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Doctors without borders

A team of over 15 doctors from the city is currently visiting various hospitals in Gujarat to help victims of the Ahmedabad rebuild shattered lives.Shahkar Abidi tells more....

india Updated: Sep 08, 2008, 00:46 IST
Shahkar Abidi
Shahkar Abidi
Hindustan Times

The spirit of Mumbai has no boundaries.

A team of over 15 doctors from the city is currently visiting various hospitals in Gujarat to help victims of the Ahmedabad rebuild shattered lives.

And Mumbaiites have done their bit by pitching in with cash and kind.

This is not the first time doctors from the city are reaching out to victims of disasters, both natural and man-made.

These doctors, specialists from the several well-known hospitals of Mumbai, have been operating through Shree Bidada Sarvodaya Trust, an NGO based in the Mandvi region of Kutch in Gujarat.

The doctors are now trying to rope in other colleagues and hope to garner the support of at least 20 other super specialty surgeons so that there would be a bigger pool of professional help when calamities like earthquakes and bomb blasts strike.

“It has been observed that once the acute emergency treatment is done, the rehabilitation part gets neglected and the patient who is already in a state of mental shock has to run from pillar to post for further treatment,” said Dr Mukesh Doshi, consulting prosthetist and orthotist, attached with Nanavati Hospital, Santacruz. “Through our efforts, we aim to provide complete rehabilitation to the patient completely free of cost.”

Dr Doshi has himself had a brush with terror. He was one of the victims of the 1993 blasts. He was just meters away from the Worli passport office, when the bomb went off.

“I sustained severe bruises all over the body,” he said. “It is then I realised how it feels to be a victim of a tragedy, and decided to help other victims.”

The treatment given at Sarvodaya Hospital in Bidada, Mandvi and every expense of the patient and one of his caretakers is provided for. Sarvodaya is a state-of-the-art hospital spanning 16 acres of lush greenery about 5 km away from the main city of Mandvi.

More then 95 per cent of the funds for the hospital come from Mumbai. Jyoti Parmar (22), a victim of the Bhuj earthquake, hopes to be back on her feet from next year.

After the rehabilitation process is over, the patient is also called for the follow-up treatment.

The trust provided artificial limbs to at least 10 victims of the train blasts which rocked Mumbai a couple of years ago.
Before the Gujarat blasts, the doctors came to the aid of victims of the Bhuj earthquake, Kashmir earthquake, Gujarat riots and Mumbai train blasts.

“Helping these unfortunate victims gives me a satisfaction which I never get anywhere,” said Dr Taral Nagda, a pediatric orthopedic specialist, attached with the south Mumbai-based Saifee Hospital.

“The advance treatments are mainly available at metros and at a very high cost,” said Dr R.G. Narsapur, a senior anaesthesia orthopedic specialist from Bhagwati Hospital in Borivli, who has been involved with this group since the Bhuj earthquake of 2001. “We are just trying to give back something to the society.”

The doctors are also training over 100 volunteers from Mumbai. “For me helping these victims has become a priority,” said Bhavini Dedhia, a fashion designer from Kanjurmarg who is heading a group of over ten volunteers.

“My friends and I have been thinking of doing something for the society since a long time,” said Urvi Kenia (25), a photographer from central Mumbai, who has trained to deal with cardiac problems. “We thought that helping these patients would be the best thing we could do.”

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