Podcast 917: Excellence Has No Borders with Dr. B.S. Ajaikumar

I recently had the honor of interviewing  author Dr. B.S. Ajaikumar from the HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd in India about his new book entitled “Excellence Has No Borders.”

Dr. Ajaikumar is a wonderful thought leader, author and a “doctorpeuneur”  and the Executive Chairman of  HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd., HCG is India’s largest provider of cancer care is at the forefront of the battle against cancer. Through its network of over 26 comprehensive cancer centres spread across India, HCG has brought advanced cancer care to the doorstep of millions of people.

In this interview with him, we speak about healthcare, cancer and survival.  He also cited some stories of his patients where we can learn lessons and he created a world-class cancer hospital vhain

If you want to learn more about Dr. Ajaikumar,  his company and his book, please click here to visit his website.

ABOUT THE BOOK

in Excellence Has No Borders, Dr, B.S. Ajaikumar, an oncologist, answers these questions in an inspiring and fascinating narrative. He details how he has made cancer treatment accessible to all and created a chain of world-class cancer hospitals across India. Providing a captivating account of his entrepreneurial journey, Dr Ajaikumar recounts the challenges and successes on the path to becoming a doctorpreneur. The book, containing lessons from his life, shows how tenacity, hard work and self-confidence can go a long way in achieving the unimaginable. It is a must-listen for anyone looking for inspiration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr BS Ajaikumar is the Executive Chairman of HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd (HCG). Dr Ajaikumar founded HCG to realise his vision of making advanced cancer care accessible to all. He has been the driving force behind HCG’s growth since its inception. He has served as the CEO from 2005 to Jan 2021.

Dr Ajaikumar’s contributions to the field of cancer care in India and his success as a first-generation physician entrepreneur have been widely recognised. He has been awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the CII Regional Emerging Entrepreneurs Award, and the BC Roy Award by the Indian Science Monitor. Dr Ajaikumar is also the recipient of the Karnataka Rajyotsava Award.

Dr Ajaikumar has been a practicing oncologist in the US and India for over three decades. He completed his residency training in Radiotherapy from the MD Anderson Hospital and Tumour Institute of the University of Texas, and his residency training in Oncology from the University of Virginia Hospital, Charlottesville. He received his MBBS from St. Johns Medical College, Bangalore.

 

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited)

of the interview.

Dr. BS Ajaikumar Interview
Sun, 3/27 1:04AM • 44:56
SUMMARY KEYWORDS
india, people, patient, life, doctor, treatment, md anderson, treat, oncology, book, cancer, ventilator, years, oncology patients, cardiologist, challenge, story, son, lose, good
SPEAKERS
Greg Voisen

Greg Voisen
Welcome back Inside Personal Growth, this is Greg Voisen, the host of Inside Personal Growth. And today joining me from India is Dr. B. S, Ajaikumar. And he has a new book out called Excellence Has No Boarders. Good evening to you. How are you doing?

Dr. Ajaikumar
I'm doing fine, Greg, thank you.

Greg Voisen
Great. Now what city are you joining us from?

