In an age of spiralling medical expenses, Dr Rairu Gopal stands apart. For, this general physician from Kannur has been treating people for the past 33 years at a fee of Rs 2, which explains his nickname — “two-rupees doctor”.
Gopal, 62, is ready in his consultation room at 3 am, where an average of 200 patients visit him everyday. He stops seeing patients at 3 pm. But even in the dead of the night, just take the name of ‘Doctor’ and an auto driver will reach you to his doorstep. But there is no attendant, pharmacist or other such staff. There is just one person who helps “two-rupees doctor” — his wife, also a physician, who stays with him in the consultation room for 12 hours straight.
Gopal imbibed the missionary zeal from his father, Dr. A.G. Nambiar, a man reputed for his selfless service. “Treating patients is not a business. If I had wanted to mint money, I would have opted for some other profession,” he says.
“He talks to each patient in detail. The best part is that he prescribes minimal medicine,” says Shanta, one of his patients.
Gopal does believe that a good doctor should rely more on diagnosis than on equipment and tests. “See, I am not saying that modern tests are unnecessary. But if a doctor takes a little more pain in his diagnosis, the patient would not have to waste big money,” he says. “I don’t think I am doing anything great. I am only doing my duty,” adds the doctor. But his duty invites such demand, that at times the police have had to be called in to control the rush.
“The medical profession is a noble one. It is unlike any other profession. Please do not make it a means for minting money,” is all he has to say to young doctors.