Daring Doctors Cross Karnataka-TN Border on Foot to Save a Man’s Life During Cauvery Unrest


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A team of doctors showed amazing dedication in a daring midnight medical mission on Thursday.

Amidst the Cauvery unrest, they travelled with a patient from Bengaluru to Tamil Nadu under cover of darkness, even walking the last stretch to do a liver transplant that saved his life.

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A 55-year-old diabetes patient who had been waiting for a liver transplant for two years will forever be thankful to this team of doctors from Manipal hospital. Led by consultant hepatologist Dr A Olithselvan, the doctors decided that saving a person’s life was more crucial than being restricted by the ban orders on movement that were still in place following the Cauvery riots in Bengaluru. Since the donor, who had been brain dead since Wednesday, was in a hospital in Salem in Tamil Nadu, it was extremely urgent they get the patient there as soon as possible.

Dr Olithselvan told Times of India: “It would have been very easy to decline the liver offer from Tamil Nadu, given the tension in both states. If we had done that, we would have disregarded the donor’s wish of gifting a new life in death. We were tense, but decided to ignore the risk to the medical team.”

The risks were indeed incalculable when the team set out on its mission just past midnight Wednesday, early Thursday morning. The journey from Bengaluru to Salem was four hours, but “it seemed like an eternity, a travel across two nations,” Dr. Olithselvan said.

“With the recipient, we travelled in a Karnataka-registered ambulance till the Tamil Nadu border. There, we hopped off the vehicle. Left with no option, we tore off the wheelchair fixed to the ambulance, made the recipient sit on it and wheeled it for a kilometre in the darkness till we crossed the border and reached a TN-registered ambulance waiting for us. The 30-minute walk seemed endless.The cops manning the border were left dumbstruck,” he added.

The team reached Salem’s Manipal Hospital near dawn. The surgery took 12 hours and was successful. “When we looked at him and his joyous family, we realized our efforts were worth the risk,” Dr Olithselvan said.

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