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A 'two rupees doc' with a mission
June 06, 2007 10:25 IST
In an era of cut-throat medical expenses, Dr Rairu Gopal is an exception. He charges a meager amount or sometimes no fees at all from his patients and so he is fondly called a 'two rupees doctor.'
For the last 33 years, this general physician from Kannur in Karala has been at the service of the community by providing nearly free medical treatment to the poor and the needy whose family budget is upset by the ever-increasing medical costs.
Summing up his life's philosophy, he said, "As a medical student, I was moved by the plight of patients around. My father also used to advise me that serving people bring greater satisfaction and he even wanted me to give up the idea of becoming a doctor if I had any intention of piling up money."
A second-generation doctor, Dr Gopal imbibed the zeal for the service of the 'have-nots' from his father Dr A G Nambiar, who was reputed for his selfless service in the area.
"On an average, 200 patients visit everyday. The maximum amount he would receive as fee is Rs 10. But in many cases, he declines to accept any money. And, in a few cases, he would not mind giving free medicines," a patient said.
This votary of Yoga believes in a disciplined lifestyle and his day's ordeal starts at 1 am. After meditating for a while he cleans the cowshed, milk the cows, arrange for their fodder and then does a little gardening.
After the ablutions and a frugal breakfast, the doctor would be at his consultation room at three in the morning, where by then his patients would start trickling.
This 62-year-old medical practitioner believes that a good doctor should depend more on diagnosis to find out the disease instead of relying on sophisticated medical devices.
"I would not say that testing facilities are not necessary. But they should be strictly limited to necessary cases. They should not be made tools to fleece the patients. If the doctor takes a little more pain in diagnosing, the patients could be spared of wasting money," he said.
Moreover, this man with a mission believes in prescribing minimum medicines so that 'no one is deprived of treatment for want of money.'
Media-shy Dr Gopal said his only wish was to continue his practice as long as his health permits.
"Medical profession is a noble one. Don't make it a means for minting money�" is all that he has to say to the young doctors.