Dr. Ajaikumar
I'm in Bangalore, India

Greg Voisen
Bangalore, Okay. He's in Bangalore. And this book and his, for my listeners just so they know. He is the founder of HCG network. And you can get that by going to hcgoncology.com. To learn more about him, but I'm going to tell you a little bit about him before we get into the podcast. Dr. Ajaikumar is the Executive Chairman of Healthcare Global Enterprises. He founded H. C. G, to realize his vision of making advanced cancer care accessible to all. He's been a driving force between HCG’s growth since its inception, and served as the CEO from 2005 to 2021. His contributions in the field of cancer care in India and his success as a first generation physician entrepreneur, have been widely recognized. He has been awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the C II regional emerging Entrepreneur Award, and the BC Roy Award and the Indian Science Monitor. He is also a practicing oncologist in the US and India for over three decades, completed his residency training, and radiotherapy from the MD Anderson Hospital, and Tumor Institute of the University of Texas and has his residency training and oncology from the University of Virginia Hospital, Charlottesville, where he received his MBBS. From St. John's Medical College. Well, it's a pleasure having you on the show, and for you to speak about the ground breaking work that you've done. And I think this book is really kind of a combination of the ground breaking work and a lot of stories. And, you know, it is a some about you, and a lot about what you do. And in the introduction of the book, you shared two big stories of your life that sparked and nurtured you and gave you a sense of direction you said, one is your story about losing $22 million, and only having a half a million dollars left, I guess, when you're able to rebuild your life and believe that anything is possible. The other one is the story of your son that taught you the fine art of detachment during times of crisis. And obviously, being an Indian descent and eastern culture, you know, that detachment element is part of who you are. So your son was teaching you that if you could share these stories with our listeners, and how this kind of influenced you to kind of keep going to have that motivation, motivation to keep going.

Dr. Ajaikumar
I feel throughout my life journey, as you will read in the book, I'm always been a positive person. I always look at glass being half full. And, you know, my journey in US going through the training at MD Anderson, training in medical oncology. And under seeing the advanced cases, you know, which came from all over the world, and actually MD Anderson was like a last hope people would come and I remember treating patients with Phase One drugs, very lot of toxicity, but still, they said My body's an experiment. So these were all the things which gave me that, you know, the motivation to do things which are very much needed. So along with that journey, you know, of course, I wanted to make sure that you know, when I when I traveled across India in 1980s, saw the great gap between how we were treating patients in us in India. I felt that I need to come back. And when I look at the question you asked me about 20 million loss, you know, I thought you know, I never went to any entity for saying I'm great doing this great job and putting up this center in India, please give me a donation, I am not I don't have that DNA, I thought I should do everything on my own. So with this in mind, you know, I had, you know, built this kind of fortune over multiple decades. But unfortunately, in 2000, you know, with a bubble, and I lost the money, you know, it was very easy for me to give up and go back to my practice. And that is what and one time I remember my wife telling maybe your to go back, forget your dreams about India. But I became more determined in I knew that there is no going back on it, whatever the issues are, I will take the challenge and do it. And that has been a remarkable journey, I put the pieces together slowly built my life back. And you know, in 2003, for, you know, I moved back, somehow convinced my family moved back. And part of the reason I had this thought process, and I approach a challenge is because of my son, become my son, you know, when he was born in 1990 9092, we made a diagnosis of Duchene muscular dystrophy. I took him all over US, Canada for treatment, and there is no treatment. In fact, I remember at the University in Iowa, he being told that the expert doctor told me that Dr. Don't waste your time, he's not going to live, it's not going to live beyond 16. But you know, as approach, having been an oncologist, I said, Okay, I told my Well, let us accept that and see what we can do better on that. So here we are today, with all the things you know, I did some research and also, you know, looked at some form of therapy. And the way we approached him today is 32 is the longest survivor inhibition, one of the longest survivors doing with good quality of life. But what happened to him four years ago, when he had a fall, and you know, went into septic shock. And when he had, you know, So, multi organ failure. And you know, obviously, you know, these kids are very immunosuppressed because they are on long time steroids. And very difficult to manage. Very few people survived from this kind of episodes. But we pulled him out, he was on a ventilator, actually, I managed him at home in a home ICU. Because of the adrenaline crisis, a lot of things happen. I learned a lot. I remember his blood pressure being like 60 by 011 84, blood heart rate. But we pulled him out and asked him one question. What were you thinking when all of this was happening? He said, I knew somehow he will pull me out. That was his answer.

