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Home > City Resources > Health and Medicine > Messiah of the deformed poor

Performing with dedicationAbout two million babies are born with facial defects like Cleft lip, Squint eyes, Scars in India every year. These defects can be corrected with plastic surgery which costs in the range of Rs. 5000 to Rs. 25,000. Poor families can't afford such corrections. But about 300 poor people from a few months old to 70 years suffering from congenital disorders and facial deformities got a new life and new future in the hands of the world famous plastic surgeon Dr. Sharad Kumar Dicksheet, at the Free Plastic Surgery Camp held at CDR Hospitals, Hyderabad from 4th to 8th February 2001.

"This is our second camp. We started conducting free plastic surgery camps with the help of IIM Ahmedabad Alumni. Dr. Sharad Kumar Dicksheet has been participating in free plastic surgeory camps being held at Aurangabad since 1976. From the year 2000 he has been participating in Hyderabad camps also. He completed his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) from Nizam College," said Dr. Viajaya Kumar, Strategic Business Unit Head, CDR Hospitals and in-charge of the camp.

Dr Sharad Kumar Dicksheet Dr. Sharad Kumar Dicksheet, who was born and brought up in Maharashtra is now settled in USA. His schooling was done at Wardha while he got his Medical Degree from Nagpur. He left for the USA for higher studies in 1958, and specialised in Plastic Surgery in the year 1963. Dr. Dicksheet, who hails from a lower middle class family, went through a tough financial situation till his graduation. He had to get financial assistance from friends and society to pay for his higher education. Now that he is well off financially and has gained enormous reputation in the Medical field, he wants to work for the society through the conduction of such camps. Young patients, particularly small kids, and young girls suffering from these defects on the face especially require plastic surgery. They cannot eat or drink normally due to cleft lip and palette, while young girls with such and other defects are not likely to get married. Dr. Dicksheet realised this need of the Society and decided to offer his skills and services for such needy people. Dr. Dicksheet is also specialised in Squint Surgeries. Many young girls of marriageable age with Squint or Cleft Lip could get married only because of such Surgery and reconstruction of their facial appearance by Dr. Dicksheet. It is a new lease of life for the girls and for the kids as well, who would otherwise have to face rejection and depression.

 With a ray of hope He has conducted various free plastic surgery camps and operated on more than 30,000 patients. He can correct a squint in just 4 minutes and cleft lip reconstruction in 10 minutes. He wants to give new life to as many people as he can in his life time, because only 18% of his heart is working properly. He met with a car accident in 1978, which left the right side of his body paralysed. Four years later, just when his recovery was complete, he was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx, as a result of which his vocal cord was removed and he lost his voice. After this he suffered three massive heart attacks and has undergone two bypass surgeories.

Awaiting a bright futureInspired with Dr. Dicksheet's noble work, usually many renowned plastic surgeons of US accompany him during his five month free camps in India. But in Hyderabad, the local plastic surgeons Dr. G.V. Sudhakar, Dr. Niranjani and Dr. Venkat Rao helped him in the operation theatre, while Dr. Ram Appa Rao provided Anesthetia services to the patients. " A total of 330 surgeories were performed during the five-day camp of which 83 were dermal abrasions, 144 were cleft lip repair, 59 squint, 15 ptosis (Falling of eyelid), 7 Nasal deformity correction and other 22 were miscellaneous," explained Mr. Vijaya Kumar.

As it was the second camp in Hyderabad and the publicity through news papers and banners worked well, patients from all over Andhra Pradesh came to the camp to utilize the rare chance. "This camp is a boon to the children like my son who gets a new face," praised Parvathi, who came from Warangal with her 6-year-old son suffering from cleft lip. Sheshagiri Rao, a 22 year handicapped, who has been suffering from cleft lip since his child hood said, "I would be lucky Creating better facesif I am operated by Dr. Dicksheet." Of course there are so many people who came to the camp with great hopes left in despair as Dr. Dicksheet had no time to operate on so many patients in five days. But Dr. Dicksheet will come again in the first week of January 2002, and hopefully then all who went disappointed this time will have a chance.
-Mohan G Jagan
Photographs by: K.P. Devadasan

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