Jayadeva Hospital bids an emotional farewell to Dr CN Manjunath, the doctor who lives in hearts

Dr Manjunath steps down as Director of Jayadeva Hospitals after 17 years; Dr KS Ravindranath to hold charge till new director is appointed.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Jan 31, 2024 | 8:50 PMUpdatedFeb 01, 2024 | 1:50 PM

An emotional farewell to Dr CN Manjunath: The heartbeat of Jayadeva hospital; Govt appoints Dr K S Ravindranath as Incharge director (South FIrst)

In the quiet hallway outside Dr CN Manjunath’s office, an unusual crowd of patients, staff, and colleagues have gathered, a mix of admiration and sorrow vividly etched on their faces. Some tried to force a smile.

Wednesday, 31 January, was no ordinary day at Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research Institute, popularly known as Jayadeva Hospital. It was the last day in office for its leader with the golden heart, a beacon of selfless service for over 17 years.

Dr Manjunath, the director, was preparing to step down from his role, leaving behind a colossal legacy. He had nurtured the hospital — like his baby — into Asia’s largest cardiac care facility.

Dr KS Ravindranath, renowned cardiologist and former vice-chancellor at Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, will now be in charge of the director, until the government finds a permanent head.

It was a poignant moment, a testament to the profound impact Dr Manjunath had on countless lives. Tears silently rolled down cheeks and hearts overflowed with appreciation for the journey he had led — a journey marked by an unparalleled dedication to healthcare and an unwavering commitment to the underprivileged.

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Heartbeat of Jayadeva

Dr Manjunath is a distinguished figure in the field of cardiology and healthcare, renowned for his exemplary achievements, unwavering commitment to change, and his family’s remarkable legacy.

The Karnataka government issued an order, appointing Dr KS Ravindranath as the in-charge Director of Jayadeva Hospital. (Supplied)

The Karnataka government issued an order, appointing Dr KS Ravindranath as the in-charge Director of Jayadeva Hospital. (Supplied)

He is also the son-in-law of former prime minister HD Devegowda. He not only revolutionised Jayadeva Hospital but also made significant contributions to society through his dedicated service and innovative healthcare solutions.

Dr Manjunath’s journey to excellence began with his education and training in cardiology, setting the foundation for a remarkable career.

His association with Jayadeva Institute began 34 years ago when he joined it as a lecturer. In 2006, he took charge as its director.

“It’s quite a satisfying day. I never imagined reaching the heights I have achieved today. When I took over as director in 2006, it was my dream to transform this hospital into a center of excellence and show that a government hospital can operate like a five-star corporate hospital while providing quality cardiac care at an affordable cost to a cross-section of society,” Dr Manjunath told South First in an exclusive interview on his last day as director.

“I believe I have fully achieved what I dreamt back in 2006,” he added with satisfaction.

Dr Manjunath was originally scheduled to retire by the end-July 2017, in accordance with government regulations. The state government extended his service for an additional six-and-a-half years, recognising his exceptional expertise and unwavering willingness to serve.

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‘Treatment First, Payment Next’

During his tenure, the hospital witnessed over eight lakh procedures, attended to over 75 lakh outpatients, and he personally performed around 60,000 surgeries. Dr Manjunath’s had been a journey of significant impact and growth.

“We’ve managed to find a good mix of quality and charity, which is rare. We’ve taken affordable cardiac healthcare to other parts of Karnataka, setting up world-class facilities and ensuring that care is accessible regardless of financial affordability. This has been crucial for our success,” he explained.

Dr Manjunath’s leadership transformed the hospital into a beacon of hope for cardiac patients. His ‘Treatment First and Payment Next’ policy, ensured that no patient was turned away due to financial constraints.

Under his visionary leadership, JICSR emerged as a world-class center for cardiac care and research. Dr Manjunath’s efforts led to advancements in cardiac surgery techniques, the development of state-of-the-art medical facilities, and the training of a new generation of cardiologists.

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Cutting-edge technologies and cardiac care

Under his guidance, Jayadeva Hospital introduced cutting-edge technologies, such as minimal invasive cardiac surgeries and advanced imaging techniques, making it a hub for cardiac treatment not just in India but also globally.

Dr Manjunath’s commitment to patient-centric care and innovation raised the bar for healthcare institutions across the country. The bed capacity surged from 300 to 1,800, with a focus on quality and affordability.

“We have all types of advanced cardiac facilities, newer technology, and devices,” Dr Manjunath said.

Dr Manjunath’s impact extends far beyond Jayadeva Hospital. He has been instrumental in spreading awareness about heart disease prevention and early detection, significantly reducing mortality rates in the region.

His efforts to improve rural healthcare infrastructure have made healthcare accessible to remote areas, saving countless lives.

The institute expanded to two eight-storey buildings, established another hospital in Mysuru and the hospital in Kalaburagi is almost set to ready by April 2024.

Interestingly, this government-run institution ensured that not just people from underprivileged backgrounds but even the elite got treated for their heart-related ailments. From several ministers to businessmen, the hospital has treated many.

Beyond his professional achievements, Dr Manjunath is a true humanitarian. He has dedicated himself to various philanthropic endeavours, especially in the field of healthcare.

His initiatives included organising health camps for underserved communities, providing free medical treatment to those in need, and promoting awareness about cardiovascular health through public seminars and campaigns.

His efforts to make cardiac care affordable and accessible have been recognised globally, with the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, commending the institute for its high-quality yet cost-effective services.

Dr Manjunath’s contributions have been widely acknowledged, earning him the Rajyotsava Prashasti, Karnataka’s second-highest civilian honor, in 1998.

His work has been documented in a biography, highlighting his journey and impact on society.

As Dr Manjunath steps down from his role at Jayadeva Hospital, his legacy continues, inspiring a new generation of medical professionals to follow in his footsteps.

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Government to decide on new director soon

Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil told the media that around 11 applications have been shortlisted for the post of director. The final selection will be made by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who heads the governing council of Jayadeva.

The meeting will be scheduled sometime in the first week of February and until then in charge director Dr K S Ravindranath has been deputed to run the institute.

According to sources, four names are ahead in the race for the coveted post. Dr KS Sadananda and Dr B Dinesh of Mysuru Jayadeva Hosptial and Dr KH Srinivas and Dr V Kumaraswamy from Bengaluru’s Jayadeva are said to be in the race as per seniority.