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And then there was light

Dr. Vijayendar Reddy from Karimnagar, developed the prototype for Reddylite, an indispensable tool for ENT surgeons

A LAYPERSON might be just that bit flummoxed by it but an ENT surgeon would call it his best friend. Reddylite, a handy little contraption used all the over the world, is the brainchild of doctor from Kunaram village in Karimnagar district.

The device has an LED as a light source, draws power from dry batteries and helps doctors have a better look inside our ears, nose and throat. Till now, doctors used a lens reflector, which would redirect an external light source. The process was rather cumbersome.

While everyone felt the need for a simple effective instrument, it was left to Dr. Vijayendar Reddy to design it.

The 50-something doctor after practising in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire County, U.K, for ten years, planned to return to Hyderabad for good, but decided to work for some time in Kuwait Defence department. Then Saddam invaded Kuwait.

The invasion turned Reddy's life topsy-turvy. He lost his life savings as banks were closed down. Left with a credit card, which was useless in Kuwait and some clothes, Dr. Reddy, his wife and daughter had to scrape a living for over a month. All dreams of returning home to Hyderabad crumbled. In addition to the financial problems, Reddy had other problems to deal with. As the invaders were openly hostile towards UK or US citizens, Reddy could not reveal the fact that his daughter Samata had a British passport, as she was born in UK.

Nightmare experience

As things went from bad to worse, India wanted to airlift its citizens, with children, women and old people being given first preference.

The Iraqis, on the other hand, wanted to ensure that none of the doctors available in Kuwait should leave the place.

Worried over the conditions, Reddy approached the Indian embassy officials who issued another passport with a different profession for Reddy. The British government sent an aircraft and Reddy's wife and daughter were airlifted to the United Kingdom.

With another Indian doctor, Reddy hitchhiked into the neighbouring Jordan. Things, however, did not improve. He was forced to join a refugee camp where he had to stay for over a month, before he could convince authorities to allow him to fly to Britain and join his family.

His troubles were far from over. He could not take up his practise as an ENT specialist again owing to the stringent rules. He had to take exams again and then began practise as a general practioner.

It was while working as a GP that he thought of Reddylite, to help general practioners in basic examinations dealing with ENT.

The reflectors, which doctors were using, were not helpful and then the idea germinated.

With some research, he devised the prototype. With more and more doctors preferring to use the implement, commercial production of Reddylite began and now it has become an indispensable tool for practising doctors world over.


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