In the 1970s, working in Australia, KMC gained expertise in state-of-the-art cardiac surgery. Shifting to Chennai, he joined the Railway Hospital, Perambur and worked with another renowned cardiac surgeon Dr T J Cherian. To KMC goes the credit for performing the first open heart surgery in India with the very modest facilities available at the Railway Hospital. The two Cherians worked in tandem to build a great reputation for this hospital as a premier institution for cardiac care. It attracted patients, including celebrities, from all over the country.
KMC shifted to Madras Medical Mission, which soon gained reputation for treatment of heart diseases. He also helped build a modern hospital at Puduchery. KMC set up the Frontier Lifeline Hospital and the K M Cherian Heart Foundation at Mogappair. He has performed thousands of heart surgeries to patients from different parts of the country and several countries abroad.
KMC has been taking active part in spreading awareness on heart ailments. As the President of the World Congress of Thoracic Cardiac Surgeons, he interacted with his peers globally in bringing the best practices to India. In his long career KMC has presented several celebrities including Dr Christian Barnard who did the first heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. On October 2010 he conducted the 20th World Congress of the Society and got it inaugurated with a brilliant lecture by former US Vice President Al Gore on ‘thinking green.’ Unlike his peers concentrating on high-end medical facilities in crowded metros and cities with an eye on large custom, KMC conceived a medi- village. It is taking shape at Gummidipoondi 40 km away from Chennai on the border of Tamil Nadu with AP. KMC conceived this as part of a special economic zone that is entitled for attractive tax credits. This enabled him to procure medical equipment and systems from across the globe tax-free.
Developed as a SEZ…
The sprawling KMC Mediville spread over 360 acres, consists of a science centre, an animal farm, a large auditorium, a museum and a medical college cum hospital, to be built in stages along with a huge herbarium with medicinal plants, nakshatra trees, sandalwood avenues and hundreds of other flora. A look around is a veritable feast of pictures and contributions of dozens of luminaries who have helped in the evolution of medical science over the past two plus millennia and a huge collection, of around 7000 exhibits, of cardiac pathology specimens.
KMC also pioneered in this part of the country the system of xenograft (cardio vascular implants using bovine and porcine tissue grafts). Frontier Lifeline has performed over 900 xenografts successfully. An animal farm of cattle, sheep, pigs and dogs is specially reared at the Mediville. Sophisticated facilities for surgery on these animals, comparable to those on humans, have been created at the Mediville.
The dream project of KMC will do well with a larger dose of funding at modest interest.