CHENNAI: Dr S Jayachandran, popularly known in North Chennai as 'Makkal Maruthuvar' (People's doctor) as he charged only Rs 2 as consultation fee from his patients, passed away after a brief illness on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people paid homage to him at his house at Old Washermenpet. K Rajeshwari, one of Jayachandran's patients, said that he used to charge just 25 paise during his initial years of practice.
"I knew him for last 40 years. He is our family doctor. At a time medical service has turned into a business for many doctors, he looked at it as a humanitarian service," she said.
Jayachandran studied medicine at Madras Medical College, and began practice in 1970s at Old Washermenpet. He later shifted his clinic to Kasimedu and started practicing at his home at Old Washermenpet, according to his friends.
After fighting lung problem for some time, the doctor breathed his last at around 5.15 am on Wednesday at a private hospital on Greams Road, said his elder son Dr J Saravana Jagan.
"He used to always talk about doing service to people. He would tell that people in North Chennai are from economically weaker sections and they can't afford much, so we should help them. He used to charge only Rs 2," said Jagan.
There was a special respect for prescription given by Jayachandran, say his friends, family members and neighbours. "Seeing daddy's service, many trusts came forward to donate, but he never accepted money, instead he would request them to buy medicines and donate to us, which he gives to his patients free of cost," he said.
Jayachandran also used to refer patients to scan centres, where they would get concessions. He was also nominated by his well-wishers and friends for Padma Shri award in 2016 on the grounds of humanitarian service, said his friend N Raman, former director of Botany Department, University of Madras. "He deserved the award, but he didn't receive it," said Raman.
One of his patients, Om Prakash said, "The doctor who cured others' ailments never bothered about his own health. He never slept or ate on time. Even if you knock on his door at 1 am, he will be awake to treat his patients. He even gave money to patients. Sometimes he even offered them food."
"When I was young, I have seen him going around narrow streets of North Chennai on a bicycle to treat patients," added the 63-year-old.
Born in 1948 at Kodaipattinam Village in Kancheepuram district, Dr Jayachandran was honoured with many awards including Knighthood Award in 2008 by Grand Magistry of Knights of Charity of St. John Jerusalem, Lifetime achievement award by Dr MGR Medical University in 2012, and Doctors Day Award for the years 2005, 2006 and 2009 from Indian Medical Association. He was also given the Best Social Service Doctor Award by former Governor of Tamil Nadu K Rosaiah in 2013
He is survived by his wife Dr Veni Jayachandran, two sons, and one daughter, all doctors by profession.