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LILY BUDS AND SWEET-BLOSSOMS
Life or Livelihood?
One might call Abdul Muthaleef, an ‘exceptional patient’ in the Diabetes Department of the VHS, in more ways than one.
He is not a ‘Juvenile Insulin Dependent Diabetic’. Multiple stones in the pancreas, coupled with severe complications had caused his ‘Insulin Requiring Diabetic’ condition. Unlike the others, who are below 15 years of age when they enter the portals of the VHS, Abdul was 20 years old when he registered with the Diabetes Department.
Apart from being a diabetic, one of Abdul’s kidneys had developed abcesses. The pus from the abcesses had led to septicaemia, and affected the organs. One of his kidneys was irreparably damaged. The other kidney was ‘sub-optimal’ (partially damaged). The surgeons weighed the pros and cons of operating on a diabetic and removing one kidney when the other kidney was also partially damaged.
Ultimately they were of the opinion that his condition was critical. It was a life threatening condition, if the affected kidney was not removed immediately. The costs involved in Abdul’s surgery were fully borne by the VHS under the Programme.
Diabetologists and surgeons worked together in the Critical Care Unit and Abdul survived the successful operation! He was however given to understand that the other kidney was ‘suboptimal’ and could fail at any time. A renal transplant, which is highly expensive, would then have to be performed on an emergency basis.
Abdul belongs to the economically weak strata of society. He would not be in a position to afford a renal transplant. He started planning for the eventuality. He talked it over with his doctors.
“Doctor, I have seen advertisements in newspapers. They are ‘Appeals for Donations’, actually. It is usually the doctor or hospital that issues the appeal on behalf of the patient. The donations are sent directly to the hospital to be used for the surgery. “
“I was wondering, if you could draft an appeal, explaining the need for a renal transplant to save my life, some philanthropists would be willing to contribute?”
It was a good idea and the Appeal was readied. Abdul was right. His entire community rallied around him and he was able to raise Rupees 1.2 lakhs in record time.
At 33 years of age, Abdul is alive today. He is doing fine, although only one of his kidneys, a sub-optimal one at that, is functioning. He hires a merry-go-round and operates it on the beach or at children’s birthday parties to earn a meager amount to keep body and soul together. However, he cannot live on a pittance forever. He needs to earn a livelihood.
“If I could invest Rupees Fifty Thousand and buy a merry-goround”, I am sure I can earn a tidy sum each month for ‘living’ expenses.” Abdul avowed.
Abdul has been running from pillar to post. The problem is nobody wants to lend him such a large sum of money.
The VHS is now the custodian of a sum of over a lakh of rupees – moneys, donated by his well-wishers (collected by him), for the specific purpose of performing a life-saving renal transplant that he might need in the near or distant future.
“If I could use the contingency-money, today, I could start earning a living. I could also put back surplus money into the Contingency- Fund for the eventuality.”
He feels that since the amount is anyway earmarked for him, and is lying idle, he could be permitted to use it temporarily for his survival needs.
“Of what use is life without a livelihood?” Abdul rightly asks.
Doctors and administrators are in a dilemma. If they were to strictly adhere to the rules and guidelines of the VHS, Abdul cannot touch the money earmarked for a specific purpose.
The contingency may or may not arise. Even if it does, nobody can predict the date. More importantly, Abdul might not survive until then. In fact, Abdul has already authorized the VHS to use the fund for any other deserving patient in the event of his death occurring before the transplant!
The Manager of a commercial bank on the campus suggested that if a sum of money were invested in a Fixed Deposit in Abdul’s name, he could avail of a loan to a limit of 75% of the amount.
Abdul has submitted a proposal to the VHS Council in this regard. The matter will be taken up at the forthcoming Council Meeting. Abdul is praying for a favourable verdict.
Should rules and red-tape be a stumbling block? Can an exception be made in this genuine case? Is there any other way to solve the problem? Can any member of our society, who has the means and the compassion, come forward to give Abdul his livelihood?
Does anybody have answers? Or will it still be ‘Life or Livelihood’ with a question mark?
 
 
 
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