Duty bound: Doctors rush in to help at Kerala flood relief camps

For many doctors across the state who took part in relief work, the experience was a humbling one

Published: 23rd August 2018 04:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd August 2018 04:13 AM   |  A+A-

The medical camp conducted at UC College, Aluva, the largest relief camp in the district  Albin Mathew

Express News Service

KOCHI:It was a humbling experience for the doctors who had taken up the call and came rushing to the aid of the people in the relief camps. For them, it was an eye-opener too. They came to realise at these camps, their lofty qualifications didn’t matter.

According to Dr Easwer H V, neurosurgeon, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, the devastation wreaked by the flood reflected in the eyes of the people at the relief camps. “The team of doctors, nurses and nursing assistants, of which I was a part, was deputed to Kuthiyathode, one of the worst-hit places. The area is sandwiched between Chalakudy and Periyar rivers. So, it was double devastation,” he said.

This was the place which had only one relief camp. “The camp was in the church which collapsed when the flood water came rushing in. Six people lost their lives in the cave-in. It was a tragic situation,” he said.
He said at these camps we realised the people didn’t need any specialists. “What they needed was the presence of people who have basic medical knowledge. They needed people who could allay their fears. Those who required specialist attention were air-lifted by the Navy and Air Force to the hospitals,” he said.
“The happiness with which the people welcomed and approached us made our day. We were at the camp for two days and treated people for sleeplessness and mud sores. The people were given tetanus shots and medicines for leptospirosis,” said Easwer.

According to Easwer, during the two days, many incidents came to light that highlight the resilience of the people. “In one incident, Dr Mohanan, a physician, was approached by a patient complaining of urinary retention at around 10 pm. He needed a catheter but couldn’t find one. So the doctor called a truck driver who went out on the flooded road, bought a catheter and saved the day,” he said.

According to Dr Jerin Jose Cherian of Rajagiri Hospital, the entire experience was a humbling one. “It was an experience that highlighted the positive side of humanity. People were keen to help and resources came pouring in from everywhere,” he said. But the words like ‘doctor we are glad you came to our village when we were feeling isolated’, are the remuneration that made our day, he added.


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