Google honors Dr. Govinda Venkataswamy’s 100th birth anniversary with a doodle. He was an Indian ophthalmologist who is known to have dedicated his life to eliminate needless blindness. Dr. Venkataswamy is the founder of the renowned Aravind Eye Hospital which he started in 1976.
Dr. Venkataswamy was popular as Dr. V among his colleagues and patients. He was born on October 1, 1918 and his sad demise was on July 7, 2006. When he retired from government service at the age of 58 in 1976, he started founded Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai with his four siblings and their spouses as registered non-profit-organisation.
The hospital was initially a 11-bed clinic that operated out of a rented house, but it is now a renowned eye care hospital with nearly 4,000 beds performing over 200,000 eye surgeries each year. It serves with a network of 7 tertiary care eye hospitals, 6 secondary eye care centres, and 70 primary eye care centres in South India. Since inception, Aravind Eye Care has seen over 55 million patients, and performed over 6.8 million surgeries. In this hospital, around 70 percent of patients pay little or nothing.
Google‘s blog post about Dr. Venkataswamy notes that, “Dr. V could perform 100 surgeries in a day. Addressing the problem of blindness in a holistic fashion, he set up eye camps in rural communities, a rehab center for blind people, and a training program for ophthalmic assistants, personally performing over 100,000 successful eye surgeries.”
Dr. Venkataswamy was raised in Vadamalapuram, a rural village in Southern India. He received his medical degree from Stanley Medical College in Madras in 1944. Later in 1951, he qualified MSc in Ophthalmology at Government Ophthalmic Hospital, Madras. In his early life, he began his education at a school with no paper or pencils. They would spread sand from the riverbank on the ground and write with their hands. For his outstanding service to the nation, Government of India awarded Dr. Venkataswamy with Padmashree in 1973.