Dr Devi Shetty referred to Mother Teresa as an “inspirational force” for Narayana Health, India’s prominent hospital chain that has been a proponent of accessible healthcare.

Dr Devi Shetty, a leading cardiac surgeon, billionaire businessman, and philanthropist, was inspired by a saint to work towards making healthcare more accessible in India. He had the privilege of serving as Mother Teresa’s personal physician during the last five years of her life after first treating her for a heart attack in 1984. Dr Shetty is widely recognized as one of India’s foremost medical minds.

In a column reflecting on his encounter with Mother Teresa, Dr Shetty wrote that she was a source of inspiration for Narayana Hrudayalaya. She touched his life and motivated him to make a positive impact on the lives of the underprivileged. In 2001, he founded Narayana Hrudayalaya, which eventually transformed into Narayana Health – one of the largest hospital chains in India, encompassing 47 healthcare centres and boasting a market capitalization of over Rs 15,000 crore.

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Throughout his illustrious career, Dr Shetty has made significant contributions to healthcare in India. Growing up in a village in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district, he aspired to become a heart surgeon after reading about the world’s first heart transplant surgery. He pursued his medical education at Kasturba Medical College in Manipal and then trained and worked as a heart surgeon in the UK and USA, where he gained valuable experience in the cutting-edge healthcare environment. Following the completion of his studies, he worked as a cardiac surgeon in the UK and USA before returning to India with his knowledge and experience.

Narayana Health, with over 7,000 beds in more than 30 hospitals across India, has gained recognition for providing innovative, high-quality healthcare at affordable prices. In 2015, Dr Shetty successfully led Narayana Health to an IPO. Additionally, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, one of India’s wealthiest women, holds a stake in the company.

Dr Shetty has received numerous accolades, including India’s highest civilian awards, Padma Shri (2004) and Padma Bhushan (2012). He has also been recognized by Time magazine as one of the “50 most influential people in healthcare.” Furthermore, Dr Shetty played a role in designing Karnataka’s micro-insurance program, the Yeshasvini scheme. His net worth is valued at over Rs 9,800 crore ($1.2 billion), making him one of the wealthiest doctors in India.