Big visit to Mangalore

Prof. Sailer still talks of the day when he and Dr. Shetty saw and examined 543 patients.

When Dr. Dr. Vikram Shetty opens his surgery for patients with cleft lips or palates on the fourth floor of the university clinic in Mangalore/India, the queue of stretches from the waiting room and down the corridor. Parents sit and stand everywhere with their children, if necessary also sitting on the floor. Babies are crying, mothers cradle them in their arms. They come from Mangalore and from all over the region. Some have travelled by bus or walked for many hours.

It is hot and extremely muggy, even though the windows are open and the waiting room, as is usual in India, only has half-height walls. In Vikram Shetty's small office a fan rotates. The furnishings and fittings could hardly be simpler: a table, two stools, a steel filing cabinet and a computer in the corner, at which his assistant sits. Dr. Shetty, a trained general physician and maxillofacial surgeon, is regarded in India not only as one of the top specialists for operations dealing with facial disfigurements but also one of the most efficient. He operates on up to 1,000 patients per year.

Video of  the big visit to Mangalore

The consultations take place in a very focussed atmosphere. The patients enter the room, Dr. Shetty asks how he/she is and a few friendly words are exchanged. Then he considers the treatment's status quo: whether an operation has gone well, whether the wounds are healing, whether the ability of the small children to speak is developing without complications and whether follow-up treatments are necessary. The secretary notes everything down in a file, and that’s it.

Even today, Prof. Sailer still talks about the day when, together with Vikram Shetty, he saw and examined 543 patients in this way. "That was the last day of the year, New Year 2013. We had worked very intensively through to midnight and actually missed the New Year while still in the clinic, afterwards we were both completely exhausted. But it was the best new year I have ever experienced."     That is what the two doctors share, what drives them forward: the great satisfaction which they both derive from their work.