THE 2-RUPEE DOCTOR’S LEGACY CONTINUES….
THE MOST SELFLESS PROFESSIONS IN THE WORLD ARE OF DOCTORS’, NURSES’, TEACHERS’, having said this….
It is really a homecoming to this doctor’s clinic, situated at Venkatachalam street, Old Washermanpet in North Chennai for all those patients who were getting treated by Late Dr. S. Jayachandran popularly known as the two-rupee doctor all his life, till be breathed last in December 2018. The massive funeral procession that turned out to condole his death, inspired his family members to provide affordable treatment for poor patients. He was fondly known as the “PEOPLES’ DOCTOR” or “MAKKALIN MARUTHUVAR” for charging only Rs.2/- to treat those from the humble backgrounds. The clinic was closed after his death and the locales literally missed the doctor who always had only service motto towards them rather than minting money off them.
Now, the late Dr. S. Jayachandran ’s family members have revived the practice at the Clinic in Old Washermanpet. Now with a difference, instead of paying any fee, poor patients place their affordable fee before the late physician’s photo-portrait after treatment. No specified money is quoted now, Not even Rs.2. Dr. C. Veni, Wife of Dr. S. Jayachandran said, “we do not want to his services to the poor and needy to end. Our family is carrying the cause forward, where my children and I are continuing to treat the economically weaker sections without demanding any fee”.
It is notable to say that she is a former medical superintendent of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), also said, “patients have started trickling in after and once they have come to know that curtains have not been drawn at the Clinic. My husband used to treat 200 patients throughout the day. Though we do not have patients of that scale now, at least 30 patients visit us daily on an average at the clinic”.
While Veni, who is employed in a private medical college at Chromepet, visits the clinic in the morning, her children Dr. J. Saravana Jegan and Dr. J. Sarath Raj treat patients in the evenings. The clinic operates for 12 hours a day, between 9.30AM to 9.30PM with one of them (doctors) available for patients on any given day. Doctor’s one of the two sons, Sarath Raj said, he made an entry to the clinic on a regular basis after his father became critically ill from October last year and subsequently passed away on December 19, 2018.
He further said, “indeed, I had hardly treated any patient along with my father at the clinic. But on his death, seeing hundreds of people who thronged for the funeral brought a spark in me”. According to Dr. Sarath Raj, who is an Assistant Professor in a Government Hospital in Chennai, “no fee is charged for poor patients at the Clinic. It could be Rs.3 or Rs.5. We ask them to place their fee before my dad’s portrait. It is commendable to say, Philanthropists and local Organizations are offering drugs and medicine that would be provided free of cost for poor patients”.
Dr. Jayachandran, was running his Clinic for more than three decades at Old Washermanpet, from the beginning charged only Rs.2/- as consultation fee from poor patients in Kasimedu, Kodungaiyur and poor localities in North Chennai from the 1990s, he was charging Rs.10/- during his last days in 2018. It is really a honour that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister Sri. Edappadi K. Palaniswami and other various political leaders had condoled his death.
One of his patients, G. Jothi, recalls getting treated for just Rs.5/- for the last 18 years, who is a caretaker for senior citizens. She says for people like her, who can’t afford, this clinic is the only solace during illness.
FOR THE PEOPLE, TO THE PEOPLE, BY A FAMILY OF DOCTORS’, HATS OFF….
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, ADVOCATE & SOCIAL ACTIVIST.