If we ask sick people what's the worst thing about being bedridden, the prompt answer would be being dependent on others. Right from food to attending nature's call, one has to depend on others' help for even the basic things in life.
It is also an invasion of privacy. Depending on someone for food is alright but waiting for someone to clean our excreta is uncomfortable for many. A 42-year-old welding labourer in Tamil Nadu decided to change that and like it is always said, he started the change from home.
S Saravana Muthu hails from Nagarcoil's Thalavaipuram. His invention, a 'remote operated toilet bed,' has won him the second prize from the National Innovation Foundation-India of the Department of Science and Technology.
Muthu hasn't just won the prize but also our hearts for proving to be the best husband because he came up with the idea after his wife fell sick. When his wife Krishnammal was bedridden after a surgery in 2014, he wanted to do something.
Speaking to TOI, Muthu said, "I understood the pain of bedridden patients then. They don't always have someone who does the caregiver's job without showing signs of disgust. Such dependence affects the privacy of patients. So, I thought of this solution to ensure their dignity and independence is protected." Muthu managed to study only till Class III but his invention is truly a genius idea. "Incidents bring solutions. That's innovation," said Muthu.
The 'remote operated toilet bed' comes with a flush tank, closet and a pipe link to the septic tank. The metal bed has an opening in the middle. The patient can operate it with a remote control with three buttons, which will help them open the shutter, then closet and flush the toilet.
Muthu had the determination to invent but not the resources. Even for coming up with the prototype, it took him more than a year due to a cash crunch.
It was none other than former President APJ Abdul Kalam who came to his rescue. When Muthu managed to speak to him over the phone, Kalam asked him to apply for the National Innovation Foundation. "He said it was for people like me to get recognition and help," Muthu told TOI.
Muthu received the prize, including Rs 2 lakh and reimbursement of Rs 35,000 for making the first cot, from President Ram Nath Kovind on March 5. He has received more than 350 orders from across India since 2015 but he could deliver only one so far.