Dr. Mrs. Preetha Reddy, Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals,

Prof. K. Srinath Reddy, President, World Heart Foundation,

Prof. S. Thanikachalam, eminent Cardiologist,

Prof. S. Kalyanaraman, eminent Neurosurgeon

Prof. C.M.K. Reddy, President, TAMPA,

Dr. G.N. Singh, Scientific Director and Guest Speaker,

Thiru Selvakumar, President, World Tamil Chamber of Commerce,

Dr. V. Sathyanarayanan,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good evening to everyone.


I am very happy to address this august gathering after presenting the third Annual Medical Excellence Awards to 14 eminent doctors, whose knowledge, professionalism and expertise have been benefiting society for many years.

Let me at the outset, compliment the World Tamil Chamber of Commercefor organizing this function to recognize the services of these doctors. As an organization of professionals and proud well wishers of the Tamil identity, the Chamber has been duly recognizing the services of professionals, institutions etc., through such functions. By promoting products and services from Tamil Nadu and by fostering goodwill and friendship among the Tamil community, this Chamber has been successful in creating awareness about the need for high standards in every walk of life. I am happy that the chamber has also been regularly endeavoring to promote tourism, architecture, engineering and many other areas.

I also congratulate all the doctors who have been honoured today. To be chosen for this award is a landmark in their lives. But, the real sparkle of this achievement lies in being chosen by an eminent jury comprising Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, eminent Neurosurgeon, Dr. S. Thanikachalam, senior Cardiologist and Padma Shri Awardee and Prof. CMK Reddy, well known surgeon. They are the final word in their field of expertise and their choice can only be perfect.

Personally, I have always held doctors and the medical profession in very high esteem and so, when this invitation came, I happily accepted it. As a person who spent quite a long period in Judiciary, which required a high level of impartiality and detachment, it was my policy to keep a safe distance from political, religious and other organizations. However, a gathering of doctors was always an exception, since I always believed and continue to believe in the importance and efficiency of our medical professionals who work day and night to keep our society healthy.

The service of doctors and their place in society have received unlimited praise in society. Many people, who are cured of their ailments would prefer to see the doctor as being second to God or even an incarnation of God. For many of us, the mere touch of a doctor itself is like a healing touch. When Mahatma Gandhi said that a service rendered for its own sake seemed the noblest, we knew he was referring mainly to the service in the health-care sector.

The confidence gained from the global medical expertise which gave us an increased life span and a greatly reduced infant mortality rate. It is our expertise in the medical field which helped to control and eradicate epidemics which in the past had wiped out entire populations. Therefore, an honor accorded to eminent medical professionals must be seen as society's expression of gratitude for its own well being. 

As a nation, India has made giant strides in setting up the state-of-the-art facilities for health-care. Today, we have some of the best hospitals and they are well known as destinations for health tourism and medical education for people all over the world. In fact, we all know that Dr. Preetha Reddy who presides over this function represents one such medical centre of excellence which has established a presence across 13 countries. Since such centres of excellence also manage medical educational and research institutions, their social reach goes beyond the mere provision of health-care.  Like her, there are some others also who represent well established institutions. I would request them all to pass on to the new generation of doctors, better knowledge as well as lofty values which must guide them in future.

As the Chancellor of universities including a medical varsity in the State of Kerala, I have been observing the young doctors graduating from various colleges. I often request young doctors to grab the opportunity   to serve in rural hospitals, because such hospitals are the only hope to the majority of our people. And, rural hospitals provide the best platform for translating their acquired knowledge into practice and for fine-tuning their skills as a doctor.  Yet, I find a certain level of reluctance on the part of our young doctors to serve rural areas. 

That we had to make rural service compulsory for young doctors in some States   is proof of the general unwillingness to work in villages. I feel that the eminent doctors honoured here today can help in changing this mindset. Will it not give a wonderful message if all the 14 of award winners chose to offer their services once in a month or once in three months to one remote village? I feel that it would also motivate the young doctors who work there.  Everyone is expected to see that medical care is given to the less privileged, even if they are not able to afford it.

