PUDUKKOTTAI: Ravichandran (43) of Pudukkottai was running out of medicines, but unlike many of us, could not afford to go to a nearby medical shop to buy them. Having undergone a kidney transplant in January last year, Ravichandran is forced to take two lifesaving medicines every day.
His monthly routine consisted of going to the JIPMER in Puducherry for a check-up, and receiving medicines for a month free of cost. The last time he visited JIPMER was on March 16. As April 16 approached, Ravichandran started getting worried as he could not travel owing to the lockdown. He called 104, the government helpline, on April 15, and explained his predicament.
Doctors at the control room spoke to the Health Department and the Collector in Pudukkottai. Ravichandran managed to buy medicines for the next five days from a nearby shop, despite the expense.
“A month’s supply costs `30,000. I could not afford more than five days’ cost,” he says. “The doctors from the control room kept in touch with me the entire time. They were trying to locate the nearest GH with the medicine.”
On April 17, Ravichandran got a call. He was told that the GRH in Madurai had the medicines. What more, they arranged an ambulance to take the man to Madurai.
Before leaving, Ravichandran was asked to visit the nearest PHC. He was checked by a doctor. Next morning, an ambulance arrived at his doorstep and took him to Madurai. The doctors checked him up and gave him medicines for the next 18 days. He was dropped back home the same evening.
A doctor at the control room said, “Since he had a renal transplant, it is necessary for doctors to check him before giving medicines. He called us hoping for the best and thought he would not get the medicines, but we kept following up.”For many, dependence on free lifesaving medicines is a reality, said the doctor.
Ravichandran’s wife donated a kidney. “I used to work as a chef. After the transplant, I have not been going to work. My wife also did not work for six months after donating her kidney. She now works as a maid at a nearby school. I am glad the government helped me out,” Ravichandran said.Those with medical emergencies can contact 104, and those needing dialysis can call 102.