Our Mission and Vision

MISSIONStanleyan Spirit exemplifies the camaraderie between seniors and juniors over several decades. This Alumni Trust is emblematic of that SPIRIT  to uplift the juniors from their financial woes to achieve their goals

VISION – From a modest start of helping a handful of beneficiaries 7 years ago, the Trust is helping 40 of them now. The goal is to reach 50 next year , then onto 100 of them – paving the way to its perpetuity.


About us

The Stanley Alumni Trust was the brainchild of Dr Dinakar Moses, who was a warden in the men’s hostel for 21 years. During that time he came across students having difficulty paying the hostel fee and as a result failing to get admission ticket for their examinations. He used to pay from his pocket and also get funds from his friends so that the students could clear the mess bill and sit for the examinations.

After his stint as a warden, he along with his friends formed the Stanley Alumni Trust in April 2013 and it was initiated during the Stanley Global Meet 2014 on the occasion of the Platinum Jubilee of our esteemed institution, Stanley Medical College.

The main objective of the Trust was to offer UG Scholarships to deserving UG Students of our college to complete their MBBS Course. This noble cause was well-received and appreciated by many Stanleans who have come forward to contribute as individuals and as a batch to fund the scholarships. Sizable contributions were made by Non-Stanleans.

The money collected is kept in fixed deposits and the interest is used to fund the scholarships. At present we have given 39 scholarships to students. In addition we support deserving candidates for books, tution fee and examination fee. We also take part in disaster management like the Covid crisis etc.

Madras musing 

February  16 – 28. 2013.      Vol.xx11. No. 21         

Two pages of Medical History.

From kanji thotti hospital to one of excellence.

The auto I’m travelling in is rickety and falling apart, and out travels into the dusty, congested and uneven north Chennai roads make it even more bone-shaking. Karuppan, my ‘chauffeur’, affirms rather emphatically, but quite disquietingly,”Stanely aspathirikka poganum? Accidentinna naanga angethan povom !” ( Want to go to Stanley Hospital? For all accident cases we go there only!). Stanley is one of the oldest centres in India for medical treatment and education, the seeds for it having been sown as early as 1797 by the East India Company.

With nearly 1300 beds for inpatient treatment, the hospital now has an out-patient attendance of around 5000 patients a day, a unique 8-story surgical complex equipped to perform up to 40 surgeries simultaneously, a separate paediatrics block with all specialities under one roof, and the RSRM Hospital attached for obstetrics and gynaecology care.  Its Department of Urology performs up to fifty Kidney transplants a year. Its Department of Surgical Gastro-enterology, the first in India to perform a successful liver transplant, is also the first among hospitals/hospital departments in India to obtain the ISO 9001 certification! Stanley Medical College is rated one among the top medical college in the country, its Institute for Research and Rehabilitation of Hand and the Department of Plastic Surgery (IRRH & DPS), one of the best centers in South and Southeast Asia.

An early record notes that the Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital originate as what was called the Native Infirmary; this was the result of Asst. Surgeon John Holen Underwood proposing in 1797 the creation of a hospital and dispensary in the premises of the Monegar Choultry. When he offered to construct the buildings himself on government-provided land and “pay rental not exceeding 100 pagodas a month”, the government agreed, provided the operational cost was met by donations. With the hospital taking shape by 1799, Underwood was appointed Superintendent of the 80-bed infirmary which was to be subject to inspection by the Medical Board.

Support was forthcoming from distinguished persons, like the Nawab of Arcot, and business houses. The sick were treated in three different establishments, a dispensary for outpatients, half a dozen sheds for inpatients and special wards for chronic cases. Within a month of formal establishment, the Infirmary had nearly 90 inpatients By the end of 1807, the Committee of the Native Infirmary represented to Government on the fact that voluntary contributions had diminished and that funds for the Infirmary needed to be increased. It requested the grant of a village for its permanent support. A suggestion was made to amalgamate the Monegar Choultry and Native Infirmary and the two were consolidated on November 1, 1890.

The new institution was designated ‘The Madras Infirmary and Native Poor Asylum’ and a surgeon “on salary of 80 pagodas and palankeen allowance of 20 pagodas appointed”. At that point, there was also “an Idiots Asylum, a Lazaretto or Leper Hospital, and a Foundling ward for the accommodation of pauper children”. It was urged by the Board of Directors of Monegar Choultry “that the Charity be relieved of charge of the surgeon’s salary as the Infirmary has become the hospital for the entire population of Black Town and really paid for what Government itself provided in other localities.” In july 1858, the request was accepted.