Greg Voisen
That's great. They say like, father like, son, right? So you know, he has this positive mental attitude here is 32 wasn't supposed to survive all that what? What a wonderful story, you know, and what a wonderful thing for a father to be so involved in, you know, his care and understanding and your wife as well, I'm sure. And you, you know, you stayed in chapter two, that there's no greater nightmare for a helpless five year old than an elder brother sibling, who's a super achiever. And on this, you're referring to your brother, Amar, what experience did you have living under his shadow, if he's a super achiever

Dr. Ajaikumar
Being the second son, my brother being a very, like you say, super achiever. At the age of five, he could code a six period plays, he could take part in drama, great orator. All of that, you know, had an influence on my dad. And he was he was a super achiever, and I have to grow under the shadow. But I felt you know, the issue was I was underestimated in the family. And I was like, maybe they thought I will not achieve anything. My mom at one time was telling maybe he'll become a sportsman or a or working some place. Something we were there it was a put down effect, which I don't think they meant it that way. But I heard these conversations, but I was quite good. But some of the instances very humiliated me brought my brother helped me a lot. That is that is where you know, I see sometimes there are turning points in your life. When he did that, that I'm no good. I took it as a challenge. And I remember But in my 10th grade, I overtook him in the grade, that immediately my family like woke up, oh, my God, he's good. So suddenly my father comes to me and says, Oh, you are astrology says you're going to be a great doctor, you know, do this or suddenly recognize me, which was, you know, it was good, but living under the shadow for years. While it is difficult, I felt it has really given me some insights into life, and made me more confident and challenge the system that is well, you know, I kind of me being an entrepreneur today is partly because of that. I'd like to take risks and challenge the system. That is where it has helped me.

Greg Voisen
Wow. Well, that's a great story. Now, you know, in chapter four, you speak about working temporarily in a nursing home where you ended up working for just two days when you had to quit, because your sense of purpose. And I think this is important element here about this book. And about your drive? Is somebody defining their purpose in life? And why are they waking up in the morning? And what are they doing it for? And who are they serving? What are the factors that led you to quit your job? And what advice can you give to the listeners who are in kind of the same situation? There's a lot of listeners out there who listened to my show, because they want to be inspired. They want to do something different in their life. They want to transform, they're seekers. They're seeking something new and different their life, what advice would you give them?

Dr. Ajaikumar
See on this matter? When they came to us, as a fully qualified doctor, I was waiting for my residency posts. But you know, usually the residency post starts in June, July. And my brother said while you're waiting, why don't you maybe earn some money go to Boston Area work in a nursing home, I had still not got the residency posts, always you feel insecure of course, and here you are dependent on the product. So I said oh can try but when I went there, and I was doing some job, which is not even done by nurses, you know, and for AP I said, Is this what it is life about? You know, should I really compromise what I am whatever capable and do this I said, Certainly I did not come for this. Well, in case I cannot get my residency, maybe I can go back to India for a year and come back later. I can do have more service there actually, as a doctor. So with this in mind, even though you know us was No, obviously people looked at us people wanted to come, I was ready to go back. So I this read that is when I call my brother and said look, I had a greyhound ticket round trip, actually. So I said, Look, I still love the round trip, I'm coming back, I don't want to be here. I know I just cannot feel like I belong here to do this kind of work. However great it is, I don't belong. So what I want to tell people is their introspection is very important introspection to see who we are, what we are, why we have come. And based on that we have to take a call. The call may be a difficult one, the easy route is very, not that, you know, you can take the easy route that is theirs, they're available, okay, I'll work here on some money till whatever happens. But I said that is not me, whatever the difficulties are, I am going to do what I want to do not know, this is why I came here. I want to be an expert in oncology. If that is what happens, I will do it. So with that determination, I moved back and fortunately I got a post in University of Virginia. And then of course, you know, the mecca of oncology MD Anderson, and that do the MD Anderson was amazing story. You know, they told me, Look, we don't have any post for three years. And if you want you can come for interview again. I took a greyhound from Chicago and went all the way. And when I landed in Houston when they interviewed me for three days. They were very impressed. I suppose because of that. They said not only we are going to offer you plus right away, but we will give you a big jump in your salary, your stipend program. So those were the you know, those give you that confidence, man, I must be good to be recognized by MD Anderson, suddenly no, that changes your whole perspective and gives you that self-confidence, and then to move on and then that is why I always say, we can put me in the in a place in Alaska in the middle of nowhere, I will come out alive. Even though you know, the Brooks Range, people say they don't come out alive if they're thrown there. But I always read I come out ahead. And I used to play tennis a lot. And people you know, I won the city doubles championship bear Iverson near Chicago. And my friend, Ray and me. We always used to say I used to really go after him in singles, he used to say, Why is it you are down five, Lau and Z and allow 40 You're still fighting as though you're good with. Come back?

