India's Speedy 'Dr. Snip' to Hang Up His Scalpel

The world's fastest surgeon was planning to hang up his scalpel Thursday after sterilizing more than a quarter of a million people.

Dr. Lalit Mohan Pant, 55, a government doctor in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, holds a world record for sterilizing 816 people in one day, but is now looking to retire from frontline surgery after a 30-year career, he told The London Times.

The Indian government has agreed to fund a new medical college, which he will chair, to teach surgeons about the techniques of sterilization.

"It will start by the end of this year. There will be more service providers so I will have less work," he said.

Pant, surrounded by greenery in his government bungalow in a quiet suburb of the Indian medical city of Indore, said he had conducted about 275,000 vasectomies and female sterilization procedures, most of them in his home state of Madhya Pradesh where the government has an aggressive program of birth control.

This includes a rotating program of sterilization "camps" in villages, where laborers are offered cash to undergo the procedure. His record year was 2010 when he completed 27,588 such operations.

"I enjoy it," he said. "I never get tired because I am busy all the time. I feel proud that I have done something good for society and for humanity."

Pant's decision to retire comes as some Indian states, such as neighboring Rajasthan, are intensifying their sterilization efforts by offering prizes such as Tata Nano cars, motorcycles and kitchen appliances to those who sign up. Pant, who has two daughters and had a vasectomy ten years ago, said that he had been drawn to the field because he realized there was high demand for his services from the state.

He said that he could sterilize a woman in 20 seconds using a laparoscope, a small telescope-like device used to examine the fallopian tubes.

"I have developed my own technique. There is no blood. I call it no cut, no stitch, no pain," Pant said. "Male sterilization takes a bit longer, about two minutes. We use local anesthetic and all our patients are sedated."

Pant insisted that none of his patients had ever been forced to undergo sterilization and that the program had helped reduce infant mortality in the state -- which has a population of 76 million -- by 28 percent.

"The biggest challenge the world faces is the population explosion. The next generation is going to suffer; already you can see the enormous pressure the environment is under," he said.