Various additions were made to the Native Infirmary from 1868. Four new wards with 40 beds for female patients were constructed. The Northcote Wards, two model wards, for male and female patients were furnished at Rs 1000 received from Sir Stafford Northcote, then Secretary of State, as donation. The cost of furnishing the Napier Ward was Ward was similarly met from a donation from Governor Napier In 1882, the Raja of Vizianagaram defrayed the expenses for bringing water from Red Hills to the hospitals. In the 1880s, the Rajah Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Lying-in Hospital was added, named after its donor. A surgeon, an apothecary and a superintendent were appointed by 1889.

In 1910, on reference through the Surgeon General of the Government of Madras, the Board of Directors transferred the Native Infirmary ( with an endowment of Rs. 66,887-13-5 to the control of the Government.

When the Government acquired the Monegar Choultry site for the construction of what is decided to call the Government Royapuram Hospital, a line of buildings was built by Government to house the choultry in the neighbouring Rajah of Venkatagiri compound.

It has been recorded that “the Superintendent of the Choultry Mr Coshan was indirectly responsible for the coming up of the hospital in a way. His array of facts, and lucid representation of statistics formed the basis of statements that completely that a new Hospital was indicated.” By a stroke of good fortune, affairs at this juncture “were in the hands of two of the greatest administrators Madras had ever had the good fortune to possess – Surgeon General William Bannermann and Sir Alexander Cardew, then Under Secretary.”

Two big factors favoring a new hospital were the availability of a large tract of land close by for building purpose and, more crucially, the existence on part of it of what was the Auxiliary Royapuram Medical School (1887), which trained compounders and sub-assistant surgeons. In 1913, there were 250 or so pupils in the school, which had minimal facilities (only two low power microscopes for teaching and one with an oil immersion lens kept under lock and key for the use of District Surgeons!).

The old building which accommodated 51 beds for men and 24 for women was inspected by Governor Lord Carmichael in January 1912 who condemned the whole place as being “thoroughly unsuitable, antiquated and not in keeping with the modern requirements of a hospital” and sanctioned in its place the construction of an up-to-date institution. This led to Government sanctioning Rs, 3 lakh for construction of a medium hospital with 135 beds and an up-to-date operation theatre.

Lt Col R. Bryson, FRCS (appointed as Surgeon in 1913, and later Superintendent of Royapuram Medical School years later), recorded in the 1963 souvenir, “If the foundations had not begun then and if the building had not been pressed at a feverish pace during 1914, the Great War would certainly have stopped completely, if it had not considerably hampered, the whole project. If it had not been for the students in the old bullet factory, I am pretty certain that nothing like the present Royapuram Hospital could ever have come into existence!”

On December 19, 1913, Governor Pentland laid the foundation stone for the Royapuram Hospital and Medical School. Costing Rs. 3,56,750, the new buildings were completed in 1917. The first of them, the Pentland Block, was opened by Lord Pentland on July 17 1917, and it provided beds for 72 men, 72 women and 16 children.

The first proposal for additional accommodation was sent in 1919 for constructing Septic and Chronic Wards with 198 beds. After a good deal of correspondence, the Government sanctioned only a ground floor of 52 beds at a cost of Rs. 155,000 But it did not go through for many reasons, financial stringency being one of them. In 1921, the Nurses’ Quarters were constructed at a cost of Rs.1.09,890 to accommodate 15 staff nurses and 17 probationers. A surgical museum of instruments soon came up. Some great names of the period were Dr. Nayudhu, Dr. A. L. Mudaliar, and Dr. S.M. Trasi. There was no X-Ray Department but there were Dental and Venereal Disease Departments. An additional block of 104 beds with a clinical school (Bryson School) attached to it was built at a cost of Rs. 3,82,135 and opened by Governor Lord Willingdon on 1.1.1924, followed by a new OP Department at a cost of Rs 2,05,180 opened by Lady Willingdon

A Second nurses’ block to accommodate 20 nurses was opened on February 15,1932. In August 1935, Capt. P. Krishnaswami received the proposal for construction of a Septic Block. The plans / estimates were prepared by Consulting Architect Jacob Fernandez and Government sanctioned Rs.1,40,000 on January 22,1937. The same year, Government “was pleased to sanction the construction of the Hope Block of 112 beds and 2 Operation Theaters at a cost of Rs. 2 1/2 lakh.’

Four in-patient wards to accommodate 92 patients were not long afterwards constructed, equipped and occupied. The Out-Patient Block was expanded with the construction of an additional wing for an operation theater, ENT, medical, surgical and dental departments and a dispensary. A separate maternity hospital, the RSRM Lying-In Hospital, was built close by at a cost of Rs. 20 Lakh, and the women medical wards were located there. A steam laundry at a cost of Rs. 7.5 lakh was constructed to get patients’ clothes washed properly and as frequently as possible. By April 25, 1939, Government has sanctioned another Rs. 95,000 for first floor construction to meet the increasingly enormous overcrowding. Bed strength also rose from 462 to 724.