Greg Voisen
Well, you know, it's interesting, because within that, you know, when you quit a job, there's an element, obviously of risk, you know, no money coming in, you've got to find something else. And it just shows me that along with your faith, in that you're going to come out, okay, you are willing to take risks. And you know, in chapter five, you speak about the situation that made you change your choices, specialty and medical studies, you originally set off and I just had a heart surgeon on here speaking you wanted to be a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon, thoracic surgeon. And because of that your favorite subject in medical school, you are very good at it. Can you let the listeners know what was the new specialty and what made you switch to a different specialty, when really your focus was cardiology.

Dr. Ajaikumar
Now, you know as a medical student, in those years, we're talking about 19, early 70s oncology was not looked upon as a good subject because there were no definite treatments. And we were not exposed to that much. But as a cardiology, everybody was craving for cardiologists, and you know, your cardiologist means you know, your parents will feel good. My son is a cardiologist. But I always liked cardiology, you know, listening to the murmurs and telling people what it is making a diagnosis. But when it came to final year, and, you know, I saw one of the most amazing things a young girl with a roommate rheumatic heart disease. And she also had myeloid leukemia. And that is when I realized, Oh, my God, you know, she may not live long, this was in India. So this kind of, then, of course, I got into rotation, I never saw her, I would assume she died. But when I went to us in my rotating internship at Virginia, I saw again people with a lot of pain, and lot of, you know, no treatments, morphine. So I asked my professor, look, what is going on in cancer care? Why is this you know, and it was an evolving field. That is when I decided what is hard heart is only what is cancer, something which happens within your body, the challenges are much more, how do we diagnose cancer, and what may be the treatment and there is so much research you can do. That is what prompted me to really even look at MD Anderson as a dedicated Cancer Center, and go, they're involved in the extensive research in terms of developmental therapeutics. So what really prompted me to look at oncology is a challenge. And what I felt is that oncology patients are not treated properly. We've used the words, victims, and we said terminal care, hospice care, palliative care, so many terminologies were used. And even the society was using cancer where if there is corruption, nepotism in the society, people said, it's a cancer of the society. Cancer had such a name. For me, it was I think, Man, I should take up this challenge, and really understand this so called deadly disease, and I contribute to that. So that is not like I really took up the challenge.

Greg Voisen
Well, it's interesting, because when my son got chronic myelogenous leukemia, and he was 21 years old, usually doesn't happen, as you know, to a younger people. And we went to he was at UCLA at the time. It was a student, actually at the time. And we went to City of Hope, and they said, Well, you can do all of these radiation triggers. Minson so on, and he was 21. He was just 21 at the time, or you can take this new drug called Gleevec. Yeah. And we put him on Gleevec, he chose the Gleevec instead of it. It is now let's see how many years later where he is 41 next month. Wow. So 20 years he's been on. I think he's on Spry cell. Now, we are not Gleevec. But it just shows you the advancement that's been made. You're right. It's a chronic, many of the Leukemia can be treated with good treatment and a good regiment. And I also believe in the fact that diet and exercise and all kinds of things play a major role in all that as well.

Dr. Ajaikumar
Now you're doing good, that's great news. Good.

