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Poverty Didn’t Stop This Man Building A Billion-Dollar Empire Inspiring Story of Dr Devi Prasad Shetty

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty

If you are a businessman, you have probably read the Harvard Business School case study on Dr Shetty that extols his method of providing high-quality heart treatment to all comers through a relentless drive to cut costs. Here is his inspiring story.

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty

Born in a small town called Kinnigoli in Karnataka. He is the eighth child among nine children. He was bullied by elder brothers and classmates and that’s when he decided to become strong. Then he took up body building and also learnt martial arts and practiced it for over six years. He wasn’t among the toppers in the school and once in a while he used to excel in subjects of interest. He was above average and was quite happy with that.

When he was in VIth standard, Dr Christiaan Barnard did the first heart transplantation in Cape Town and that was the day he decided to become a heart surgeon. Seeing parents getting older and falling sick and realising that only doctors can keep them healthy made me passionate about this profession.

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, a determined man by nature, completed his graduate degree in Medicine and later pursued post-graduate work in General Surgery from Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore.

After his post-graduate studies, he trained in cardiac surgery at Guy’s Hospital in the UK. As a cardiac surgeon, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty wanted to make healthcare affordable for the people in India.

While growing up, he witnessed many poor people dying at a young age because they could not afford medicines and medical treatment. To prevent such calamities, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty started the Manipal Heart Foundation at Manipal Hospital in Bangalore.

In 2001, he founded Narayana Hrudayalaya, which is a multi-speciality hospital in Bommasandra, Bangalore. Narayana Hruduyayala was valued at $1 billion in 2016., Narayana Hrudayalaya’s 28-32 surgeries account for 10-12 percent of the total cardiac surgeries done in India.

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty is a surgeon by profession, but he is also a great thinker and a philanthropist. After conducting much research, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty realised that healthcare costs can be reduced by 50 percent if hospitals adopted economies of scale.

Since Dr Devi Prasad Shetty is keen to help the poor, all his efforts in the field of medicine are aimed at reducing healthcare costs for the benefit of poor patients.

All his hospitals operate at low-cost, allowing surgeons to complete heart surgeries at one-tenth of the cost as compared to the hospitals in the United States. For these great achievements, Dr Devi Prasad Shetty has been given the title of Henry Ford of heart surgery.

Another great accomplishment of Dr Devi Prasad Shetty is the implementation of the world’s cheapest comprehensive health insurance scheme at Rs 10 per month. As of today, 4 million people in Karnataka are covered under this scheme.

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty won many awards for his accomplishments, including the Padma Bhushan Award for Medicine in 2012, Padma Shri Award for Medicine in 2004, Ernst & Young – Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003, and Karnataka Ratna Award in 2001.


He performed India’s first neonatal cardiac surgery on a nine-day-old baby, nation’s first video assisted PDA ligation, India’s first video assisted open heart surgery to name a few. He introduced the concept of free heart camp for villages of Northeastern hill states as a simple screening mechanism to detect early stage heart diseases and proved the concept of largescale heart surgery by performing twelve heart surgeries a day.

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Written by Shiva Sai Teja

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