A doctor with a big heart heals poor heart patients
A saviour for indigent people with heart defects, cardiothoracic and heart transplant surgeon Manoj Durairaj credits divine providence for him never having had to turn away a poor patient for want of money.
His Marian Cardiac Care and Research Foundation hasn’t been able to build any corpus for such patients as he gets donations for surgeries purely on an ad hoc basis. The 30 and odd donors who contribute sporadically aren’t high profile — they range from working professionals to the retired and have handed him amounts up to Rs2 lakh.
Durairaj has conducted around 350 free surgeries in the last decade to correct cardiac malfunctions like congenital heart disease and valvular heart defects in poor patients, particularly children and women. He first taps into government schemes or the hospital’s in-house corpus set aside for the needy. He operates on patients from outside Maharashtra who do not have the state’s BPL card at a charitable trust in Ahmednagar, where a bypass surgery can be done just for Rs50,000.
In the absence of such options or in case of a funds’ shortfall, he turns to donors. Two years ago, his foundation picked up the Rs6.5 lakh tab for a heart transplant for a 12-year-old girl from Ahmednagar. Durairaj says people’s benevolence has helped him offer the same quality of bypass surgeries to the needy as he would to patients paying upwards of Rs2.5 lakh.
Then there is post-operative care, which government agencies do not fund. The doctor offers free OPD consultations to post-op patients and monthly medicines. For instance, his foundation has been spending Rs10,000 a month on medicines and diagnostic investigations for 14-year-old Prerana from Jalgaon, who had received a donor’s heart in a surgery conducted by a team of doctors, including Durairaj. The girl’s mother says it is nothing short of a miracle that she can walk to school today.
Durairaj’s foundation was started in 1988 by his cardiologist father, Manuel Durairaj. The senior Durairaj was an army doctor for 21 years and served as honorary physician to three Presidents — Zail Singh, N Sanjeeva Reddy and R Venkataraman. He is also the founder of the academic department of cardiology at Ruby Hall Clinic.
The son, meanwhile, is trying to shore up more money for the needy through fundraisers. The proceeds from the annual ball held at the St Patrick’s Cathedral ground on December 26 for the past four years goes to his foundation.
(Text Source: NEWSJIZZ)