Greg Voisen
Yes, I have two grandchildren, which I didn't know I was going to have. So I'm very happy for that. You know, you shared a lot of medical stories in the book, and one was a story of African American girl who got sepsis who had success. Tell us a story about this patient and why you consider what happened to her as your mistake you called it. You know, sepsis is something that people can get right?

Dr. Ajaikumar
Now, I think, as a doctor, you may spend, you know, half an hour with a patient 30 minutes, but the patient always lives with you. See, you always wonder, could I have done things something different. And you know, when the patient goes through the sepsis, septic shock, so many things happen. And you lose a patient, you know, you remember the smiling face? You remember, I know I'm there, trust in you, they come with our hope. And you put all your effort, you go to bed you think of them, but you feel when you lose somebody, somehow it sticks with you. It is doesn't mean you know, you are attached but you feel always is there something else I could have done. And some of the initial phases I was going through with this patient, where I was seeing so many sick patients, and you'll never you'll lose somebody, it is something it was used to kind of really be with me. I won't say it would haunt me but it be with me. It is like more I could have done something else should I have consulted some other specialist? Should I have put together a plan? Should I have done some other insertion of catheter, so many things come across. And this is something you know, people feel great, honestly, after years to get a get over it, you don't you know, each patient is precious to you. Whether that is why I suppose some of us become doctors, and it is never each life you lose or each slide to gain. You learn something from it, and you live with

Greg Voisen
it. Well, you know, this doctor that was on his heart, a world famous heart surgeon Simon Malthus, who's now here in the US started in Canada, but 160 articles written and just phenomenal. He was saying that, you know, during the pandemic, which I don't know about India right now, but it has subsided tremendously here that, you know, heart surgeries were pushed off, you know, it was kind of like, well, let's wait, want to wait till after the pandemic. And I make this commentary for this reason, because he said, you know, we would lose patience, or we didn't know if it was COVID. Or if it was something else. Right? They needed the heart surgery. So many of them would come in with conditions or they come in with ailments. Did you experience this just phonetic challenge in your clinics during COVID? And I'm saying it's not that it's completely gone, maybe in India, but here in the US we are seeing huge reduction in it. How was it for you to operate during that time?

Dr. Ajaikumar
Yeah, in India, we have had two waves even now, of course, the COVID is receding and it's almost life back to normal. But in the first wave, the No Nobody expected how it will do. And the you may know that India went to complete lockdown. And we thought there was no transportation. No patients were coming. Literally no, the whole oncology patients would not come and only those who had great difficulty because there was no public transportation, even to come by cars. It was difficult. There were a lot of issues. So what happened was nearly 20 25% of the cases. We saw, we did some data collection came in after the first wave with more advanced diseases. Obviously, they missed out several months. So that became an issue. But as we were dealing with this, the second wave came, which was really devastating. And we had a we had to convert some of our No COVID patients we have to manage at one time I remember, you know, this was about a year ago, we had almost 45 patients on ventilator. And we didn't have any more ventilators available and we and many more patients coming in. So it was a crisis management, they were all up in the night trying to pull a ventilator from their flare, fly and ventilator from other center. But it was like a MASH unit. No, what and it was, it was just, you know, amazing how people came together. There were rumors, oxygen is going to run out media was talking about oxygen. We were guy was getting calls from media, what is going to happen? And there were a lot of people, you know, calling to say, Can you give me a bet, friends, relatives, you know, people from all walks of life, my neighbors, their relatives. So it was like a once in a life experience. But I am happy to say that, you know, the majority of the people came out. Well, even in oncology patients, we always felt they will have more mortality, but it was not. So it was equal to the rest. And it was actually not even equal to this, maybe even less because of various reasons. But the presumption the assumption that cancer patients will have more mortality with COVID because of the immunosuppressed situation was not true. did not happen.

