable conditions every year (this is more than twice the number of Indians dying due to tobacco in its various forms). This is the worst among 136 Low- and Middle-income countries studied. A little more than 800,000 die due to lack of access to care and twice that number die as a result of poor-quality care. This is the prevailing context in which the book “Healing Hands” has been written. The book is the story of a great surgeon; but more than that it is an attempt to put together a framework for delivering affordable, high-quality, affordable, tertiary healthcare for ALL Indians that is inspired by the what Prof Venkataswami accomplished at Government Stanley Hospital in Chennai over 3 decades ago.
From the cover – front flap:
1971: a young plastic surgeon stepped into Stanley Medical College and Hospital, a State Government institution in Madras, India. He had a singular purpose – to create a world-class service for patients. By 1991, not only had that dream been realised, but the Stanley Hand Injury Service emerged as the world’s largest centre for the management of hand injuries, earning a reputation for excellence that spread far beyond the shores of India. The surgeon was R Venkataswami, and this is his story. A story that has greater meaning and relevance for us today, as we face the enormous challenge of delivering high-quality, affordable, compassionate healthcare for all Indians
Comments about Prof Venkataswami:
“He is the senior hand surgeon of the world’s most populous hand center, where rich and poor receive the highest standard hand care and reconstruction without regard to the workers’ often meager resources – to me one of the “seven wonders of the world.” Harold E Kleinert, MD, Pioneer Hand Surgeon, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA, writing about Prof R Venkataswami