US President offered aircraft to Mother Teresa

“When Mother Teresa was hospitalised in Kolkata, I received a call from the White House telling me that they would send the US President’s aircraft to pick her and provide treatment in any hospital in America; or if she didn’t want to travel, they would send a plane equipped with the most modern equipment to operate on her,” said Narayana Hrudayalaya  group of Hospitals chairperson Dr Devi Prasad Shetty.

He disclosed this at the national symposium on ‘The legacy of Mother Teresa and its relevance to India today’ organised by the Catholic Diocese of Mysore to celebrate the great personality’s birth centenary at the De Paul International School in Mysore on Saturday.

Recounting his personal experiences with Mother Teresa, Dr Shetty said that he met the latter for the first time in 1992, when he had to visit her home to treat her. Despite being one of the leading doctors and knowing the inside out of a human body, Dr Shetty said: “The first time I met her I knew she wasn’t like us. She was different. When you are with her, you feel like you are in a different planet.”

Describing another incident, he recalled: “One of the times when Mother was in our hospital, she asked me if I can take a walk around the hospital. After meeting many of the children, she told me ‘When god created children with holes in the heart, he must have been preoccupied. That’s why he sent you to fix the holes’”. Continuing Dr Shetty said, “It was one of the greatest compliments ever given to my profession.” While Mother Teresa is known world over, Dr Shetty cited an example of her humility.

“One day we were sitting in her office and a woman came and sought Mother’s help for treating her husband. Immediately she went with that woman to the hospital. On reaching the hospital she introduced herself with a slight bow to the receptionist by saying ‘I am Mother Teresa’”. Dr Shetty said he was taken aback by her humility. Here was a woman whom the whole world knew and she was humble enough to introduce herself, he added. Dr Shetty said Mother Teresa was an inspiration for him to start the Narayana Hrudayalaya group of hospitals. At present children from 76 countries come for operations in the hospital, he added.

Bishop of Mysore Thomas A Vazhapilly, former Goa and Mangalore Universities’ vice-chancellor Prof B Sheik Ali, Karnataka Regional Education Commission secretary Genevieve, Ryan International Group of Institutions director Grace Pinto and others were present.

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