Greg Voisen
That's very interesting. Amazing. That's, yeah, I especially somebody from India, saying that, you know, because you never know, in today's world, when the media put something out how much is true and how much is propaganda, right? I mean, look at this thing today with Ukraine. Yes, we know it's, but how much? How much can we depend on? And you know, in chapter nine you state that philosophy is about seeking knowledge, and about the fundamental aspects of life. And you state further that there is a lot you can learn about life from someone who is facing imminent death or finitude. I know this last two years I lost two brothers. So it got me to think about finitude a lot more realistically. This led you to your learning towards what you call and you What is it the Onco philosophy How do you say

Dr. Ajaikumar
Onco philosophy,

Greg Voisen
Onco philosophy, talk to the audience about the concept of Onco philosophy? What is that?

Dr. Ajaikumar
You know, we all love to say philosophy can be written by read from other great philosophers. Philosophy is all about watching and learning from people in my view. You know, like when you talk about people like Socrates, no, they all didn't read books. They learned by watching people habits looking at it. For me when I look, get an oncology patient, I always used to tell look, I may be the person giving you advice, consultation. But really I'm learning a lot from you more than what you think possibly what I am giving you. Because you look at a cancer patient like you look at Imagine a patient who is are treated her for breast cancer patient for almost eight years. And this was a Sunday afternoon. And finally the disease or when she came to me it was in the bone but she lived for eight years with all the treatments. And then on a Sunday afternoon her blood pressure was dropping. She was in a no multi organ failure, high calcium, but she was still alert. And you know as I walked into the room, and you know I just couldn't keep my tears and you know as normally they do family walked out and I just held her hand and she just took something and bite my eye. You know she was 60 by zero, about to die and said Don't try Dr. Ha You know you have given me good eight years of life. You know, this kind of thing you know lives with you. Here is a patient consoling the doctor when she's about to die, you know? And you know it this is an another patient you know, who was that patient thought I could walk on water. She was one of those patients who wanted to do everything in life. Like go into cross country ski she was from Ireland originally. Emily, she wanted to go back. But somebody had told us she has only six months to live. But you know, we put together a plan, having trained in MD Anderson, I did a lot of things. And she lived for a long time. And you know, one of the things is, I was in India in the mid-80s. At that time, she had the disease or progressed into a long. So my nurse called me to say, Look, she's very sick. As soon as you come, you should go and see her. So normally, we don't go to the house, but I did go to her house as soon as I arrived back in India. And this is something you know, I cannot get over I talked to her and said maybe tomorrow we can look at some investigation and treatment that he said, No, I just wanted to thank you, in eight years have done everything in life, I've planned for a virtue. So that night, you know, that sure all waited for me to come that night, she died after I left. So these things, you know, really make you feel learning of this or philosophies. You know, if you don't learn from that I felt I'm stupid. I have to learn from this. And I did it in a different way.

Greg Voisen
Thank you said it 15 minutes ago, and I and I had another doctor on here, Dr. Steve Bazar, emergency room physician, but really would put his patients into hypnosis. And you know, he, he said, the white coat of a doctor. And the first words out of their mouth are so important. So you know, the dot oncologists can give a patient a report and say, Well, you have six months to live, or you could say something like, Hey, you're going to live as long as you want to live, we can fight this right, versus telling somebody and implanting in their subconscious, that they are going to actually pass away and they've only got six months pack your bags, go home, whatever. I can't imagine anything worse, a doctor saying to a patient, then how they actually treat them at that moment at that time. And I'm sure you concur with that. Right?

