Indian Doctor on Why You Should Still Love America

While the country may disappoint and be headed down the wrong road, it still makes sense to love America.

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NPR produced an amazing story about a doctor who provides cheap and skilled open heart surgery for poor people: “India’s Philanthropist-Surgeon Delivers Cardiac Care Henry Ford-Style.”

With Buddha-like calm, the pediatric cardiac specialist huddles over the spliced-open chest of 6-year-old Nitha Nisar. Peering into the cavity, I see a startlingly large heart, an affliction caused by a leaking heart valve, the team says.

“Repairing the child’s heart valve, it requires a lot of expertise,” Shetty says, making the maneuvering of forceps look like a ballet. “It is done in very few centers across the world. And we have done thousands of them.”

Shetty, who’s 61, insists that young surgeons at this teaching hospital attend painting classes to learn to treat instruments “like paint brushes.” It changes their “entire approach toward surgery changes,” he says. “Ultimately, we are all artists,” creating masterpieces.

Shetty adds matter-of-factly, “Because of the huge volume, because of the number of operations we perform on a daily basis, we have developed phenomenal skills.”

 The whole story is well worth reading or listening to. Shetty and his doctors do make money from the services they offer. However, they also give away service for less or for free to those who are poor. If I understand the basic method right, Shetty believes that as surgeons become more skilled from high-volume practice they can do more surgeries at even greater quality. Mass production saves healthcare. Shetty claims that India will be the first nation “to dissociate health care from affluence.”

That would be a great gift from India to the world. But in the meantime, we get this insight into Indian culture, at least where Dr. Shetty works:

Shetty figures in a culture that puts a premium on sons, families of boys will somehow raise the money. A girl in India, however, is far more likely to die before the age of 5 for lack of adequate food and medical care.

“They will never raise the money for a girl child,” Shetty says. “So if it is a girl child we talk to them very politely and the moment they start asking tough questions, we tell them, ‘Don’t bother, you don’t pay anything; we’ll take care of the child.'”

So Dr. Shetty is not just helping the poor with low-cost surgeries, he is rescuing girls from death by neglect.

Can you imagine treating a daughter that way?

The United States is ignoring a great deal of its Christian heritage. People use abortion to get rid of defectives as if they were less than human. But when I hear of situations like this doctor offering free services for girls because—to many families—only boys are worth saving, I realize that the presence of Christ is still being felt here, even though he is being resisted at the moment.

I am very grateful for the remaining influence of Jesus here.