For doctors everywhere, keeping pace with the new developments has become a major challenge. Today, every technological advance also brings with it ethical issues. The youngsters in the medical profession have to be guided to strictly adhere to the ethical practices, giving them top priority. For instance, the Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics Regulations, 2002 has set the professional standards for medical practice, which the doctors’ community has to strictly follow.  Doctor’s promoting themselves through advertisements with photographs is a gross violation of Indian Medical Council Regulations 2002. 

Section 6.1 of the Code of Ethics states that “Physician shall not make use of him/her as subject of any form or manner of advertising or publicity through any mode either alone or in conjunction with others”.

Corporate hospitals are free to advertise their facilities not with doctors.  In fact in 2013 Medical Council of India took disciplinary action against nine doctors who were featured in the advertisement. MCI Code of Ethics are binding only on the doctors and not the Hospitals.

Apart from this, we have special legislations like the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, which prohibit the determination and disclosure of sex of the foetus and prescribes criminal punishment for contravention.  Likewise, doctors are mandated to give disability certificate as per  the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 which provides for education, employment, creation of a barrier free environment, social security etc., to all differently abled persons.

Our doctors must realize that there are no provisions in the Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Motor Vehicles Act, which prevent government and private doctors from promptly attending to seriously injured accident victims   before the police complete legal formalities.  The priority should be to save the person and it is applicable to doctors, police or any other citizen who notices an accident.

A doctor should be an eternal student with a mind open to other streams of science and medicine. Here, I would also stress upon the need to have a mind open to other streams of science and medicine. India has had many traditional and indigenous medical practices.  Some of them are developing through research. But, our medical research loses because of the reluctance of various medical streams to accept each other.

Compassion is one quality that each doctor should possess and cultivate. A doctor cannot and must never become insensitive to human misery. For a medical practitioner, a patient should appear not as a customer, but as a cross section of the society we live in. A disease is not just a medical condition but a social issue that needs urgent medical and people's intervention.  This calls for a larger social vision on the part of a doctor.  If you can help our young doctors develop this vision, it would be the greatest service you can do. 

I appeal to all the private hospitals in association with the health department, respective corporations, municipalities and even in village level to organize communicable disease prevention programmes in their areas.  With the involvement of private hospitals in such programmes, the concerned authorities will be able to take preventive measures against such diseases more effectively.  Private Hospitals must also provide details of the patients seeking treatment in their hospitals for any communicable or other notifiable diseases to the respective health offices on-line.  This will reduce the intensity of the out-break of diseases.

Modern medicine has advanced a lot and today, the role of the doctor involves responsibilities larger than treating the patient. Besides diagnosing and healing, today's doctor has the task of convincing the masses through creation of awareness about basic matters like healthy practices and vaccinations. Success in such responsibilities can be achieved only through hard work and by winning the trust and confidence of society.

The attention of doctors and other medical professionals should also turn to people’s capacity to meet treatment expenses.  Now, Government of India and State Governments have introduced health insurance schemes to help people to handle their medical needs.  You can very well advise patients about such schemes and persuade them to enrol in such facilities.

In conclusion, please allow me to remind the doctor community here that the health of a doctor is very important to society. While you work hard to keep society healthy, please remember that your health also needs attention. Doctors should also be ambassadors of a healthy lifestyle. I say this because the number of doctors becoming victims of lifestyle diseases is increasing day by day.  The old saying in English that the best doctors in the world are Doctor Diet, Doctor Quiet and Doctor Merryman, meaning happiness, applies to all of us including doctors. And its message is that a healthy life means a happy life.  Let us all live a healthy and happy life so that we give our children a happier world.

Let me once again congratulate all the award winners of today. I also express my happiness over the participation of Medical Associations from Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Australia in this function.  I also compliment the World Tamil chamber of Commercefor organizing this function in a befitting manner.

Thank you,

Jai Hind