JOHN SCUDDER ORATION
Dr. K. Jeyachandran was a professor of Paediatric Surgery at Stanley Medical College. While in government service, he was made aware of the great need for medical service in a remote area of Denkanikota. He began periodic visits to this region, providing medical and surgical services to the tribal population in this area. Following a call to serve this very needy region, he took voluntary retirement and started working among these people, living with the bare minimum. His wife Dr.Rita Padmini an alumna of CMC (Batch of 1964) has been very supportive and has been contributing to the work along with him. They have trained tribal youth to take on different roles to support the initiative. Some of them have moved on to formal education in allied health care. The hospital, known as SMART Health center (Samaritan Medical And Research Trust) is located in Kamagiri, about 30 km from Hosur.
While they were teaching in a medical college the Jeyachandrans used to invite students to their residence for interaction and learning from one another. On one such occasion, a young MBBS student asked him, “Sir, why do you keep on telling us that we should only look at Jesus and not you? That means you yourself are not able to be like Him- then why tell us to do so?” This made him think and he was reminded of the letter the apostle Paul wrote (1Corinthians 11:1), where Paul had the audacity to invite others to imitate him as he imitates Christ. From that day, he started watching his ways, as he knew that others were watching him and he wanted them to not only watch but also imitate him.
Dr. Jeychandran goes by the dictum – ‘Freely you have received, freely give’. There are no charges for treatment except for Rs. 10 as a consultation fee. A ‘hundi’ kept next to his outpatient clinic invites tribal patients to put in what they can afford for the services rendered, whether an OPD visit or surgical procedure. A man of unimpeachable integrity, he believes that there should be no compromise in values and the quality of service whether poor or rich. His unflinching attitude towards honesty and integrity has led him to difficult situations but his faith in an almighty God who provides has carried him through the decades of service.
A man of faith and few words, his work has attracted friends, strangers and former students who visit and continue to stand by him, helping conduct various medical and surgical camps, providing their services and contributing financially. His life and words have inspired a generation of students and young doctors towards a life of service, integrity and faith. It would be an understatement to say that the medical work pioneered by him along with his wife has transformed the lives of those whom he has chosen to serve. Christian Medical College, Vellore is indeed privileged to have this servant of God to deliver the John Scudder oration.