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Defying odds, 80-year-old disabled surgeon still at work

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Dr. Sharad Kumar Dicksheet is 80 years old. Paralysed by an accident in 1978, he has been a wheelchair user for the last over three decades. He is battling throat cancer and has a heart that functions only up to 18% of its capacity. Where would we expect such a person to be? Confined to a bed inside a hospital maybe? Well, he is confined to hospital beds indeed, but only to fix people’s defective faces and body – something that this plastic surgeon has been doing free of cost for poor patients for the past 42 years.

Dr. Dicksheet has fought against daunting odds to come up trumps and provide succour to millions of people in India. With precise moves and extremely neat sutures, it takes him less than 30 minutes to perform a cleft lip surgery on a one-month old child. Speed and efficiency are his two mantras and he performs 100-150 surgeries a day.

“In 30 minutes, he corrected my son’s cleft lip and did not charge anything for it,” said a grateful Banitha Venkatagiri, mother of Surya, the one-month old child.

A Padma Shri awardee, Dr. Dicksheet lives in New York for six months and spends rest of the time in India, from September to March, travelling across ten states solely to perform surgeries for cleft lips, squint eyes, facial scars, ptosis and birthmark removal. Such operations usually cost Rs. 25,000 but he does them for free, clocking 2,66,000 surgeries in India in the past 24 years.