Obituary: Dr. S. S. Badrinath, founder of Sankara Nethralaya

Hours after the passing away of famed ophthalmologist and the founder of Sankara Nethralaya on November 21, Dr. S. S. Badrinath, the funeral rites of this Mandavelipakkam resident were conducted at a city crematorium.

The simple doctor, aged 83, who had been spending the last leg of his life at his residence, had often told his senior colleagues and the management that work at all the Nethralaya centres should go on even in the event of his passing, that patients should be affected.

Dr Badrinath was a vitreoretinal surgeon who started on a mission in 1978, at a 17-bed hospital on College Road, Nungambakkam and converted it, with handsome donations from well-wishers, into a top class eye-care centre that was known across India and abroad.

He did his schooling in the city, completed medical studies at Madras Medical College and studied ophthalmology at a college in the USA. He worked there for some years and on returning to Madras, worked at a few city hospitals including the HM ( Hirendra Mehta) Hospital.

Dr. Badrinath, who had been impacted early in life by the travails of children with serious¬† eye problems, ensured that a good part of Sankara Nethralaya’s services were provided to the poor and people from low-income group, raising the monies from payments made by patients who could afford the top-end treatment here.

Generous donations from V. D. Swamy, C. U. Shah, Rata Tata and Nani Palkhiwala enabled the expansion of Sankara Nethralaya under Dr.Badrinath’s leadership. Alongside, the research here provided low-cost treatment procedures and led to new findings in ophthalmology.

Dr Badrimath was highly influenced by the swamis of the Sri Kanchi Mutt; he had operated on Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi-swami.

He was decorated with the Padma Bhushan and the Dr B. C. Roy awards.