RANCHI: Dr Ashok NaG, Assistant Professor of Botany at SKM University, has been helping the elderly Covid patients having oxygen deficiency by getting their cylinders refilled. He takes empty cylinders from them and brings the refilled ones free of cost.
Nag says he realised the gravity of the situation when a friend called him from Bangaluru, requesting him to arrange medical oxygen for his father. Nag did it promptly, but the incident left him thinking about how the elderly, especially those who don’t have their loved ones at home, have been coping with such problems.
“I started posting on social media that anyone facing problems in the oxygen refill could call me or drop a message on my mobile to get free service. I asked them to inbox me their address, along with their Covid report and Aadhaar number to avoid fake calls,” said Dr Nag. He is grateful to his childhood friend Sandeep Sen who helped him in realizing the problems of the elderly people put under home isolation due to shortage of hospital beds.
“The entire service, right from lifting and dropping of oxygen cylinders, is being provided free of cost. After receiving a call, I go there on my own, take the cylinder, get it refilled from the refilling station located in Ormanjhi and drop it to the doorstep of the patient concerned.” Nag started his volunteer service about a fortnight back and has already served more than 150 people.
“On an average I receive nearly 50 distress calls every day, which also include other Covid-related queries such as availability of beds in hospitals or places where one can get oxygen cylinders,” Nag said. Most such people are the elderly who have been in home isolation and have no one to look after them,” he said.
There are also those living far away while their parents are in Ranchi. Some of his students have come forward to volunteer, but “there are risks, so I politely ask them to take care of themselves,” he says. Nag takes all precautions such as double-mask protection, hand-gloves and a face shield.