The Barefoot Surgeon
As a seven-year-old, Sanduk Ruit was taken by his father from his isolated Nepalese village to a boarding school in Darjeeling. His parents were not well off, but their son showed a tenacity and intelligence that his father was determined would not be wasted. Ruit went on to become one of the world’s greatest eye surgeons, with the potential for enormous wealth and fame. But he chose a different path, one that has given many people a second chance at life. Devising an ingenious surgical technique and procedure, he revolutionised cataract surgery, especially in the world’s poorest areas. His technique means that those who have had to be led or carried by loved ones to his remote mobile surgeries walk away within a few days, restored to independence and a meaningful life. In Kathmandu, Ruit instigated the building of the world-leading Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, which manufactures the tiny lenses needed for cataract surgery, as well as performing operations and training surgeons from many countries. Ruit’s firm friend and colleague Fred Hollows – whose name and work are familiar to many New Zealanders – wrote, “If I’ve done one thing in life I’m proud of, it’s launching Ruit into the world.” Ali Gripper worked closely with Ruit for three years to write his life story – the result is this inspiring book.