CHENNAI: Actor Vijay starred as the ‘Five Rupee Doctor’ in his recent film ‘Mersal’. But did you know that there is actually a ‘Two Rupee Doctor’ who has been quietly serving the poor in North Chennai for more than 40 years?
This real life hero is 67-year-old Thiruvengadam Veeraraghavan who completed his MBBS at Stanley Medical College.
Since 1973, he has served the residents of Vyasarpadi, accepting just 2 rupees as his fee. He became so popular that other doctors in the neighbourhood got together and protested, demanding that he must charge at least 100 rupees as a fee He later increased it to 5 rupees.
Patients can pay him whatever they can afford and if they do not have any money at all can even consult him for free.
He is an Associate Fellow in Industrial Health (AFIH) where he screens job aspirants providing 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,” says Thiruvendgadam.
Though born and brought up in Vysarpadi, he had to move out after the deluge in 2015 washed away his possessions. His hospital, however, stands where it was.
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 8 to 10 pm and near Ashok Pillar in Vyasarpadi from10 till midnight, sometimes even later.
At Madras Medical College, he learned how to dress leprosy patients.
Most of his classmates have relocated abroad with their families and grandchildren. His best friend from college retired as a surgeon in the Government Royapettah Hospital (GRH) and now works in a private hospital.