Dr. Prathap C Reddy: A Doctor Turned Entrepreneur
Usually, every business is initiated to earn profit and grow big, but healthcare doesn't fall under the profitable category but under compassion and care. Today, let us meet the Founder & Chairman of Apollo Hospitals, Dr. Prathap Chandra Reddy (Cardiologist). He is known for bringing in the affordable medical facility to India when quality treatment was still a dream in the country.
In 1961, after completing his MBBS from Stanley Medical College in Chennai, Dr.Prathap joined Worcester City Hospital, Massachusetts, where he served as a resident doctor for two years and as a chief resident doctor for a year. Later, in 1970, he returned to India and associated with HM Hospital, a newly established hospital that can accommodate 40-beds. While working at HM hospital, Dr.Prathap's popularity grew wider, as a result, a person who had a heart attack, but never had a checkup previously, came up to meet Dr.Prathap for consultation. Consequently, he would attend nearly 30 to40 patients each day. But, one incident that occurred in 1979 changed his life altogether.
Birth of Apollo
Initially, Dr. Prathap's father Raghav Reddy dreamt of seeing his son as a businessman. But, Dr. Prathap's passion for IT led him to invest in the IT sector along with his brother-in-law, but destiny had different plans for him. Dr.Prathap's investment in Intel didn't work out, and he underwent loss. While continuing his practice, the death of a 38-year old patient, leaving behind his wife and children, turned as an eye-opener for Dr.Prathap. That patient's inabilities to gather a ransom to undergo a bypass surgery in the America, resulted in his death. At the same time, Dr.Prathap lost his father, who suffered from brain hemorrhage and his mother, who could not resist cervical cancer. Besides, he also lost his dear friend, Kumara Raja Muthiah, who had a sudden heart attack. The loss of numerous lives and his dear ones urged him to establish a superior quality medical facility center in India. Even though few hospitals offered good medical facilities, back then, it still didn't meet the medical standards. This eventually gave birth to India's first corporate medical system named "Apollo Hospitals."
The hospital set up took him about four years and several trips to New Delhi, to obtain the required permission to start his first hospital in Chennai. Eventually, he had built a good bond with Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi who even assisted Dr.Prathap in starting his hospital. He firstly invited Indira Gandhi to inaugurate his first hospital, but she declined and suggested the then President of India as the Chief Guest. In 1983, the first Apollo hospital was inaugurated by the then President of India, Giani Zail Singh, post which, the Apollo Hospitals began its journey with just about 150 beds. Dr.Prathap, being a spiritual man named his hospital, "Apollo" after the Greek god of medicine, light, music, law, and prophesy.
Today, the super-specialty center has spread across the country with a chain of 55 hospitals, 1,600 pharmacies, 60 diagnostic clinics, and about 11 nursing colleges. Dr.Prathap began his entrepreneurial journey, at the age, when people await their retirement. Yes! He had turned 50 when he established Apollo Hospitals, isn't this inspiring? Well, his idea of building a countywide hospital is not surprising in the present days. But, this was surely a significant step taken in the 70s. His four daughters Preetha, Suneetha, Shobana, and Sangita, holds vital executive positions in Apollo. Even without any medical or management educational background, these Reddy sisters have excelled in managing the reputed hospital just with their talent.
Awards & Accolades
Dr. Prathap has received several prestigious awards for his notable work in healthcare. In 1991, he received Padma Bhushan award, and later in 2010, he was honored with the country's second-highest civilian award Padma Vibushan. In 2017, India Today ranked him 48th in India's 50 Most Powerful People.