October 31, 2021 6:06:32 am
FROM walking nine kilometres a day to reach his school in Rajgarh in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh back in 1961, to being awarded 35 national and international awards, including the prestigious Padma Shri for his trailblazing work in cataract surgery— and now superannuating as Director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Professor Jagat Ram’s journey has been both illustrious and inspiring.
Professor Ram retired as Director PGI on Saturday after serving a tenure of four years and seven months, having spent 38 years in various other capacities at the prestigious institute. In his 55-month tenure as Director, Professor Jagat Ram contributed immensely to the Institute of national reckoning, taking it to new heights- be it in patient care, research or teaching.
In the testing times of Covid-19, Professor Ram rose to the occasion and demonstrated his extraordinary capacity for hard work, team spirit, and mentorship, inspiring teams from different specialties of PGI to work together to face this human catastrophe. Professor Ram is also credited with accomplishing many milestones during his leadership, as under the NIRF rankings, PGI has been the second-best medical institute in the country for four years successively. In Cadaveric Organ Donation, the institute has been ranked as the ‘Best Hospital’ for the last four years in a row. The other commendable initiatives undertaken under his leadership include a new screening OPD, which is coming up on 50.76 acres of land in Sarangpur to help manage a rush of three million patients annually (before Covid-19). Besides that, the PGI is now equipped with a 500-bed Trauma Centre, an Oncology Centre, a Neurosciences Centre, a Mother and Child Care 300-bed centre and a Geriatric Centre.
Prof Ram received an ‘Oscar in Pediatric Ophthalmology’, in Barcelona in 2015 and ‘Best of the Best Award’ in San Francisco in 2013 and again at New Orleans in 2016 for his work in cataract surgery. In 1994, he introduced the technique of phacoemulsification by replacing the older method of Extracapsular Cataract Extraction, while working at PGI as a faculty.
Almost a year later, he began to use the method to operate on patients suffering from cataract blindness and was able to successfully restore their vision. In the last four decades, Prof. Ram has successfully conducted over 90,000 cataract surgeries in adult patients and over 10,000 surgical procedures on children. He has also offered free eye-care services in over 130 relief and screening camps in rural areas.
Expressing his deep gratitude to PGI for his professional as well as personal growth, Prof. Ram stated, “This is an Institute of national importance, and there is a certain depth of dedication required to be here. So, one must not compromise on ethics at all. Also, teamwork is extremely important. Individual achievement does not make much sense until it is teamwork and the whole team is excelling. Only then the institute excels,” signed off Prof. Jagat Ram leaving a rich legacy to imbibe and follow.
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