The small private clinic opposite Ramakrishna Hospital in Avarampalayam, Coimbatore, stood witness to a heartwarming farewell last weekend when thousands turned up to pay their last respects to their beloved “20 Rupees Doctor”.
The benevolent Dr. V Balasubramanian, who was known for charging a minimal consultation fee of Rs 20 from all his patients, passed away on Friday. And the place he had made in people’s hearts was apparent by the number of people who had lined up to light candles and offer prayers before a portrait of the doctor.
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“He didn’t care about time. If anyone knocks his clinic door even at midnight, he’ll never turn them back. He spoke to his patients with concern listening to what they had to say, which itself would cure them half way. His death is a huge loss to us,” Arun, a patient of Dr Balasubramanian told India Today.
Hailing from Bodinayakanur in Theni district, Dr Balasubramanian joined the Employee’s State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) as a Medical Officer after completing his MBBS in 1973. Wherever he got transferred, he would establish a private clinic and treat people at a minimal consultation fee, which used to be as low as Rs 2, and was increased gradually up to Rs 20.
After setting up clinics at Thirunelveli and Chennimalai, he settled down in Coimbatore seven years ago and the clinic became his full-time practice. It would be open from 8.30 am to 10 pm, with just a couple of hours lunch break in the middle. On an average about 150-200 patients would visit his clinic in a day.
According to Bhoopathy, a patient who has been visiting the doctor for the last 10 years, the fees were charged only if the doctor gave them an injection, medicines or cleaned and dressed their wounds. If a one-time consultation didn’t work and the patient had to go back to him again, he wouldn’t take more money from them.
“God has given me sufficient money to take care of myself. I’m helping the sick and weak to recover their health. Let God do the rest of the work,” he had told Covai Post a year ago.