Dr. Ajaikumar
Absolutely. Craig and I have had so many patient instances where you know, we are we are going along. It is very unfortunate patients are doing well, even though they have metastatic disease. But they go for somewhere and the doctor says in whatever reason, Oh, you are blank is full of disease doctor, they know they go see oh, yeah, you may have six months to live, you know, they give up. And whatever progress we would have made, everything would be of no good anymore, because they're mentally they would give up only six months. What the hell? Why am I going through all this treatment? You know, I am in instances where there is one remarkable instance, where in 1974, before I started my practice outside of Chicago, a patient was operated on a farmer where he had lung full of disease. The doctor said, Look, you have enjoy your last summer. That's it. Close the case. He came to see me in 1980 with a lump under his arm. I said doctor, and I said what happened here looked at it, please see my records. So I looked at the record. He said, you know, doctor told me that I have six months to live last summer philos, six years, I've been waiting for this last summer.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, you know, and that's the and that is the important, the subconscious is so strong, that we don't really realize that the will, like you said, put you in the middle of Alaska and you'll be able to get out alive. You know, as long as you believe you can get out alive, good, chances are you're going to get out alive. And so you stay in chapter 13 You tell the story of your journey exploring cancer and cancer in India, which we've talked about, and state that the whole trip for you was a philosophical lesson in understanding life. share with the listeners, if you would some of the great life lessons that you've learned from this exploration of looking at not heart, or being a cardiac surgeon or a cardiologist, but becoming more of an oncologist to treat a dis ease, which literally you believe is completely curable.

Dr. Ajaikumar
You and if you cannot cure, it's a chronic disease. And for me when I started looking at India, the reason you know what attracted me to India in 1985 and a data six months, you know, travel across India. I saw it when baby waiting for 12 hours to get a very primitive form of treatment. Big sarcoma of the stomach, and I saw a lady who had the cervix Cancer beating being just given away and said Do whatever you want. And you know three weeks later we treated at our hospital and here she was waving at me after three weeks you know much better with no bleeding. So, when you look at this he said, You know what, I am much needed here, this is where I have to come back. Not I may have a fluence, I may have all I wanted us, I may have a good life, but that is not why I became a doctor. See, these are the turning points in your life when you look at it. So, in spite of arts in spite of lot of people, my dad, of course, you know, in 90, you know, he passed away 99 Before that he was not at all in favor of me coming back, he saw me I'm leading a good life, what else you want? Why do you want to come and struggle here, but you know, struggle is in a ways good, who should struggle, you know, people talk about always happiness and are in a way struggle is also a form of happiness. When you know, you want to do something in order to achieve it's a struggle, that journey itself is a pleasure, because you are doing something with the focus. So what we did with head CG, honestly, great, we changed a paradigm shift in the massive country like India, how we approach cancer care, people thought India is a poor country, India cannot have technology. India, you know, only government few institutions can treat in private care, you cannot give cancer, particularly high technology, I Pro I disclude, all of them. I brought in high technology, not only into big cities, but tier two tier three cities, high linear accelerator, PET scans, genomic labs, what we have shown is cancer doesn't know Rich from poor, cancer can attack anyone. The only way is to treat cancer the right way, first time. And so with this kind of technology, we have access to 500 million people HCG today in India. And with that, you know, once we started doing that, there are many people who have followed fortunately, they said yes, TJ can do if Ajay Kumar can do, we can also do. So with that in mind, there are so many linear accelerators, so many PET scans. So it is a great thing. And now we are going into tier three cities. And so you know, it goes to show, that is why I call it excellence has no borders, doesn't matter richer, that is whatever excellence is excellence, you have to go there and do your excellent treatment, you cannot say you're poor, I'll go to you, I'm going to give you inferior form of treatment, cancer is not going to forgive you. And also we have to treat these patients as though they're my own mother, brother, sister, or, or uncle, you know, you cannot treat them any other way. You have to bridge the gap. That is our Harvard Business School study. When Harvard did a study, they were amazed. How are you able to bridge this gap? We weren't able to it is doable. You know, excellence.

Greg Voisen
Excellence has no borders. You're right. And it's I'm so honored to be able to meet you and do the podcast. Because people like you who have the compassion and dedication for all humanity, all mankind is so important. And you know, the thing that's going to heal this world is really going to be empathy, and empathy. it the way you want to look at it is empathy and compassion is missing in so many places. And that leads me to my last question, in the last chapter, you speak about India's healthcare system, and the state of what you want to see is a value based health care system. What is your vision of this and what needs to change to achieve this in India? Because, you know, in the United States we have, okay, people say maybe one of the best health care systems one of the most expensive health care systems, but I always wonder why we lag so far behind in so many things, when we supposedly have the best health care system. And I and there's so much we could talk about with the health care system here versus the health care system in India. But what do you really envision for India's healthcare system? say great.

