An Eye For the Sky: Everyone Can Dare to Dream
“I am a self-made man, and I rose from humble beginnings to receive the best
possible surgical training in India and overseas, and I am happy that I could
come back to my own land and people to do good work among them. I want to
encourage and inspire young doctors to come back to their roots and provide
good services in areas where they are needed and valued.”
– Dr. Suresh K. Pandey
He wants to inspire the medical students and young doctors of India to dream big and then chase that dream to make it successful. “My passion is to motivate young students to
become better citizens of India and to excel in their field.”
Said Dr. Pandey
As a successful entrepreneur in the medical field, he wants to continue to provide good services and also train and inspire more and more young doctors to excel in their work
and provide services where they are needed and valued.
His city, Kota (Rajasthan), was famous for education, and it attracts more than 200,000 coaching students for preparation of medical or engineering entrance examination. It is his dream to see Kota city become famous in the field of medicine and healthcare. In addition to work related to eye surgery, he would like to continue his passion for increasing health awareness among people as well as motivating aspiring medical students and young doctors to do their best to become successful in their field and also live positively.
Dare to Dream
He was born in a village called Mohna in the Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan. His father, Shri Kameshwar Prasad Pandey, was a school teacher, and his mother, Smt. Maya Pandey, was a housewife. His family was not too well-off financially, and his village lacked basic infrastructure like electricity and roads, but he found solace in his studies with the dream of becoming a doctor. “I was motivated by reading inspiring stories of famous people”, recalled Dr. Pandey.
Inspiration to Become a Doctor
He was inspired by his grandfather Late Dr. Kamta Prasad Pandey to become a doctor. His grandfather was a freedom fighter who had migrated from Ballia (UP) to Rajasthan in 1943 after the Rebel Ballia (Baghi Ballia) movement. Before that, he had learned basic
eye treatment and the art of cataract removal in 1937 at Kishan Lal Jalan Eye hospital, Bhiwani, Haryana. Cataract surgery was not very advanced in his childhood days, and patients needed thick (aphakic) glasses. Still, the visually impaired patients used to
express gratitude to his grandfather for curing their eye problems.
Despite all odds, he prepared for the MBBS entrance exam with borrowed books, visits to the library and reading inspirational life stories to keep himself motivated. He managed to get selected for the MBBS course at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Medical College at Jabalpur, MP, and that too without the help of any coaching institute.
IN HIS OWN WORDS…
Studying MBBS was not easy for me as the medium of education was English, and I had studied in Hindimedium schools. The maximum interaction I had with my classmates and seniors was during group
discussions on various medical topics that helped me in understanding complex areas and clarified my confusions and doubts. Fortunately, I met helpful and supportive seniors who helped me in understanding
medical subjects during the first few months of the MBBS course. They even lent me notes and books to help me study. The process of adjusting to a completely different environment, understanding a new language and going through financial stress was hard, to say the least. I faced the toughest time of my life during the MBBS course. All these problems and financial difficulties were not bigger than my dreams, and I never let them bother or distract me from my main goal. I was a step closer to becoming a doctor, and I focused whatever energy I had on that one goal. Studies were a way for me to keep myself distracted from my worries. I stayed away from partying and students who wasted time having endless fun. I had no option other than focusing all my money, effort and energy on my studies if I really wanted to turn my dream of being an ophthalmologist into a reality.
Return to India – Journey to Medical Entrepreneurship
My wife (Dr. Vidushi Sharma, MD, FRCS, UK) and I then returned to India in January 2006, and with our insignificant savings, we started the SuVi Eye Institute and Lasik Laser Center in Kota on February 6, 2006. Word about our good work spread quickly, and within three years, the institute expanded remarkably. We started our clinical practice seeing 8 to 10 patients per day. Now, we see approximately 250 patients every day and perform 8 to 10 laser, major or minor eye surgeries per day. So far, I have done more than 60,000 successful cataract surgeries, with a very high success rate, and about 2,000 eye surgeries free of cost for needy patients. My wife, Dr. Vidushi Sharma, has been the biggest supporter in my professional and personal journey, like a friend, philosopher and guide.
Awards and Recognition
I was felicitated with the Achievement Award by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. I was awarded the Gold Medal by the Indian Intraocular Implant and Refractive Surgery Society twice. I was invited to perform live surgery at the international meeting at Milan, Italy, as well as at several Indian cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, etc. I was also awarded for the Best Surgical Video by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, USA. Dr. Vidushi and I were honored by the National President of IMA with the Outstanding Community Service Award, and the government of Rajasthan awarded us for our outstanding work in the field of ophthalmic teaching and the elimination of preventable blindness.
My Mentors, My Passion
I had the good fortune to come across many inspiring teachers and mentors who inspired me to become a successful doctor. I am grateful to my mentors, Prof. Jagat Ram, Prof. Amod Gupta, Prof. Mangat Dogra, Late Dr. J. S. Saini, Dr. Ashok Sharma, Prof. S. S. Pandav, Dr. Kanwar Mohan, Prof. A. K. Jain, Prof. Usha Singh at PGIMER, Chandigarh, Prof. David J. Apple in USA, Dr. Anthony J. Maloof, and Dr. E. John Milverton in Australia, who were instrumental in shaping and refining the surgeon in me as they taught me the art of eye microsurgery using both the right and the left hand. I am also thankful to my friends Dr. Somesh Gupta, Dr. Man Singh Chandel. I also get inspiration from books written by Shriram Sharma Acharya of Gayatri Pariwar. My passion is to motivate young students to become better citizens of India and to excel in their field.
Wedding, Family and Life beyond Ophthalmology
“I got married in June 2002. It was an arranged marriage and my spouse Dr. Vidushi Sharma is also an ophthalmologist. During that time she was pursuing her senior residency at Dr. R. P. Center for ophthalmic sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India. We are three members in our family- my wife, myself and our 13 years old daughter Ishita. About my hobbies, I enjoyed gardening, swimming, listening music, reading novels, books and visit to new places as my favorite activities. Currently, I am developing a small garden in my farm house and enjoying the visit to the garden during the weekend. The sweet fragrant flowers of different varies helps me to relax and it brings me close to Nature. I feel lost like Wordsworth in the beauty of blooms and blossoms around me.”
Dr. Pandey’s Message to Become a Successful Doctor
- Complete your medical studies and specialization training at the right age, before you plunge into family responsibilities, and get the requisite qualifications, training and exposure.
- Do not compromise on your medical training. Get the best possible training that you can get and empower yourself.
- It depends on you how much knowledge you can gather from your teachers or mentors. If you are receptive, obedient, hard-working and eager to learn, there is no end to how much you can learn from them.
- Always keep patient welfare topmost in mind, even if you are in private practice. Follow ethical practice.
- Learn how to deal with patients and cultivate good communication skills.
- Be approachable and accessible to your patients.
- Be determined and thick-skinned. Setbacks are bound to come in life. In the end, the one who succeeds is the one who does not allow setbacks to affect him. As Churchill famously said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.”