ANANTAPUR: When a senior resident and a PG doctor at the Anantapur Government Medical College here tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, about 110 medicos were left in the lurch as their hostel staff abstained from work. However, Dr Atmaram, Head of the Department of Orthopaedics at the college, came to their rescue and provided them home-cooked food.
He spent from his pocket for this, and raised funds through friends as well. His friends went on to donate 90 sets of PPE to the hospital staff, while his wife and son gave the doctors homemade full-face shields.
Narrating how he stepped in to help the medicos, Dr Atmaram said, “I was moved by their plight when they approached me. With help from my cousin’s son and a few friends, we pooled in around `30,000 and started giving food to the 100-odd hostel residents.” About 50 of the medicos are girls.
He posted about the issue on an IMA group on WhatsApp, and the members started contributing. Within 24 hours, they had more than Rs 1 lakh. “I consulted my friends who run a restaurant, and they helped serve food to the medicos thrice a day. They get boiled eggs four times a week and non-veg once,” he said. When Dr Atmaram first asked for contributions, he didn’t know what to expect. “But when I saw the amount pooled, I thanked the donors and refused to take more.
Between `12,000 and `15,000 is spent on food every day, and the collected funds are sufficient for 15-20 days. There are 63 female and 50 male medicos, and the rest are PG doctors,” he explained. Dr Atmaram’s act evoked mixed reactions from the medical fraternity, with some supporting it and others saying it would be better for the government to help the medicos. “These house surgeons are the backbone of hospitals, and they should be fit to serve. These juniors are my family,” he said.
‘Visualised my children’
“My response was humane. These medicos come from different places. I visualised my children in their place and asked myself what I would do,” Dr Atmaram said