News South Asian theme issue

No mean feet

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 April 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:789

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  1. Dinesh Singhal,
  2. Samiran Nundy
  1. New Delhi

    Pramod Karan Sethi,the inventor of a revolutionary artificial foot, regrets that he has not been able to pass his idealism on to young doctors. He talks to Dinesh Singhal and Samiran Nundy

    It was pure chance that led Pramod Karan Sethi to take up orthopaedics. “In 1958 the Medical Council of India were to inspect Jaipur Medical College to see whether it was worthy of accreditation, but there was no department of orthopaedics. I—who was trained as a general surgeon and had recently returned from the United Kingdom—was ordered by the principal to start one,” Dr Sethi explains.

    This act of expediency on the principal's part had more far reaching consequences thanhe could have envisaged, for Sethi went on to design a light, hard wearing, cheap artificial foot that transformed the lives of thousands of people in the subcontinent. As Sethi worked in the Rajasthan city of Jaipur, it became known as the Jaipur foot.

    Sethi, a 76 year old who has devoted his life to helping disadvantaged people, believes that it was because he had not trained as an orthopaedic surgeon that helped him produce something that was genuinely new.

    “I think this made me look at the subject …

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