Dr. N.S. Narasimhan recalls in a souvenir the happy period of his service in the Royapuram Hospital and Medical School from 1919 to 1929. “Initially, the OP Department consisted of the old Black Town dispensary, with the name changed to George Town Dispensary under the Corporation. The wards consisted of the first block in front with a block of four small wards behind the first block in front with a block and an OT. The second block was opened by the Raja of Panagal. Two chronic wards, one male and one female, have at present been absorbed in ophthal beds. The Medical School building was in present blood transfusion service. The RSRM Hospital was in the present X-Ray Department. Staff consisted of an IMS Superintendent for School and Hospital, an RMO for RSRM and RMO for RH, besides lecturers for different subjects and assistants. This reorganized scheme was due to the work of Maj .Gen. E.W.C. Bradfield, IMS.

Between 1937 and 1939, the new clinics opened included those for venereal, leprosy, dental, ear, nose & throat, and ophthalmic, and separate clinics were organized for Departments of Medicine, Surgery, TB, Dermatology, Electro-Cardiography and Orthopaedics. In an early record, Dr. R.Mahadevan, Professor of Operative Surgery, notes, “ As far as known from published records the first successful heart operation in India was done in Stanley Hospital on November 10,1948, on a girl of 11 years with persistent patent ductus arteriosus. The girl is known to be doing well and is now married and has children.”

On the recommendation of the general inspection commission of the University of Madras, a new addition to the Stanley Medical College came in the form of the newly constructed Maternity Hospital with bed strength of 275 at a cost Rs 32 lakh in June 1956. The 1963 souvenir records increase in bed strength which “now has 840 sanctioned beds besides accommodating 100 more extra patients.”

From famine to succour.        

In 1781, Madras experienced one of the worst famines on its history, affecting one-third of the population. Black Town, the most densely populated and poorest quarter of the city, was most badly hit. In 1782, the Government of Madras Presidency and St Mary’s Church in the Fort jointly launched what was perhaps the first-ever organised charity in India in a small building rented by the Famine Relief Committee just outside the walls of Black Town. As part of relief operation, kanji (rice gruel) was served to people in a thotti (vessel) – and so the name ‘Kanji thotti’ choultry or rest house. This rented house later became the Monegar Choultry, believed to be named after a village head-man, a manugakkaran (‘monegar’), who ran a gruel center there for the destitute. Many years later, when Stanley Hospital came into being in the same campus, locals called it the ‘Kanji thotti hospital’!

The Stanley Hospital Story by SHOBHA MENON
The Stanley Spirit

               Dr. M.K. Srinivasan a surgeon who passed out in December 1950 from Stanley Medical College, remembers Dr. Viswananthan (VP) and Dr. Kutumbiah (Principal) as exemplary Chiefs who never engaged in private practice. Dr. Raghavachari was so dedicated that, before exams, he would collect important cases from all wards and hold classes for us from morning 8 to evening 6 providing all refreshments at his personal cost.  I was Dr. A.S.Ramakrishnan’s Assistant for three years and I use over the last 60 years in surgical practice and medical consultation those same principles I
Learnt then.”

               On the indomitable ‘Stanley Spirit’ , talk to any Stanleyan and everyone will wax eloquent on the SMC Hostel, the College magazine, NCC and other activities that added considerably to the growth and development of  “that  unique personality – the Stanley Medico. Students imbibed not only scientific knowledge and technical skill but also the Stanley Spirit of cooperative endeavour, where staff and students moved and worked together as members of a family with affection and mutual respect,” says an early note. Dr. A. Ananthanarayanan, former Dean and Director of the Central Institute of Anatomy, SMC and Dr. S.Balasubramaniam, former Dean, endorse these words.

               Dr. G.D. Veliath former Professor of Pathology, SMC, recalls, “Stanley had a name for the finest histrionic talents. I recall with pleasure the Annual Onam festival, the Bharati Day with its intercollegiate music competition, and Pongal day celebrations. The inspiration and spirit behind these activities was Dr. C.Reghavachari, who had an inborn love and passion for acting.”

                Dr. C.Reghavachari, former Professor of Surgery, SMC notes in the 1963 souvenir, “The coming into existence of the SMC as an upgraded institution in place of the existing medical school with the attached “Kanjithotti” Hospital may be compared to the trans formation of a basic element into a radioactive isotope. Ushered into existence with a legacy and handicap, this newborn has not only survived but excelled. Rural medical relief work in Almadi and other centres, holding of as World Medical Students’ Conference, and the organisation of medical exhibitions to finance the rural medical relief activities are some achievements worth mentioning. These extraordinary achievements of the infant college, which evoked the envy of the sister college, were solely due to the oneness of mind and spirit that prevailed between staff and students. This identity of purpose – this sublime intimacy- came to be referred as the Stanley Spirit. One is filled with a pardonable pride at the thought that he had played some little part in the genesis of that spirit and building of the tradition.”

