Aug 20, 2008
Mangalore: Dr M R Shetty - The Silent Workholic
by Florine Roche - Mangalore
It is said that comparisons are always odious especially when one is compared to their famed parents. But many take it in their strides to come out of the shadow of their famous parents to create a slot for themselves. Dr M Ramgopal Shetty, the soft spoken illustrious son of the well-known surgeon late Dr M V Shetty, has certainly lived up to the expectations creating his own imprints in the society.
Dr M V Shetty was known for his devotion to his profession which had earned him the respect and adulation from patients, fellow doctors and the general public. Greatly influenced by his father who also happens to be the first surgeon to set up a private surgical specialty hospital in Dakshina Kannada, a young M R Shetty was naturally exposed to the intricacies of service to the society. He imbibed the same qualities of his father and over the years has been successfully discharging his twin roles of a medical practitioner cum academician with élan. He played a quintessential role that metamorphosed the paramedical scenario in the state and the country as a whole.
Apart from managing the 50 bed M V Shetty hospital in the city founded by his father, who passed away in 1976, the M V Shetty Trust founded by his son Dr M R Shetty today manages 14 different graduate and postgraduate courses in different colleges affiliated to Mangalore University and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), Bangalore. The Trust has its own college campus on Kuloor Kavoor Road in the city.
PENCHANT FOR QUALITY HEALTH SERVICES
A product of Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore, who went to UK on a vascular surgery fellowship, M R Shetty came back to India in 1978 and worked in KMC Mangalore as Assistant Professor in Surgery till 1989. He established the M V Shetty Memorial Trust in 1985. While the district had enough and more qualified medical doctors, Dr Shetty felt severe shortage of Para-medical staff to cater to patients coming for treatment from different corners of the state. His penchant for providing quality health services and train professionals in allied medical fields paved the way for establishing the first private sector nursing college in the state in Mangalore in 1987, totally transforming the paramedical scene in the country.
Though dissuaded by friends and acquaintances Dr Shetty stood his ground and under the aegis of the Trust was instrumental in introducing varied vocational courses which were not in vogue in the district such as nursing, physiotherapy, Speech and Hearing etc. Dr Shetty recalls “I was termed as a fool by my friends for venturing into the paramedical field when no other private player dared to take risks. But I stood by my convictions to get paramedics without which hospitals could not survive. I am happy I am proved right”. There has been no stopping Dr M R Shetty ever since. Nursing college soon progressed to MSc and PhD. Next he started Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPT), another first in the state, a medical stream which heralded a silent revolution in patient care. Sometimes he has a hearty laugh over the bygone events that went to the extent of terming him a fool and how he had to strive hard to prove he was not.
TAKING RISK AND SETTING A PRECEDENT
Reminiscing those days which inclined him towards academic field Dr Shetty recounts “Those days there was a clamour to become a doctor and other branches of medical field were looked down upon. In western countries all medical personnel are treated as equal and I wanted such a trend to come here so that finally the patients are benefited. I was ready to wait and watch for 3 years and by then my students proved themselves as they were absorbed by hospitals with a good pay packet”, he states. He is now happy that the first batch of his students occupies top positions in the field in America. “That is the greatest reward I can get from my students”, he says.
Dr M R Shetty had special consideration for hearing and speech impaired children which led to the establishment of Bachelor of Audiology Speech Languge Pathology, another first in the state in the private sector. Apart from setting up a rehabilitation centre for hearing impaired, the Trust has now gone a step forward to establish “Disha”, a school for physically challenged children, at Kadri Tall Gate, Nanthoor.
To extend his services to a wider section of society the Trust runs the Blood bank at Government Wenlock Hospital from 2001 onwards. The blood bank was closed for almost 9 years before Dr Shetty took up the responsibility of running it.
Another feather in the cap of this silent workaholic was added this week with the inauguration of Dr M V Shetty Institute of Technology, at Thodar, Moodbidri, offering BE classes. Since the Shetty family hails from Moodbidri, it is the perfect way to pay back to the place of their birth by establishing the institute there. The Trust also runs a BA vocational course in fine arts offering unusual combinations of Carnatic Music, Bharathanatyam, Journalism and Computer Application.
SHORT TEMPER WITHOUT MALICE
The happiest moment in the life of this 63 year old workaholic is when his students get ranks in the university exams as it rejuvenates his spirits giving him more energy to work in this field. He is a tennis aficionado who represented KMC under Mysore University and naturally he loved his daily doze of tennis until he was advised to stop playing on medical grounds 3 years back. His day begins at 5.30 am and he is in the office by 9 a m, a regime which he strictly abides by. “Though I would love to take an active sport like golf, I cannot afford that luxury due to lack of time”.
But nobody complaints including his family as they are all accustomed to his non-stop style of work. With Dr Abdul Kalaam as his role model he needs no other inspiration to carry on the academic work so dear to his heart. As far as hard work is concerned his father is his inspiration. “My wife Hima Urmila Shetty, a retired professor of English at Agnes, gives me space without throwing any tantntrums” he says with a mischievous grin. Both his daughters are in the medical field. Divyanjali is an ENT Surgeon helping her father in the academic field and Rohila Shetty is a speech pathologist doing her PhD.
Greatest disappointment for him was when friends let him down or changed their mind after giving the promise. No human being is perfect and Any Dr Shetty accepts that short temper is his Achilles' heel. In the same breath he adds that “I don’t keep any hatred and in a way I call it my strength because I bear no rancor and my friends have understood me in this matter”, he adds.
WORK AS HOBBY
He is satisfied with his role as an academician for the simple reason that it has helped the public in general. But he has no plans to retire from service in the near future and has already chalked out his next course of action to do something in the field of primary and secondary education. He expects the government to raise the standard of primary education and also encourage the private sector in the field of education. “Government should encourage private sector to start satellite educational centres in different areas of the district”, he points out.
He has a word of advice for today’s unguided youth who lack proper guidance and are not prepared to hard work. “Work hard or be ready to face the consequences”, he states.
Since work has become a hobby for Dr M R Shetty he is certain that he cannot take retirement from his hobby. Having accomplished his set goals he is now ready to conquer whatever he has envisaged for the betterment of the people of this region. His dedication in providing quality health services at affordable rates especially to those in need and training paramedical professionals is exemplary. Hats off to this silent revolutionist who showed hard work has its own rewards.
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