Four years ago, Dr Padmanabh Kamath, a professor of Cardiology at the Kasturba Medical College in Mangaluru, was distraught when he read the news of a young patient in Karnataka’s hinterlands, who suffered a heart attack and passed away because doctors couldn’t make a diagnosis on time. That’s when he started the WhatsApp group Cardiology at Doorsteps.
“In 2014, after losing a young patient to massive heart attack due to delayed diagnosis, I was disturbed and started collecting demographic details of villages, towns, nearest hospitals, PHC and challenges in the particular geographic location and started maintaining a database of rural doctors.
It took about two years to compile all the information [about] corporates, financial institutions and doctors. The turning point was when the WhatsApp group was formed. We started using this digital platform to reach out to the patients through grass root doctors,” he told Bangalore Mirror.
The WhatsApp group—Cardiology at Doorsteps—is a collective of over 250 general practitioners working in Primary and Community Health Centres across various districts in Karnataka including Udupi, Uttar Kannada, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, and Chikkamagaluru, alongside two cardiologists (including Dr Kamath and Dr Manish Rai) as experts, who offer their professional opinions on heart-related illnesses for free.
Earlier this week, the WhatsApp group came to the rescue of a 44-year-old labourer from the Samse town in the Chikkamagaluru district.
It was on Monday when the labourer made his way to a Primary Health Centre, where Dr Vikram was the attending GP. After being diagnosed, thanks to the timely assistance offered on this social media initiative, the patient was told that he had to travel 125 km to Mangaluru for treatment.
“So, the moment the labourer got himself examined by Dr Vikram Prabhu from Kalasa, an ECG was done, and he was told that he had to travel to Mangaluru for further treatment. Because of the bandh, he could leave his village only at 5 pm, and reach by 11 pm. He was rushed to the Cath lab, and the angioplasty was performed,” Dr Kamath told the Bangalore-based publication.
Fortunately, the procedure paid off, and the labourer is on the path of recovery.
To address the shortage in equipment for PHCs and CHCs, his colleague Dr Manish Rai has also started a group called Savior, which donates ECGs to medical centres located in remote areas of the state.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)