               Surgeon Dr. K.C. Nambiar remembers, “The large number of old students, coming out with a subscription of Rs. 1000 per head for the Silver Jubilee, was in itself a sign of the ‘Stanley Spirit’. The Old Boys’ Association was started here for the first time, and continues to meet periodically, We are the pioneers of the Social Service League in neighbouring village, financially supported mainly by income from periodic exhibitions conducted by students and staff.”

               In the pre Independence era, Stanley Medical College was the hub of passionate nationalism, Students, led by Dr. M.Vishwanathan who was then and undergraduate, hoisted the Indian tricolour in 1942. Dr. Dinkar Rau, the then Principal, ignored the anti-government act of the students as similar incidents were erupting across the country. The British Surgeon General demanded that the tricolour be brought down and finally the students themselves removed the flag in deference to their respect for Dr. Rau. In silent protest, they vacated their hostels and marched through the streets of Broadway and chose temporary accommodation outside the hospital.

               The opening of the Rural Medical Relief Centre at Alamadi was a pioneering effort that cast as probing light on the problems of providing medical relief in the villages. The College had as well-equipped gym, the only medical college that could boast of one at the time.

               Dr. R.Surendran, who retired as Director of the Institute of Surgical Gastroenterology in January 2012 (he did his graduation and postgraduation at SMC), cites Dr. Venkataswami and Dr. Rajashekar Reddy (RJR) as his inspirations. “We never bought text books, they were all donated by our seniors who guided us in important exams too. All the top university rankers were from Stanley, which was known for its sports prowess and cultural activities too. Students came mostly from middle class backgrounds or were first gen learners. and so were more close-knit. Our homely hostel canteen was known for its ‘Oil Chicken’ and attracted students from other colleges too!

               “RJR was a wonderful man,with  as corner for the poor. Our unit every Sunday conducted camps in slums with an NGO, “Swallows India”. Every admission day, we had Evening Clinics conducted by Assistant Professors who took class from 6 to 9 or even 10! The Unit Chief was like a demi god and even till the 1980s, we remember, his rounds would be like a procession of a temple Idol !. Among Professors there was a healthy competition to see who taught better. Surgeon Dr. C.S. Ramachandran and cardiologist Dr. Jayanthi rama Rao of the 1970s, were all rounders who would even sing and dance to inspire us to learn well. “You can be an idiot, but be a thundering idiot! RJR Would say to us.”

               The Hospital’s Department of Surgical Gastroenterology was the first public sector hospital in India to perform a successful liver transplant under the leadership of Dr. R.P. Shanmugam. In 1999, there began as a pilot project a 20 bed surgical ward to treat liver. patients were ideally expected to pay a Iump-sum of Rs. 5,000 to the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Commission but 50 percent of the cases (mostly rick-shaw-pullers and port labourers with alcohol troubles) were handled free. Currently, the Institute of Surgical Gastroenterology and the Centre for Liver and Pancreatic Diseases at Stanley perform the maximum number of surgeries related to cancer of the pancreas and form the only public sector institutes to only public sector institutes to successfully perform liver transplants. That first successful liver transplant was in 2009. Since then, the institute with an ISO 9001 certification (acquired in 2000), another first for a public sector hospital in the country, has performed over 35 successful liver transplants.

                    An ICMR Stem Cell and Diagnostic Laboratory ensures a zero infection rate that is critical for a transplant programme and is involved in ongoing research on liver progression cells as a therapeutic option in end stage liver disease. With a medical infrastructure as good as a five-star hospital’s Stanley has been drawing the middle class people who prefer to pay Rs.5000 instead of Rs. 5 lakh involved in the corporate sector for a hepatectomy (Removal of affected liver) or a whipples operation for pancreatic cancer.

                    Today most of the old buildings have been replaced by newer structures in order to cater to the needs of larger patient population. A rare surviving bit of heritage in a forgotten corner is an obelisk with the Aesculapius insignia raised in Maj. E.W.C. Bradfield’s time to remember 12 doctors who sacrificed their lives in the Great War. What continues unchanged at Stanley are the old traditions of committed service in an institution that today, as in the past, provides affordable healthcare to the underprivileged.

                                                    (Concluded) Published on the occasion of  Stanley Alumni Global Meet 2014 during Platinum Jubilee celebrations of our institution 

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