In July of 1982, after searching the country for a place to settle down, establish their medical practices and raise their family, Drs. R.V. and Jyothi Mettu chose Pikeville, Kentucky. That is the moment their incredible story of impacting an entire region began.

“They told me they really needed me here because they desperately needed a pulmonologist,” explained R.V. Mettu, MD. “When I started, I realized there was also a need for a critical care physician to treat the people of Eastern Kentucky. Thankfully, I was in a position to offer both.”

His wife, Jyothi, a promising new pediatrician, was pregnant with their third child, but completely supported R.V. in his endeavor to care for the sickest of the sick at this growing hospital in Pikeville. “In January of 1983, I asked him to put a desk and chair for me in his office and hire me a nurse,” she recalled. “I said I would train her for pediatrics and we would go from there.”

Dr. Jyothi Mettu’s decision to take a gradual approach to establishing her pediatric practice and focus on caring for their family enabled her husband to make a tremendous impact at what was then Pikeville Methodist Hospital.

“I was going to the hospital in the morning at 6 or 6:30 and not coming home until 8 or 9pm. I couldn’t have done it without her amazing support,” he explained. “During that time, we realized this was the place we were going to raise our family. Pikeville became our home and has been our home now for more than 40 years.”

Over the years, Dr. R.V. Mettu saw firsthand how sleep deprivation was taking a toll on his patients by complicating their already serious medical conditions. Rather than accepting this reality, he sought the necessary training to be able to establish the hospital’s first sleep center, which opened in 1994. In 2024, the PMC Sleep Center has maintained the prestigious accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for 30 years, an accomplishment Dr. R.V. Mettu is very proud of.

Dr. Jyothi Mettu’s pediatric practice grew tremendously, and she became the pediatrician thousands of families chose to care for the medical needs of their children for nearly 40 years. As they both approached retirement, Drs. R.V. and Jyothi Mettu began discussing ways they could continue serving their community long after they treated their last patient. After much thought and prayer, the Mettus decided to make a generous contribution to support the development of Eastern Kentucky’s first children’s hospital.

“This is our way of saying, ‘thank you’ to the many families that allowed us to treat them throughout our careers, especially the little ones,” explained Dr. Jyothi. “Investing in this project is a way we can continue contributing to the advancement of pediatric care for generations to come.”

The Drs. R.V. and Jyothi Mettu Children’s Hospital opened in December 2022 with family, friends, former patients and longtime coworkers all there to show their appreciation for the couple who chose Pikeville as their home more than 40 years ago.

Both R.V. and Jyothi say, looking back, the one thing that drove them to continue improving the care they provided was having to send patients away from Eastern Kentucky for treatment, whether it was pediatric patients, critically ill patients or those needing sleep studies. In many of those areas, the road that was once considered “one-way” out of the region is now used to bring patients to Pikeville Medical Center for medical care. The Mettus’ drive, determination and passion have created an amazing legacy that will most certainly be remembered throughout Pikeville Medical Center’s next hundred years.

“This area has touched us so much,” explained Dr. Jyothi Mettu. “Like the mountain people say, ‘the mountains love you and you have to love them back.’ And we definitely learned how to.”