Dr. Ajaikumar
Us, By the way, has a very good healthcare system, but the cost is very high. That is why the value based healthcare system makes sense for a country like India, you know, but India is two countries within a country you have 350 million population, which is almost as big as United States or Europe, which are in the middle class, upper middle class demanding highest form of health care, which can afford and do you have 900 million which is Not there isn't a lower standard? How do you bridge the gap? How do you even service 300 million is the challenge. So one of the things we have come up, you know, is India by the way, the cost is very low, you know, I can do a PET scan for $300. What costs $2,500? in us? Yeah, I can do a CT scan for less than $100, not even $50, which costs like 500 $800. So we know the cost is very low, because of various reasons.

Greg Voisen
Do you have my pardon me for interrupting? But do you have a large influx of US citizens coming to India to seek health care?

Dr. Ajaikumar
No, you don't have us because of the insurance issue, they don't cover. And also there is medical legal issue if something goes wrong, and most people would like to come here, but we have lot of people who come from the Africa, Middle East, and other parts of the world, you know, we ourselves nearly 20% of our work is international patients. But coming back to this what is an answer to India, which we advocate in is a universal health care, like what we have in us to some extent with no limits, and it can be achieved, what we have proposed is India is full of youth 65% or youths in India. So everybody has a cell phone. So we are proposing a tax on the cell phone as what we call as a health tax, which you collect and create an endowment for the to take care of people. And you know, when Anna was working in us, I paid a Medicare tax. So which was helping them Medicare, people like that we create that kind of system, where everybody is covered, Brazil has done that very well. So we want to use that that is what we are advocating. But there are some issues, why the government has not picked up on that they'll come up with some schemes and all it is not really working, majority of the people still have to pay out of pocket. And that is one area where we have to hopefully come to a solution very soon. But I think it will happen in the next few years, there is not of interest to change the healthcare system. So we are all putting all our efforts to make this happen. So that not to me, any country to become an advanced country, that is what I wrote, education and health are the most important. If you bring up the education standards and health standards to the level, then you are almost there. So that is that is where we are missing this point. By the way, the excellence has no borders name was given by my son in law, Eric, no. And he you know, he's, he's the one who came up with that name.

Greg Voisen
Well, it's a good title for your book, it's also a good title for you, as a human soul, making his journey through life and having the impact on as many people as you've had, I just want to acknowledge that and for all my listeners, the 1000s of patients that come to HCG in India to be treated, whether they're coming from Africa, or their Indian, or wherever they are. It's a huge success story for you. And especially after all the bumps in the road that you went through as a person. And I know you have a new CEO, now I saw the young man in your profiles there. And congratulations on your growth. Congratulations on this book. And to get this message out worldwide, not just you know, in India, but to have podcast with people like myself. Because, like you said, you can learn from anyone and observing what they're doing. And I think what's important is, if this podcast gets in the right hands, somebody hears you, and understands you. And who knows, maybe wants to make an investment into HCG, right? They see they see that this is going to expand to 1.3 billion people, right or whatever the number is. But thank you. Thank you. Dr. Ajaikumar. I really appreciate it. You bet. A wonderful guest to have on the show. And the book, even though only in PDF form was a wonderful book. We really appreciate that. And I appreciate you.

Dr. Ajaikumar
Yeah, when I read the book, I don't know it should come to you. It didn't come yet.

Greg Voisen
But I will. I'm looking forward to getting a signed copy.

Dr. Ajaikumar
I will say to you, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. Say you're phenomenal. Your interview was great. Thank you very much for having me. Thanks a lot.

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