Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death in India. According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, in the last 26 years (1990 -2016) their rate increased by 34%.
Additionally, an estimated 62.5 million Indians lost their lives to these diseases in 2016.
While the financially well-off can afford treatments and surgeries, the underprivileged are left out.
Disturbed by these statistics, Dr Kiron Varghese, the head of Cardiology at St John’s Medical College and Hospital in Bengaluru, decided that something needed to be done.
His main motive was to give quality healthcare to the weaker sections of the society, without decimating their life savings.
So, he decided to help 30 underprivileged people get the expensive angioplasty surgery for free.
“I have been wanting to treat the poor [for] free as they can’t afford the prohibitive cost of quality treatment,” the 59-year-old doctor told the IANS.
He asked his friends and family to contribute to his cause and has raised enough money to perform these surgeries.
While the cost of this surgery in a private hospital is approximately 2 lakh, the costs reduce in government-funded hospitals. However, the limited resources of the latter make it difficult for people to receive urgent medical treatment, and this is why they prefer private hospitals.
The free surgeries, Varghese said, will be performed till 19 February 2019.
“As only a limited number of surgeries can be performed with the funds raised, younger patients and breadwinners of their families will get preference for the surgery,” he added, speaking to the New Indian Express.
A screening process has been initiated to prioritise patients according to the urgency of their condition.
The doctor aims to perform the maximum number of surgeries in the limited time, so one arterial block of patients will be cleared through angioplasty.
“The arterial blocks are more common among men in the 40-60 age group,” he said.
Philanthropic doctors like Dr Varghese are a godsend as they are driving change in their own capacity.
Some of us might feel that the limited time or fixed number of surgeries is not a sustainable initiative, but for the 30 beneficiaries and their families, this step promises to be a lifesaver!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)