Here is a ‘Two Rupee Doctor’ who has been quietly serving the underprivileged in North Chennai for more than four decades. The real life hero, 67 year old Thiruvengadam Veeraraghavan, completed his MBBS in Stanley Medical College. Since 1973, he has served residents of
, accepting just Rs 2 as his fee. He later increased it to Rs 5. Thiruvengadam retorted with a prescription of his own , he stopped accepting fee from his patients. They could pay him just about anything , small sums they could afford, eatables or nothing at all. Since he was an Associate Fellow in Industrial Health (AFIH), a corporate hospital engages him for screening job aspirants, and it gave him a steady income.’I studied without any expenses, thanks to the policies of former chief minister K Kamaraj. It made me resolve not to charge patients,’ Thiruvendgadam told TOI. Though born and brought up in Vysarpadi, he had to move out after the 2015 deluge washed away his possessions. His hospital, however, stays where it has since 1973. His dream is to construct a hospital for the slum dwellers of Vyasarpadi and serve them till his death. He attends to patients at a clinic in Erukancherry from 8pm to 10 pm and near Ashok Pillar in Vyasarpadi between 10pm and midnight and sometime even later. At Madras Medical College, he learnt how to dress leprosy patients.
Most of his batch mates are settled abroad with their families and grandchildren. His best friend since college days retired as a surgeon in the Government Royapettah Hospital (GRH) and now works in a private hospital.
His wife Saraswathi worked as a railway officer and retired from service a few years ago. His son T Deepak and daughter T Preethi studied medicine in a college in Mauritius. He now hopes to get all his family members to work with him and fulfill his dream to build the hospital in Vysarpadi and serve its residents.