When Profession and Passion Collide – Miracles Happen!
Celebrating 40,000 reasons to smile
“19 years into our journey with Smile Train, and it has been nothing short of basking in the blessings of people whose lives have been impacted because of our medical interventions," said Dr. Subodh Kumar Singh, Senior Plastic Surgeon at G. S. Memorial Hospital, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
As a plastic surgeon who has dedicated decades to cleft care, Dr. Singh stands as a beacon of hope, committing his life to transforming lives. Having observed the challenging experiences of cleft patients in Varanasi due to limited access to awareness and treatment, he established G. S. Memorial Hospital in 2001. This dedicated facility, specialising in cleft and trauma surgery, became Smile Train treatment partner in 2004.
The hospital recently celebrated the momentous milestone of its 40,000th Smile Train surgery, and over the course of his career, Dr Singh has earned numerous accolades for his work in cleft care. Moreover, he is a household name in the city, recognised for both his expertise as a surgeon and his humility as a person.
As Smile Train’s programs advanced, G.S. Memorial has been amongst the pioneers who introduced cleft nutrition and speech therapy programs in the country. Dr Singh realised that providing nutritional guidance was essential to ensure that patients underwent timely surgeries and returned later for other essential therapies.
But, was it a cakewalk from the beginning? Certainly not!
According to Dr Singh, early on, nearly 20% of patients failed to return for their follow-up treatment. People weren’t aware, their minds were full of uncertainties. There are multiple instances where he had to personally intervene to convince parents to complete the treatment and he continues to do so.
“Parents often approach us, having spent several sleepless nights since their baby’s birth as the mother is unable to feed her hungry baby. Women often break down, as they are frequently blamed for their child’s condition. With no financial means to receive the required medical care, they come to us as frightened and helpless, desperately seeking guidance and support. We need to address their concerns and anxieties and dispel their misconceptions. Over time, I realised that I am a counsellor first, and then a surgeon. Achieving this requires patience and compassion”, said Dr Singh.
In a world where empathy and dedication often shine dimly, Dr. Subodh stands as a ray of hope for patients and families seeking support. His long-term association with Smile Train India is a testament to his commitment to making a difference in the lives of children born with clefts.
Dr Subodh Singh’s name will forever be inscribed in the golden pages of Smile Train's history for his connection with Pinky. He is 'The Man' who performed Pinki’s cleft surgery and subsequently accompanied her on the journey to receive the OSCAR® for the documentary 'Smile Pinki.'