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Doctor swims against tide
- Surgeon carries equipment from city to Domkol for aged lady’s surgery

Behrampore, July 4: A Murshidabad doctor carried his personal endoscope and other surgical equipment from his Calcutta home to the district to operate on an elderly hard-pressed lady suffering from a nose infection so that she would not have to travel to the city and bear the expenses of treatment.

The concern, resourcefulness and kindness shown by ENT surgeon Tariq Anwar, 31, who is attached to Domkol subdivisional hospital, came at a time it has become common for district hospitals to refer patients to medical colleges in Calcutta citing lack of infrastructure.

Anwar, who has a chamber in Calcutta and spends weekends in his Park Circus home, said he had seen Jubeda Bibi, 80, at the subdivisional hospital four days ago and knew that she belonged to the below-poverty-line category.

Jubeda, who lives on the meagre income from her half-acre farmland and her husband’s old-age pension, was operated on today.

“The doctor helped us a lot. Had it been any other doctor, my mother would have been referred to a Calcutta hospital. We would have landed in trouble because we have never been to the city. We also don’t have the money to go to Calcutta and afford treatment there,” said Shahidul Sheikh, Jubeda’s eldest son who works as a labourer and lives separately.

Shahidul said that for the past six months, his mother had been suffering from severe pain in her nose.

“We are poor and could not take her to a doctor. But in the past 15 days, her condition worsened and fluid started oozing from her nostrils and the corners of her eyes. She could not bear the pain,” he said.

Ten days ago, Jubeda was brought to Domkol subdivisional hospital and was examined by an eye specialist who referred him to Anwar.

Jubeda consulted Anwar four days ago. “I found that her nose and throat passages, which are connected to the tear duct, had got blocked because of an infection. It was getting worse and I realised that a surgery was needed to clear the passages,” the ENT surgeon said.

“A nasal endoscopy had to be done, but the hospital did not have the facility. Even the district hospital does not have an endoscope,” Anwar added.

He said one option was to refer Jubeda to a medical college in Calcutta.

“But the patient told me that she was very poor and neither she nor any of her family members had ever been to Calcutta. I realised it would be difficult for an elderly lady like her to go to Calcutta for the surgery and decided to help her,” Anwar said.

He discussed the case with hospital superintendent Arindam Pal and decided that he would not refer the patient to Calcutta.

“I have a rigid nasal endoscope at my Park Circus home. I went home, dismantled the machine, packed the parts and put them in two suitcases. In one suitcase, I put the light source, cable and the camera, while in the other I kept the rigid nasal endoscope and other surgical instruments. I took the suitcases one by one to Domkol by train. I avoided travelling by road because the machines could have got damaged while travelling on bumpy stretches,” Anwar said.

After the operation, the ENT surgeon said: “She is fine. I hope to discharge her tomorrow.”

Anwar has also given Jubeda medicines for free.

Hospital superintendent Pal said: “Anwar took the entire responsibility of the patient’s surgery. He deserved all credit for the successful operation.”