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A Noble Doctor

A Noble Doctor

(Short story by Vaman Acharya)

Dr. Anirudha, a famous cardiologist of Bengaluru, decided to visit Gunjanur, a remote village with the noble purpose of treating poor patients, who were dying due to various diseases, as there was no hospital in the village.

The idea flashed to his mind when he was watching the morning news on the television. Gunjanuru is a remote village, ten kilometers of inner mud road next to the Bengaluru- Pune highway and one hundred kilometers away from Bengaluru. The nearest hospital from Gunjanuru was five kilometers away from the highway. The village had no bus facility. The bullock cart and the bicycle were the means of transport. Those who don't have these means had to walk. During the rainy season, it was still difficult.

The heart-touching scene of those who became widows, a widower, and lost their mother, father, and near relatives.

Aniruddh thought being a doctor, his primary duty is to serve the sick. His inner voice gave a call and prompted him to follow the Hippocratic oath. His sudden decision was a shock to his wife Dr. Suman. She confronted her husband.

“Ani, I advise you not to venture into impossible tasks.”

“Suman, you know my nature. Many times, I faced difficult situations and successfully came out. How I won your heart despite protest from your wealthy parents. You also know, once I make a decision, I never go back.”

She just smiled and said,

“I am proud of you Ani. I wish you all the best in your laudable duty.”

“Darling, your inspiration always gives me strength.”

Dr. Aniruddh had a medical practice of fifteen years. He was one of the leading practitioners in the city. The doctor couple were practicing in their own Sanjeevini multi- speciality hospital having 500 beds in Bengaluru.

Dr. Aniruddha was fully aware that the visit to a remote village certainly had adverse effects on his practice. His idea of going to the village was noble. But it was not an easy task.

He left along with the team to Gunjanur on the same day afternoon. He was driving the ambulance. The required medicines and other things were kept in the vehicle. They reached the village after two hours. Luckily, there was no rain, when they passed on the mud road.

Aniruddh had already contacted Harsha, a village head and other prominent persons. On reaching the village, the medical team was welcomed by them.

All the arrangements were made in a government primary school. Without wasting time, the doctor and other staff started treatment of the patients. The critical patients were examined first and the other patients next. The entire process of treatment was over by midnight. Barring one or two, all the patients were feeling better after some time. Harsha and others were present there and expressed happiness for the good response from the patients.

Doctor and his team rested till morning and had breakfast. By the time they were ready to leave, a group of villagers led by youngsters met the doctor. Aniruddh was surprised to see them and asked,

“What do you want from me, my dear young men?”

Shashikant, son of Harsha, introduced himself as a software engineer working in USA, said,

“Sir, I am conveying thanks on behalf of all the patients, who have recovered from the critical illness. If you didn't come, more patients would have died. I have no words to express your noble service and very much deserve to be called a ‘noble doctor.’

“Shashikant, I am not the only person to take credit. My other team members consisted of a junior doctor, a compounder, two male nurses and two female nurses.

“Yes sir, any venture to be successful, there is a team spirit behind it.”

Another young man Suraj, son of Mahipati, a landlord said,

“Sir, I am studying in the third semester of engineering college at Bengaluru. I have some suggestions. I am prepared to donate one acre of land for the construction and opening of a hospital after forming a trust. Please visit our village at least once a fortnight and treat the patients and guide for the construction of a hospital.”

Dr. Aniruddh was impressed by the way in which the young men were speaking. He became emotional and said,

“My dear young men, I have no words to express your concern for the villagers. You know, I am a busy doctor in Bengaluru and hardly find time to come outside. I will definitely spare time and help. I will also contribute whatever is possible and pressurize the government officials for tar roads from your village to the national highway.”

Harsha and Mahipati also expressed thanks to the doctor and his team. The tears were rolling in the eyes of villagers, when they said goodbye with a heavy heart.

As promised, the doctor visited the village whenever he received calls and treated the poor patients for free.

The efforts of getting sanction of a primary health center and tar road highway from the government continued by the village heads.

Ultimately, after five years of uninterrupted efforts, the government gave green signal for these projects.

When was it implemented?

It was a million dollar question.