Dr Mukund Karmalkar
A medical camp—fixed in Chindanaar Village of Naxalite dominated Abujmarh region of south Bastar—was threatened to be cancelled for certain intra-village rivalry. It was December 12, 2015. A space was requested in a nearby goverment school. I could feel a tensed up Dr Ram Godbole. In a staff room temporarily cleared up for patients’ checkup and testing, a dusty lady walked in with her little son saying that her son takes frequent breaks, while playing and had a frail health. As fear rose in my mind, I nervously put my hand on his chest, and felt the blood rushing through causing chest movement. I called in Dr Ram Godbole and he could also hear the murmur of blood flow. We decided to investigate further. But, it was difficult to explain the parents. The suspicion was that the child had a Congenital Heart Disease but it required to confirm the diagnosis. For that imaging studies were required to be done. We took the address of the child and the Arogya Mitra, Jitu went with parents to his home so that he could be followed up.
Next was the challenge before us about how to image his heart. We requested for a meeting with Dantewada Collector and asked him for permission to use the ultrasound machine at the district hospital of Dantewada. He immediately accepted the proposal but said that I need to conduct a medical camp at the hospital open for all in Dantewada. We decided to accept it as otherwise the patients have to be shifted to a very distant place just to come to a diagnosis.
Dr Ram Godbole worked hard in explaining to the parents the need to take the child to district hospital and which was at last accepted when Jitu told that he will pickup and also drop back the child after the test. …All this took a couple of months to achieve, which indicates the challenge required to be faced to advance each small step in this area, sometimes making you feel why at all we need to struggle? And for whom ?
On an evening of February when I was scanning after a hectic medical camp schedule, Jitu walked in with the child into the echo room. Dr. Ram Godbole was there. As I put the probe on his chest it clearly showed that there was defect in the wall dividing upper part of his heart called ASD (Atrial Septal Defect) so the pure and impure blood got mixed up before it was pumped into circulation. It meant that there was no pure blood in his circulation so obviously his capacity to exert was less and development was stunted. …Dr Ram Godbole was worried as I told him this needs to be corrected as early as possible as the life of child was at stake.
It was a impossible for the family to afford an ICR (Intracardiac Repair) at a distant place. But, fortunately Koparkarji of Pune had told us about an institution in Raipur, about 500 miles off this village–Sai Sanjeevani—which undertook such surgeries.
We took the cue and Koparkar helped us in getting an appointment with the paediatric cardiologist Dr Yogesh Sathe. We travelled to Raipur in April and met him and had a very warm yet robust interaction. As, everything was set and all threads woven the child was shifted with his sister to Raipur by Jitu. Dr Godbole stayed put at Raipur as the diagnosis was confirmed at Sai Sanjeevani. Doctors decided to immediately conduct the surgery on the child and Raju Nag was successfully operated on April 26, 2016. He had got a new life. With a quick and good postoperative recovery
Raju Nag has been discharged and is normal child now. Koparkarji's Krudatnyata Trust, Pune; Vanvasi Vikas Samiti, Chhattisgarh and Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, Raipur, bore all the expenses. It is a success story of organised effort to which Dr Godbole played a central role.
It is a success story of an Arogya Mitra called Jitu Bek. It is a story of weaving a garland for our motherland called Bharat and an experience in national integration. There are many such Raju Nags waiting for us to locate and touch.